After all the scandals and skepticism, was tonight the Golden Globes that NBC, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and the Todd Boehly-owned dick clark productions really wanted?

Back on network TV after two stained and subsequently supposedly reformed filled years, the once riotous and influential ceremony had high expectations to meet — and the erratic 80th annual Golden Globes barely met them halfway.

Big win hardware was handed out to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s Angela Bassett, The Fabelmans and director Steven Spielberg, Everything Everywhere All at Once’s Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan, Elvis himself Austin Butler, Abbott Elementary and its creator/star Quinta Brunson, The Banshees of Inisherin, director Martin McDonagh and co-lead Colin Farrell, Game of Thrones‘ spinoff House of the Dragon, and the White Lotus and star Jennifer Coolidge, among well-deserved others. Yellowstone‘s Kevin Costner, Euphoria‘s Zendaya,  Tár‘s Cate Blanchett and The Dropout’s Amanda Seyfried triumphed too, but were absent tonight.

Along with those life achievement tributes to Eddie Murphy and Ryan Murphy (no relation, I presume), the resurrected Globes certainly seems to have Tinseltown’s vote to get back in the race — if the star power in attendance and thank yous from the stage are any barometer. Might add I add, that if the show is back, whoever buys it, please offer Niecy Nash or Regina Hall the hosting slot. As presenters Tuesday, The Rookie: Feds and Girls Trip stars brought the glamor and some bite.

Much needed bite, to be honest.

With most of a still soaked City of Angels more likely checking weather apps and local TV sites for info on whether more rain is coming or how long the dry spell that started this afternoon will last, the more than three-hour long Jerrod Carmichael hosted ceremony was decidedly low energy and lumbering.

Additionally, up against The Rookie and The Rookie: Feds on ABC, The Winchesters on CBS and The Resident on Fox on the East Coast, tonight’s first ever Tuesday Globes was trying to flip the rules on the ratings decline realities that have pulverized Sunday award shows over the last decade.

Can’t deny that noble effort, which might be the biggest and best takeaway from the night.

Tomorrow the numbers will undoubtedly be low, perhaps lower than ever. That’s as much as part of the deal as the ballroom piano heedlessly playing people off. Yet, in search of dependable demographic to serve up to advertisers, walking away from Sundays like the Jesse Collins EP’d Globes and NBC have done may be something the Oscars, Emmys and other might want to consider in a renewed surge for relevance in this multi-platform and social media drenched world

However, while smartly sidestepping another battering by the NFL or other sport, the now for profit HFPA and the Globes dropped the ball Tuesday by replacing boozy snark and swagger with saccharine.  Put it this way, as heroic as Volodymyr Zelenskyy is, a videotaped speech from the Ukraine president should not be the near pinnacle of a Hollywood award show.

He saved it until the very end of his Cecil B. DeMille Award speech, but let me say, not for the first time: thank God for Eddie Murphy and that precision strike on last year’s Oscar slap fiasco.

Yes, a roaring Ricky Gervais causing prudish A-listers to clutch their pearls had become predictable year after year. Still, at least there was a laugh or two to be had when the After Life creator hosted.

Can’t really say that about the figuratively teetotalling show (with the exception of tipsy White Lotus boss Mike White) we saw tonight.

Usually a sage at reading a room, Carmichael’s short swipe at the absent Tom Cruise for returning his trio of Globes over the HFPA’s lack of any Black members or a code of conduct up until about a year ago was faceplant waiting to happen – especially with Top Gun: Maverick co-stars Jay Ellis and Glen Powell standing on the other side of the stage. Carmichael’s throw down with an extra burn on Cruise’s controversial Scientology faith and the long-pondered whereabouts of Church leader David Miscavige’s wife crashed and burned in a staid room that wasn’t interested in either the pugilistic or acerbic.

A later dicey bit that slammed both Will Smith and Rock Hudson fared no better, and a “from the hotel that killed Whitney Houston” quip drew audible scorn.

Now, assuming there is a strategy at hand here by HFPA boss Helen Hoehne, whether that is enough to get the tainted HFPA organized event back on Hollywood’s calendar again is TBD. Damning in its own context, whether playing overly safe with padded guardrails in place is enough to see NBC or another network, streamer or outlet to pick up the Globes now that the Comcast-owned net’s $60 million a year is over as of tonight is also unknown.

It didn’t have to be this way.

Going for the full James Stockdale, Carmichael stepped into it right from the jump on Tuesday rhetorically asking why he was there, and responding “I’m here because I’m Black.”

For a moment, it seemed like the return of the Golden Globes was going to get all Gestalt therapy and smash the funhouse mirrors that award shows so often decline into.

But no.

In an opening monologue that veered all over the map as a the primarily pacing comedian stated how he was the first Black host for the HFPA and revealed t he was being paid a hefty $500,000, things got murky fast. Trying to thread a spikey needle, Carmichael offered up his appreciation to the talent at the tables in front of him as the real reason he took the gig.

Let’s just say, like the Golden Globes themselves tonight, it was a hard sell.

A very hard sell.


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