2023 Golden Globes Review: Jerrod Carmichael shines in a sinking ship
Nice speeches and nicer dresses can be found elsewhere, but that’s all the HFPA has to offer in its random comeback bid.
Jerrod Carmichael was dealt an impossible hand and got almost everything right. As the 2023 Golden Globe Awards kicked off — the first ceremony since NBC canceled last year’s show after a spate of allegations against the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — leadership of “The Carmichael Show” and the Emmy-winning stand-up Special “Rothaniel”. Things down (he urged the celebrity crowd to “calm down”), took a seat (on the stage!) and called it out for what it is: “I’m going to tell you why I’m here,” he said. “I’m here because I’m black.”
While sharing how and why he agreed to host — lingering questions for fans of the sophisticated comedian, as well as fair questions for all viewers — Carmichael laid out the situation clearly in case casual viewers weren’t up to speed with the industry drama (which, given the dwindling interest in live awards seems very likely). “I’m not going to say they were a racist organization,” Carmichael said, emphasizing one aspect of the HFPA’s many past transgressions, “but they didn’t have a single black member until George Floyd died.” So do what you will with that information.” He also didn’t expect any of the organization’s promised changes to lead to actual reform (“I took that job, assuming they hadn’t changed at all”), and he even put a number on his salary for the night: $500,000.
He deserves it. During the lengthy broadcast, he was smart, clear, and relatively concise. Carmichael’s storytelling talents have always been top-notch, so rather than warping his comedy to fit the molds of previous hosts, he played to his strengths — by poking sour barbs amid a series of broad, semi-topical jokes that went straight to the camera let the audience fall – he played to his strengths, the crowd and the moment. It was an excellent monologue, right down to a quick but effective turning point to move on with the show. “I’m really here because I look into this space and I see a lot of talented people. People I admire,” he said. “And regardless of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s past, this is a night to celebrate. And I think this industry deserves such evenings. And I’m glad you’re all here. And I hope you have some fun tonight.”
Rich Polk / NBC
How do you bring two opposing ideas together? The idea that a regularly biased, historically disingenuous organization doesn’t deserve your attention, and the idea that clapping and cheering at home or in person for every award is a totally worthwhile endeavor? You can not. Not really, but trying to separate the partygoers from the partygoers is as good an attempt as any for a show that needs to go on for some reason.
The only problem: not everyone got the message.
How could they? A host can steer their guests towards a desired topic or suggested ideas, but in the end everyone goes their own way. It was difficult for those who were enthralled by Carmichael’s monologue to resonate with any HFPA-directed sincerity during the speeches that followed. Ke Huy Quan? Outstanding. Why? Partly, of course, because Quan has already proven himself to be an exuberant charmer on stage, but here specifically because he began sweetly calling out Steven Spielberg, his Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom director, for “meaning me.” first opportunity,” and then centered his speech around his career since his childhood breakthrough (and, of course, around those involved in the movie he won for, All At Once).
Colin Farrell got it too. Before even acknowledging the trophy presented to him, he makes sure to tell Ana de Armas (and the world) how moved he is by her work on Blonde. (“It’s no joke,” he said to some surprised viewers. “But you’re welcome to laugh!”) He shared a few funny stories from the Banshees of Inisherin set — namely, that he shared a house with a co-star Barry Keoghan, who stole Colin’s cereal (!!) – and couldn’t be stopped when it came to showering love on his cast and crew. (“You can forget the piano!”)
(Side note: the piano became an unexpected focus of the evening, first when Jerrod Carmichael rightfully called for a round of applause for pianist Chloe Flower after her first few fun riffs in film music. But then as the producers worried about the clock their speeches were interrupted by what sounded like the same piano, which was actually a recording controlled backstage, which Carmichael graciously informed us about later in the show after everyone from Austin Butler to Michelle Yeoh took to the stage That’s certainly not the celebrity-friendly look the HFPA was hoping for in their comeback show, but it does disrupt the interruptions when you’re televising a live show.)
Rich Polk / NBC
Some performers shone simply by being themselves. Host Jennifer Coolidge caused a stir in the room when she explained why she almost didn’t accept the gig – fearing to embarrass herself for having nothing to do with the HFPA scandals – which made the invitation all the more exciting as winners came back on the stage (which turns Mike White’s tears of laughter into tears of joy). Regina Hall almost topped Carmichael’s Scientology joke by offering Kevin Costner’s apology for not attending the ceremony. Hall burst into repeated fits of laughter as she tried to deliver the teleprompter’s message: that the heavy rain had forced the “Yellowstone” star “to take shelter on the spot — in Santa Barbara, Jesus,” she said. “Let’s all pray.” And last but not least was Natasha Lyonne, who turned a joke about the long show into pure poetry: “The only true villain here is time itself — aka Death’s Chariot,” she said. “And since time makes death easier, keeping it in tact is wisest.”
But where Guillermo del Toro and Quinta Brunson (twice!) played the space by honoring the arts and artists or throwing in a bit of levity — even Eddie Murphy receiving one life’s work Award ended with a joke – Angela Bassett’s overwhelming energy wasn’t right. Neither did Tyler James Williams, although it was at least his most notable win to date. Many winners were either surprised or acted so, resulting in more driving or memorable speeches than spontaneous hits, and the show’s baggage put the recipients in an unenviable position (unless they didn’t show up, like Cate Blanchett, Zendaya and others). . Being flabbergasted at being thrown into the spotlight is natural, but focusing on the award itself — like when Bassett recalled her first Globe win in 1994 for What’s Love Got To Do With It, before Toni Morrison quoted and implied that this award was her “destiny” – is both unnecessary and unwise. Thanking the host is good manners and all, but — as Carmichael’s opening monologue made clear, if not earlier — such a grandiose feeling is more than the Globes deserve. (Although that’s what Oscar voters, who some believe weigh their ballots based on precursor speeches, want to hear.)
Other polite but memorable “thank you” speeches punctuated the night, making it less of a rowdy party and more of your average awards show — which only draws attention to who’s presenting the awards, a recurring but unavoidable problem. In the end, the more you think about the Golden Globes, the harder it is to enjoy them, let alone stick with them. But even the “turn off your brain” entertainment value was missing in 2023. Carmichael proved himself to be a distinctive, snappy, and polite host. (The unnoticed costume changes were a definite highlight.) But since awards shows generally face sharp viewership declines, the Globes’ return didn’t provide a clear reason why this particular show is worth saving.
The 80th Annual Golden Globe Awards were held on Tuesday, January 10th at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, California. The show can be streamed via Peacock.
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https://www.indiewire.com/2023/01/golden-globes-review-2023-jerrod-carmichael-1234798357/ 2023 Golden Globes Review: Jerrod Carmichael shines in a sinking ship