We’re just days away from the announcement of nominees for the 78th Golden Globe Awards, the opportunity for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to weigh in on the state of the entertainment industry. Nominations will occur on February 4, with the primetime ceremony — hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler — slated for February 28.
By that time, it will have been nearly 14 months since the ceremony celebrating the best film and TV of 2019 took place. That’s more than a year for the HFPA to take some time, evaluate their process, and decide whether or not the Golden Globes are really optimized to be everything they could be.
Now, maybe HFPA is happy with the awards ceremony as it stands. They seem to fancy themselves tastemakers within the industry — albeit ones with an unfortunate reputation for single-minded celebrity status seeking and prestige chasing.
In that light, there’s plenty of room for improvement. After all, this is an organization that brought back Ricky Gervais to host in 2020, despite the fact his outdated brand of oft-offensive insult comedy is so 2002.
And yet, I can’t say that seeking out a sense of rabble-rousing is the wrong angle for the HFPA to take. It may be that they just aren’t taking it far enough.
When I was growing up, my family had a Dr. Seuss book titled “If I Ran the Zoo,” in which a little boy finds himself quite underwhelmed by the offerings of his local menagerie and imagines a bigger, better zoo of his own making. Of course, because this is Dr. Seuss, the boy’s zoo is populated entirely with imaginary and outlandish creations, but the point is: It gets results. And by that, I mean he also imagines that his zoo receives great press, which is nice because it shows that he really kept the big picture in mind during the conception of the project.
The point being: It’s possible that what holds the Golden Globes back is a lack of imagination. It appears that what the Globes wish to be is a serious forerunner for both the Oscars and the Emmys, as well as a lavish event for people to gaze upon only Hollywood’s brightest stars. But it’s impossible to serve more than one master. Either you want to be a legitimate arbiter of taste and quality or you want to see if you can get both Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston on the same red carpet because, I dunno, celebrity!!
But if the organization insists on following its current trajectory, the least they can do is mix it up a little bit. And so I give you: “If I Ran the Golden Globes.” It’s a not-at-all comprehensive of things I would change about a celebration that always seems to be having an identity crisis. For our purposes today, I’ll focus exclusively on TV:
Let musicals sing on their own
First off, stop lumping musicals in with comedies. It doesn’t make any sense in the modern era and that goes doubly for TV. Musicals are in such short supply as is and, ultimately, should be judged on their genre content for categorization, not just lumped in with comedies. Are all musicals funny? They’re funny how, you mean they’re funny like a clown? They’re here to amuse you? No.
Fix the Supporting Actor category
Conversely, it’s deeply and profoundly weird that there aren’t individual categories for supporting actors. Putting a longtime drama player in direct competition with someone who appeared in four episodes of a limited series is bizarre and, honestly, a little disrespectful to the vast majority of performers who are not, in fact, leads. If you must keep category count low, run supporting stars of recurring series together and supporting stars of limited series and movies together. But one category to contain them all is just ridiculously uncool.
Bring back “New Star of the Year”
Sometimes to move ahead, you have to rediscover a piece of your history and no, I’m not suggesting bringing back Gervais as a host ever, ever again. Previous iterations of the Golden Globes used award two “New Star of the Year” awards, one for actor and actress each. The practice started in 1948 and ended in 1983.
But why? Recognition of up-and-coming stars feels so on-brand for the Golden Globes, who have a history of taking wild runners on the newest, buzziest shows right out of the gate. Adding a breakout category, even just one that encompasses all TV talent, is a way to distinguish itself from the Oscars while formalizing the organizations seeming interest in taste-making.
Pick a new default show to nominate
Moving on, and this is a difficult conversation that I also had to have a version of with my parents: Give “The Kominsky Method” a break. You aren’t going to make it happen. Perpetual nominee Alan Arkin is leaving the show for its third and final season, which makes it a perfect time to change it from the oft-nominated category to the infrequently-nominated category.
And on the flip side of that, are none of you watching “Billions”? For years, the Golden Globes consistently nominated Liev Schreiber for “Ray Donovan” and yet neither Paul Giamatti or Damian Lewis have ever been able to break into drama actor for the completely off-the-wall — but incredibly addictive Showtime — drama series.
Yeah, it’s a lot of tweaks, sure, but there are still things that HFPA is doing right. Bringing in Fey and Poehler to host is a big step in the right direction. And there’s nothing more invigorating and eccentric than the Globes throwing their support behind a great show the rest of the industry underrates, like Amazon Prime Video’s “Mozart in the Jungle” or USA’s “Mr. Robot.”
You can do you, Golden Globes. You just need to do you better.