The Golden Globes Happened, but Did They Matter?

'West Side Story' and 'The Power of the Dog' won big in a boycotted ceremony that no one saw.

ariana debose west side story
Ariana DeBose was a winner for 'West Side Story' | 20th Century Pictures
Ariana DeBose was a winner for 'West Side Story' | 20th Century Pictures

Did you realize the Golden Globes happened last night? Probably not. The awards ceremony, usually broadcast on NBC as a boozy, celebrity-filled affair, was nowhere to be found on television, where viewers were eagerly tuning in to football and Euphoria. Instead, the results of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's deliberations were just tweeted out by a sometimes laughably chaotic account full of puns and very little information. So do these awards even matter in the grand scheme of the season? At this point, who knows?

The Golden Globes have always been an odd beast. Despite the membership sharing no overlap with the Academy—the HFPA is a small group of international journalists that, until recently, included no Black members, though the term "journalists" is used loosely here—the Globes were seen as a precursor to the Oscars mainly because they were televised. This gave winners the chance to hone speeches and ready themselves for a bigger stage. But last year, the Los Angeles Times' in-depth report on the HFPA revealed what many long suspected: It was a homogeneous organization ripe with corruption. In May of last year, NBC dropped the Globes, citing the lack of reform, which was followed by the HPFA in October announcing that it added six Black members, among others.

Left without a broadcast home and almost no support from stars, studios, and networks, the HFPA forged ahead with a private ceremony that handed out awards and highlighted the group's charitable efforts. The Globes' official Twitter account announced the winners with some baffling puns. When Ariana DeBose was declared the supporting-actress winner for her performance in West Side Story, whoever was manning the account wrote: "🎶 Lean on me. 🎶 This talented actress is being recognized for her incredible contribution to West Side Story. Congratulations @ArianaDeBose for taking home the #GoldenGlobe for Best Supporting Actress — Motion Picture." But "Lean on Me" is not a song from West Side Story, leaving me to assume this is a reference to the fact that it's a supporting role.

The bigger gaffe came later in the night when West Side Story was announced the victor in the Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy category. "If laughter is the best medicine @WestSideMovie is the cure for what ails you," the tweet read, seemingly forgetting the fact that West Side Story is a musical riff on Romeo and Juliet in which multiple people die. The tweet was eventually deleted and replaced with one that said, "If music is the best medicine."

If any movie stands to benefit from the Globes, it's Steven Spielberg's West Side Story adaptation, which also garnered a Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy trophy for its star, Rachel Zegler. On the drama side, The Power of the Dog won Best Motion Picture—Drama, as well as Best Director for Jane Campion and Best Supporting Actor for Kodi Smit-McPhee. Will Smith, the predicted Oscar winner, was handed Best Actor in a Drama for King Richard, while Nicole Kidman got the female equivalent for Being the Ricardos. Andrew Garfield was the Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy champion for Tick, Tick…Boom! And on the TV side of things, Succession and Hacks got the top honors, while Michaela Jaé Rodriguez's performance on the drama Pose made her the first trans woman to ever win.

But will any of the movie prizes have any impact on the greater Oscar race? Or at least any less impact than the Globes normally do? Visibility is huge, and the Globes weren't very visible, but winners like DeBose, Zegler, and Kidman have acknowledged their awards on social media, as has the official Twitter account for West Side Story.

Other ceremonies, like the Critics Choice Awards, which were supposed to air last night but were postponed because of the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, now won't happen until closer to the March 27 Oscar ceremony, so perhaps the tide will turn before then. For now, we just wait.

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Esther Zuckerman is a senior entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @ezwrites.