golden globes 2024 award show

Golden Globes 2024: A bad show made bearable by magnetic personalities

The Barbenheimer edition of the Golden Globes had its moments, but its disastrous monologue and stupid new prize aren’t helping their attempt to rebuild.

Last night at the Golden Globes, Barbie won two prizes: for best original song (not the Ken song but a song nobody remembers) and the newly minted “Cinematic and Box Office Achievement” award. According to the Golden Globes official announcement introducing the award last year, it’s a category of eight nominees, each of which hit “a box office receipt total/gross of $150-million, of which $100-million must come from the U.S. domestic box office, and/or obtain commensurate digital streaming viewership recognized by trusted industry sources.” Is this pandering? Stupidity? A combination of both? Barbie was the highest-grossing film of 2023. Isn’t it a given that it’s a box-office achievement?

As TV ratings have plummeted in the past two decades, award shows have done everything possible to remain relevant. There are new categories, slimmer broadcasts and an increasingly painful air of desperation. Do they really believe new audiences will tune in to watch Barbie win a prize for a numbers game? Would people tune in for the Super Bowl if Aaron Rodgers walked onto a stage and announced that the team with the most wins takes home the prize? That’s a terrible comparison, but you get my point. It feels like pandering, and it misses the point entirely. 

Barbie, winner of the Cinematic and Box Office Achievement award at the 2024 Golden Globes

If we really break down exactly what went wrong with award shows, the question of irrelevancy goes back to people like Harvey Weinstein, who did untold damage to award shows by turning the whole endeavour into a numbers game. Weinstein proved that awards could be bought (and the scandal-plagued Golden Globes were most obviously up for the highest bidder or the best gala host) and in churning out prizes for films that had little to no resonance with the public at large. All this combined with the waning popularity of live (non-sports) events led to the crumbling of film award shows.

The Oscars and the Golden Globes have always been an opportunity for an industry to reward itself. They were never “good” or “honourable,” but they were once reflections of popular arts that resonated with audiences. In a way, the stupidity of categories like “Cinematic and Box Office Achievement” is a ham-fisted way of righting old wrongs, completely working around the fact that the industry and the world have changed. It’s no longer 1998; the “best” and the most popular rarely intersect.

2024 Golden Globes Ayo Edebiri
Ayo Edebiri won Best Supporting Actress for her performance in The Bear at the 2024 Golden Globes

Barbie isn’t as embarrassing as some Marvel films being pushed for awards season success in recent years. It’s also not as good as most of the films that did win last night. Being nominated is an honour in itself, and for a major blockbuster based on a doll, a nom could be as good as it gets. It deserves all the technical trophies it will pick up this award season, but rather than being an honour, the award it won last night feels like a pity prize that undermines rather than underlines the film’s accomplishments. 

The reality is that people watch shows like the Golden Globes to laugh about them online. The show’s producers don’t seem to get that a more casual affair done well and done right will get the job done. Overall, the nominees seemed relaxed and in good spirits despite the show’s stench of desperation. Overcoming scandal and overthinking their relevancy has turned the Golden Globes into a truly embarrassing affair. The show was poorly timed, lacked reverence to cinema (what was with the lack of acting clips?) and Jo Koy bombed like few others ever have on live television. 

Jo Koy 2024 Golden Globes
Jo Koy, host of the 2024 Golden Globes

The Golden Globes are a relic, a propped-up corpse that’s an excuse for celebs to rub elbows and have their moment in the spotlight. While even they have to know that the award doesn’t add up too much, leaning into sincerity and earnest fun always works out well. It’s a shame that the people running the show didn’t get the memo and are overcorrecting for their behind-the-scenes drama that almost completely tanked the whole thing just a few years ago. 

For most film fans, it’s clear that award shows do little to award the actual best films of the year. They’re spectacles of glamour and entitlement that can be grating and cringe if you take them at face value but are often just fluffy works of entertainment. The producers of last night’s show completely missed the mark, misunderstanding why anyone tunes in, but thanks to the pleasure of following the show online, it still felt like a success. Watching stars like Ayo Edebiri (The Bear), Cillian Murphy, Lily Gladstone and Emma Stone on stage was a joy. It’s a keen reminder that a great part of the appeal of screen art lies in faces and personalities — a show like the Golden Globes should lean into that. 

Any of the night’s tension was directly tied to the Golden Globes trying to pander or be taken too seriously. It’s time for them to return to the basics: a mean (but preferably funny) host, no awards for box office, more stars and more free-flowing booze. ■

For the full list of Golden Globes 2024 winners, please visit their website.

For our latest in film and TV, please visit the Film & TV section.