Just how much the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has really evolved may be determined by how well Ticket to Paradise fares in this year’s Golden Globes nominations. The throwback rom-com starring Julia Roberts and George Clooney—who, between them, have won six Globes out of more than 20 nominations—wasn’t particularly well-reviewed when it hit theaters last month, nor do any of its performances scream awards-worthy. But this movie was basically made in an HFPA factory: fizzy formula, huge stars, old-school Hollywood appeal. If the eleven highly (exceedingly) exclusive HFPA couldn’t resist a total bomb like the Angelina Jolie–Johnny Depp vehicle The Tourist a decade ago, they surely wouldn’t say no to giving this respectable box office hit a little love.
But as we ask on this week’s Little Gold Men (listen above), have times, well, changed? The HFPA has needed to transform in appearance. Mounting controversies last year related to the organization’s lack of Black members and alleged bribes and mistreatment of talent led NBC to cancel the 2021 Globes telecast; the winners were instead announced, in spectacularly terrible fashion, on Twitter.
Now the group has claimed to evolve as needed to survive, adding over 100 members who increase its overall gender and racial diversity, with more reforms promised to follow. While a big question remains as to how much of Hollywood is ready to return to the Beverly Hilton for the famously boozy party, NBC’s national platform is back for attendees—meaning, like it or not, this is a significant awards-season stopover.
The Globes’ greatest value for campaigns lies in the way they vault fringe awards players—usually musicals or comedies, since there are best film and acting categories dedicated to those contenders—to the mainstream of broadcast TV. And this year, they’ve got plenty of opportunities to shine a light on those movies—whether truly deserving or a little less so.
Which brings us to Ticket to Paradise, a kind of litmus test. The comedy categories will, as always, be dominated to some extent by Oscar heavyweights. It’s where two front-runners for best picture, Everything Everywhere all at Once and The Banshees of Inisherin, will likely compete, alongside their very strong lead actors, Michelle Yeoh and Colin Farrell. (The Globes’ supporting categories combine drama and comedy/musical, meaning those movies’ players, including Jamie Lee Curtis and Brendan Gleeson, won’t have an easier path here as opposed to the Oscars.) Figure that whatever else happens with the new HFPA, those two films will dominate proceedings.
Then you’ve got your bubble Oscar contenders—crowd-pleasers like Glass Onions (whose predecessor, Knives Out, received three comedy Globe nods, including best picture) and arty farces like Triangle of Sadness, whose Euro flair would ordinarily be right up this group’s alley. Daniel Craig will repeat in best-actor for his reprise performance as Detective Benoit Blanc, but whether a supporting standout like Janelle Monae stands a shot is likely of more interest to Netflix, who sees the film in the race for a best-pic nod from the Academy. The more widespread the love going into that voting period, the better.
So, yes, things could feel pretty respectable around here if the Globes so choose—I haven’t even mentioned Damian Chazelle‘s forthcoming Babylon, expected to compete in comedy, or menu, Searchlight’s ensemble delight starring Ralph Fiennes and Anya Taylor-Joy, or nope, for which Keke Palmer is highly serving. But for a group that’s always promised glitzy chaos, let’s hope they leave some room for that.
I’m talking about the Globes stumping for a DOA title like Amsterdam, blinded by the star power of HFPA faves Christian bale and margot robbie and about a million others in support. The chance to not just nominate hustle‘s Adam Sandler for the first time since 2002’s Punch Drunk Love, but give him a run at the win opposite Farrell (who previously won this category, in an upset, for In Bruges). The futility of resisting the likes of Tom Hanks (A Man Called Otto) and Zack Efron (The Greatest Beer Run Ever), big names repping movies that may or may not actually exist, based on their current profile. But who cares? It’s the Globes! (Sadly, I’ve confirmed Weird is going the TV movie route, so Daniel Radcliffe can’t join this wild bunch.)