Trophy Talk

2023 Golden Globes Best Moments: Diversity Was the Big Winner

Lessons were learned.

by | January 10, 2023 | Comments

Cast of Abbott Elementary on stage at the 2023 Golden Globes

(Photo by Rich Polk/NBC)

After not broadcasting last year as penance for its historic diversity problem, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual Golden Globes award ceremony returned to NBC Tuesday night with the clear mandate to let the industry know that lessons have been learned.

“I’ll tell you why I’m here. I’m here ’cause I’m Black,” host Jerrod Carmichael dead-panned in the first minutes of his opening monologue, referencing the 2021 Los Angeles Times expose that noted that none of the 87 members of the HFPA were Black (never mind that many of them weren’t even journalists).

• Golden Globe Winners 2023 – The Full List
Golden Globes 2023 Red Carpet Arrivals

“I won’t say they were a racist organization, but they didn’t have a single Black member until George Floyd died, so do with that information what you will,” Carmichael said, adding that he could say what he wanted because there was no way the organization could fire him after he accepted the hosting job.

The organization has 21 new members, six of whom are Black.

Abbott Shows Some Class

The members also nominated, and then chose as winners, an extremely diverse list of honorees. These included Abbott Elementary TV series star and creator Quinta Brunson, who received the award for best performance by an actress in a television series – musical or comedy, and Brunson’s male co-star, Tyler James Williams.

The ABC mockumentary, which is about teachers trying to make ends meet at an underfunded Philadelphia public school, also won the award for best television series – musical or comedy.

“During a very tough time in this country, I’m happy that Abbott Elementary is able to make so many people laugh,” Brunson said while accepting the main category award.

Michelle Yeoh Is Everything and Everywhere (All at Once)

On the film side, winners include Angela Bassett, who received the best supporting actress in a motion picture trophy for the Marvel smash Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and Michelle Yeoh, who received the best performance by an actress in a motion picture – musical or comedy for the summer’s ground-breaking Everything Everywhere All at Once.

Upon accepting her statue, Yeoh remarked on the racism she experienced during her 40 years in Hollywood.

“When I first came to Hollywood, it was a dream come true until I got here. Because look at this face,” she said. “Someone said to me ‘You speak English?’ I mean, forget about them not knowing Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Asia, India. And then I said, ‘Yeah, the flight here was about 13 hours long.’”

The sea change was also evident in the presenters. Pose star Billy Porter introduced Ryan Murphy, the year’s recipient of the organization’s Carol Burnett Award for outstanding contributions to television on or off the screen, by saying that the notoriously LGBTQ+-focused mega-producer made him (and people like him) feel “honored, validated and seen.”

Open Mike

The White Lotus star Jennifer Coolidge, upon accepting the award for best performance by an actress in a supporting role in a limited series, anthology series, or motion picture made for television, spoke of the compassion her friend — and series creator Mike White — has for people (even if he did kill off her character). He was still crying over her remarks when he accepted the show’s award for best television limited series, anthology series or motion picture made for television; although he also admitted that this could be because he was drunk since the HFPA is legendary for having drinks that are strong and food that is scarce.

Presenters Natasha Lyonne and Regina Hall also got a little punchy toward the end of the program. The Poker Face actress poked fun at the inevitable grumblings over the length of the telecast by giving a slow and overly detailed commentary on the concept of time. And the star of The Best Man: The Final Chapters couldn’t keep a straight face when she was accepting Kevin Costner’s award for best performance by an actor in a television series – drama for the Yellowstone actor because torrential rains had kept him at his home in Santa Barbara.

“He’s stuck in Santa Barbara; let’s pray,” she giggled at the actor being stranded in the notably affluent community.

The Foreign Press Gets Political

Sean Penn at the 80th Annual Golden Globe Awards

(Photo by Rich Polk/NBC)

But it was also clear from the ceremony that there was more education still to be done, both in Hollywood and in the rest of the world. Actor Sean Penn introduced Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who spoke via satellite to assure audiences at the ceremony and watching at home that “Ukraine will stop the Russian aggression on our land.”

Carmichael also mocked star Tom Cruise’s infamous decision to return his three Golden Globes after the Times story was published when he suggested that the HFPA “exchange them” for the release of Shelly Miscavige, the noted MIA wife of Scientology leader David Miscavige.

A+ Calls To Action

Justin Hurwitz

(Photo by Rich Polk/NBC)

While the ratings, awards, and critical success of Abbott has put a spotlight on the plight of America’s public school systems, the issue was also a topic for Babylon’s Justin Hurwitz when he accepted the award for best original score in a motion picture.

“I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity how to figure out at a young age that music was the thing for me,” he said. “I’m grateful to my parents. I’m grateful to the public schools I went to that had music classes.”

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