The embattled Golden Globe Awards made a return on a Tuesday night for a drama-free ceremony that boosted a few Oscar contenders, knocked down others, and sent viewers to bed feeling badly for that piano player. Here are the biggest winners and losers from the 2023 Golden Globes and what it all means for the Oscar race:
Winner: 'The Fabelmans' and Steven Spielberg
Never be too quick to count out Steven Spielberg.
The director's semi-autobiographical drama The Fabelmans had been considered a Best Picture Oscar frontrunner for months, and the Globes confirmed the film is still in it to win it by awarding it the top Best Picture - Drama prize and Spielberg the Best Director award. Granted, there's no real overlap between the Globes' voting body and the Academy, and films that win big at the Globes don't always go on to win the Oscar. Just last year, The Power of the Dog won this particular award but lost the Oscar to CODA.
What The Fabelmans' win did, though, was put the film back in the spotlight at a time when it was in serious danger of falling out of it permanently, so it has now "bounced back in a significant way," noted Variety's Clayton Davis. It didn't hurt that when Ke Huy Quan won his award, the first person he thanked was Spielberg, whom he worked with on Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
Winner: The Hollywood Foreign Press Association
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association was coming off a scandal that saw its 2022 ceremony pulled from TV after backlash over its lack of Black members and alleged ethical lapses. So the HFPA was fighting for its life this year, desperate to put on a decent show and prove the Globes should even still exist.
The ceremony ended up going rather smoothly. "That was about as good a show as the Golden Globes could have hoped for," tweeted The New York Times' Kyle Buchanan, observing the "entertainment value was there, and that's really the thing the Globes have always sold."
The HFPA also took surprisingly little heat on the air. Sure, host Jerrod Carmichael got in some barbs at the organization, joking they only invited him "because I'm Black." But his monologue concluded by defending the Globes as a ceremony, putting aside "whatever the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's past may be" — implying this all is, in fact, in the past. Carmichael even at one point brought up Tom Cruise returning his Golden Globes, which was in protest of the HFPA, but the gag was at Cruise's expense. The Hollywood Reporter's Daniel Fienberg cited this joke as an example of how "there are degrees to which the HFPA and the Globes were prepared to look bad, but … there was also a limit."
Not all the nominees attended, but enough did for it to appear like business as usual. For the most part, the winners were also predictable enough to avoid any major controversies. Ratings could still sink to another all-time low, but hey, anything's an improvement on last year's zero viewers.
Loser: 'Top Gun: Maverick' … and Scientology
That aforementioned joke about Cruise returning his Golden Globes was a brutal quip that his awards should be exchanged for "the safe return of Shelly Miscavige" — leading the hundreds of people watching at home to Google the name. That's the wife of Scientology leader David Miscavige, and she hasn't been seen in years. Former Scientology member Leah Remini was thrilled about the mention, tweeting, "WHERE IS SHELLY????"
Speaking of which, Cruise's film Top Gun: Maverick had a rough night, walking away completely empty-handed after already underperforming in the nominations. It lost the top Best Picture - Drama prize to The Fabelmans, but it also didn't even win Best Original Song for Lady Gaga's "Hold My Hand," which seemed like its best shot. If Maverick was to make a real play for Best Picture at the Oscars, it should have had any kind of presence Tuesday night.
Loser: 'Avatar: The Way of Water'
Similarly, Avatar: The Way of Water was knocked down in the Best Picture Oscar race after getting shut out at the Globes, failing to win Best Picture - Drama or Best Director. It was notable that the Globes rejected the film given the HFPA gave the original Avatar the top prize, which the Academy didn't do. So if The Way of Water can't impress this group, it probably doesn't stand a chance of taking Best Picture at the Oscars. But at least Cameron will have many, many more chances.
Yes, Austin Butler did win Best Actor for Elvis, and he's still looking like a strong contender to repeat at the Oscars. But we can probably start ruling out the possibility of the film itself racking up Oscars beyond that. After all, Elvis seemed like it would appeal to the Golden Globes even more than the Oscars, as the musical biopic Bohemian Rhapsody won Best Picture - Drama at the Globes. Yet Butler's win was all Elvis had to its name.
Winners: Ke Huy Quan, Michelle Yeoh, and Angela Bassett
Everything Everywhere All at Once star Ke Huy Quan was already strong for Best Supporting Actor, but then he delivered an emotional Globes speech that may very well have ended that Oscar race in less than three minutes. Quan reminded viewers of his inspiring comeback story of returning to acting after struggling to find roles for years, and he "carried on the momentum he already had" with his speech, The Wrap's Steve Pond noted.
Michelle Yeoh also won Best Actress - Musical or Comedy for Everything Everywhere, but her tear-jerker of a speech boosted her chances of repeating at the Oscars. It may also help that Yeoh's primary competitor, Cate Blanchett, wasn't at the show and, therefore, didn't have a chance to make a similar impression on voters.
Meanwhile, Angela Bassett earned a surprise boost by winning Best Supporting Actress for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, even though before now, it didn't seem like a sure thing that she would even be nominated for an Oscar. The winner of this supporting actress Golden Globe, though, virtually always goes on to at least be nominated at the Academy Awards.
Loser: Jamie Lee Curtis
On the flip side, many pundits thought Jamie Lee Curtis would win the Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe, in part because the HFPA has historically loved her and she was one of the few Hollywood stars to defend the group during its diversity scandal. But she lost to Angela Bassett, which doesn't bode well for the Oscars, as her history with the Globes suggested she had a better chance here than anywhere. Curtis could at least still earn the first Oscar nomination of her career.
Winner: 'The Banshees of Inisherin'
It was a dominant night for The Banshees of Inisherin, which was the most nominated film of the evening and won more awards than any other with three, including the top prize of Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, which many experts thought would go to Everything Everywhere All at Once.
So where does that leave Everything Everywhere? Is it out of the running? Certainly not, and keep in mind that the HFPA has been more receptive to Martin McDonagh than the Oscars. The Globes awarded his film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri a Best Picture prize in 2018, only for it to lose the Oscar to The Shape of Water.
Winner: HBO and ABC
The first Game of Thrones spinoff, House of the Dragon, earned a warm welcome from the Golden Globes, taking the top prize of Best Television Series - Drama — despite the fact that Game of Thrones itself never won this award. If Dragon can win here, it may be well-positioned to repeat at the Emmys, where Thrones won multiple times. This was just one of several wins for HBO, which also took home Globes for Euphoria and The White Lotus.
But it was also a great night for ABC thanks to Abbott Elementary, which went all the way after Ted Lasso blocked it from doing so at the 2022 Emmys. The sitcom not only won the top comedy series prize, but also took an unexpected acting award for Tyler James Williams. This was the first win in the top comedy category for one of the big four broadcast networks since 2014, and the first for ABC since 2012.
Losers: 'Severance' and 'The Crown'
The Globes love to crown a buzzy freshman show, so it was surprising to see Apple's Severance completely shut out after also winning zero televised awards at the Emmys. "Not even the creator of [House of the Dragon] thinks it's better than Severance," joked Lainey Gossip editor Sarah Marrs, as one of the first things producer Miguel Sapochnik said upon taking the stage was, "Severance was awesome. I love that show."
The Crown was also shut out despite seven previous wins for the show, perhaps suggesting the HFPA agrees with the consensus that season five was a disappointment.
After years of Yellowstone being mostly ignored by these ceremonies, star Kevin Costner picked up his first major award win for the series with a shock Best Actor victory — though he was absent from the ceremony due to "unprecedented weather and flooding" in Santa Barbara.
Winner: Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy earned the Cecil B. DeMille tribute award and brought the house down with a punchline about one of the rules for achieving success being to "keep Will Smith's wife's name out of your f--king mouth," making him officially the one celebrity allowed to still be making Slap jokes in the year 2023.
Loser: That Piano player
Pundits couldn't help but feel bad for Chloe Flower, who was introduced as the piano player for the evening. She took massive heat online every time a major star was played off during their speech — even though, according to Carmichael, she wasn't even the one doing so. "I'm only playing when you see me on camera," Flower tweeted during the show. Despite this, she kept getting called out during the broadcast. "I hope Flower has a big old drink or two at the after parties," Vanity Fair's Richard Lawson wrote, noting all the negative, angry reactions to her playing started to "seem like actual rudeness."
Michelle Yeoh at one point even threatened to beat her up over the wrap-it-up music — which may have actually been the one hope of saving this year's ratings.