Remote Golden Globes launches Hollywood awards season — with a glitch

Publish: 9:06 PM, March 1, 2021 | Update: 9:06:PM, March 1, 2021

LOS ANGELES,  – Hollywood’s award season got under way Sunday at a very different Golden Globes, with winners dialling in remotely to a ceremony — featuring a few early glitches — that will boost or dash the Oscars hopes of early frontrunners like “Nomadland” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7.”

Usually a star-packed party that draws Tinseltown’s biggest names to a Beverly Hills hotel ballroom, this pandemic edition is being broadcast from two scaled-down venues in California and New York, with essential workers and a few glamorous A-list presenters among the few in attendance. The virtual ceremony was hit with an immediate technical glitch, as the first winner, Daniel Kaluuya, initially lost sound for his acceptance speech, forcing in-studio presenter Laura Dern to apologize before audio was restored.

“You’re doing me dirty! Am I on?” joked best supporting actor Kaluuya, before paying tribute to late Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who he played in “Judas and the Black Messiah.” “I hope generations after this can see how brilliantly he fought, how brilliantly he spoke, and how brilliantly he loved,” he said of Hampton. Comedians Tina Fey and Amy Poehler — hosting from opposite coasts — opened the ceremony via split-screen while pretending to reach across to one another, before an opening routine that made fun of the Globes-awarding group of obscure foreign reporters, which has been under pressure for its lack of diversity.

“The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is made up of around 90 — no Black — journalists that attend movie junkets each year, in search for a better life. We say 90 because a few may be ghosts,” said Fey. Three senior HFPA officials took to the Globes stage early in the night, pledging “a more inclusive future,” after several influential showbiz groups had piled on criticism over the weekend including Hollywood’s actors and directors unions. Despite that controversy, the Globes — which also honor the best in television — remain a coveted prize, and a high-profile source of momentum in the run-up to the season-crowning Oscars, which were pushed back this year to April 25.

“Nomadland,” Chloe Zhao’s paean to a marginalized, older generation of Americans roaming the West in rundown vans, has long been viewed as a frontrunner for the Globes’ top prize. But it will face stiff competition from Aaron Sorkin’s “Chicago 7,” a courtroom drama about the city’s anti-war riots in 1968 with a mouth-watering ensemble cast including Mark Rylance, Eddie Redmayne and Sacha Baron Cohen. Both films are fueled by their timely themes of protest and joblessness, but could be rivalled by “Promising Young Woman.”

Its star Carey Mulligan — playing a revenge-seeker who lurks at bars, feigning drunkenness to lure men into revealing their own misogyny — is tipped by many to win best actress. She will have to fend off Frances McDormand’s grounded and nuanced turn alongside a cast of non-actors in “Nomadland,” and Viola Davis’ portrayal of a legendary 1920s crooner in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

– ‘Hard to resist’ – The other films vying for best drama, the night’s final and most prestigious prize, are “Mank” — David Fincher’s ode to “Citizen Kane,” which topped the overall nominations with six — and “The Father” starring Anthony Hopkins.

Hopkins, who has never won a competitive Globe despite seven previous nominations, has been showered with praise for his harrowing portrayal of the onset of dementia. But he is up against sentimental favorite Chadwick Boseman, the “Black Panther” star who died last August from cancer at age 43. Boseman is nominated for his kinetic performance as a tragic young trumpet player opposite Davis in “Ma Rainey.” “This is his best part, and the backstory is that he knew this might be his last performance — so that’s kind of hard to resist,” said Variety awards editor Tim Gray.

The HFPA has voted for just one woman as best director — and only ever nominated five women in the category before this year — but “Nomadland” director Zhao could buck that trend. The race to emulate Barbra Streisand’s 1984 win for “Yentl” has two other contenders: Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”) and Regina King (“One Night in Miami”). Fincher and Sorkin round out the category. Unlike the Oscars, the Globes split most movie categories into drama and “musical or comedy,” with Baron Cohen’s “Borat” sequel and the Disney+ film of hit musical “Hamilton” leading the latter fields.

– Just partying –

While most at-home nominees still donned their designer gowns and suits at home for the occasion Sunday, some embraced the Globes’ signature laid-back – – and boozy — tone from their living rooms. “We are just partying,” said nominee Kate Hudson, who will also present an award later. “I’m a little nervous about when I have to present, I may be knee-deep in a couple of drinks.” The Globes ceremony is being held just five days before Oscars voting begins.