Netflix, Disney Win Big at a Golden Globes Suited for a Pandemic

Pictured: (l-r) Laura Dern presents the Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture award for ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ to winner Daniel Kaluuya (accepting via video) onstage at the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at The Beverly Hilton and broadcast on February 28, 2021 in Beverly Hills, California. Photographer: Christopher Polk/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

(Bloomberg) --“The Crown” captured the Golden Globe award for best television drama series, making Netflix Inc. the early leader in an awards season disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

By Kelly Gilblom

Word Count: 746

The statuette was one of 25 to be handed out Sunday by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in a NBC broadcast hosted by comic actors Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Other winners included Daniel Kaluuya, for best supporting actor in a motion picture, for his role in “Judas and the Black Messiah,” a Warner Bros. a film about the FBI’s infiltration of the Black Panthers, and John Boyega, who was voted best supporting actor in a TV role for his part in “Small Axe,” an show about London’s West Indian community. “Schitt’s Creek” captured the award for best TV comedy.

The Golden Globes are known as the most unpredictable Hollywood awards show, and so far the prizes have borne that out. No single studio has dominated the evening — despite this year’s especially strong audience pivot toward streaming content — with everyone from Warner Bros. to Inc. picking up awards.

Because of Covid-19, the 78th Golden Globes are being held with presenters and winners appearing remotely, unlike past years, when the awards were handed out in a banquet room at the Beverly Hilton hotel before a TV audience of millions. They’re also usually held in January, when many awards contenders are still playing in theaters.

But this year, theaters have been closed, and the biggest new films have either been delayed or put online. That also meant studios have held back at least their multimillion-dollar marketing budgets, making it harder to suss out clear favorites.

An opening monologue from comedians Fey and Poehler highlighted the oddity. Rather than hosting the show from a stage at the Hilton, they spoke from separate stages in Los Angeles and New York.

Abnormal Times

“Normally this room is full of celebrities, but tonight our audience on both coasts is made of smoking hot first responders,” Fey said. “We are so grateful for the work that you do, and that you’re here, so that the celebrities can stay safely at home.”

The picture has been much brighter for TV, which the Globes also celebrate. Millions of people stuck at home in the U.S. and abroad over the past year swarmed to streaming services like Netflix and Disney+, which now count hundreds of millions of subscribers globally. In addition to winning best television drama, Netflix’s British royal chronicle “The Crown,” saw the actors who played Princess Diana and Prince Charles, Emma Corrin and Josh O’Conner both take home acting awards.

With film nominees like “Mank” and popular series like “The Crown,” Netflix led the nominations with 42. Walt Disney Co. was second with 20, including a best-picture nod for the movie “Nomadland” and its star Frances McDormand.

The year’s awards also come against the backdrop of controversy surrounding the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group of journalists that chooses the nominees and winners.

Read more: Golden Globes promise to add Black members

A lawsuit filed by a Norwegian journalist who was denied membership accused the organization of corruption, laid out in a series of exposes by the Los Angeles Times. The suit was dismissed, but several members told the newspaper awards can effectively be “bought” with expensive press junkets, among other inappropriate behavior.

Globes Controversy

The group has also been criticized for failing to have a Black member for at least 20 years and for overlooking some of the buzziest Black-led pictures this year with their film-drama nominations. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “Da 5 Bloods” are expected to be nominated for best picture at this year’s Academy Awards, according to the website Gold Derby. The Oscar nominees come out on March 15.

The HFPA told the newspaper that none of the allegations had been proven in court, and they reflected “unconscious bias” against its “diverse membership.”

Even with pandemic, the Golden Globes remain a big marketing showcase. Last year’s telecast drew a U.S. TV audience of 18.3 million viewers, putting it among the most-watched nonsports shows of the year. The Oscars, the movie industry’s most-prestigious awards, drew an audience of 24.3 million.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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