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What's new at the 81st Golden Globes?

The 81st Golden Globe Awards will be the first major broadcast of awards season, with a new home on CBS and new host, Jo Koy

'Barbie' has topped the 81st Golden Globes nominations, earning nine nods, including best comedy film.
'Barbie' has topped the 81st Golden Globes nominations, earning nine nods, including best comedy film. (AFP)

The Golden Globe Awards are back on the first Sunday in January with plenty of behind-the-scenes changes aimed at cementing a year-long comeback effort.

The show is known for its boozy celebration of film and television and as an early stop for awards season contenders. Scandals have led to a membership revamp and a new broadcaster for the 7 January show, but a key question remains: Will viewers tune in?

The three-hour show will have a strong lead-in since CBS is airing an NFL game directly before the Globes.

CBS says the show will air on its app and stream on Paramount , but there's an important caveat. Only Paramount subscribers with the Showtime add-on will be able to watch the show live. Otherwise, it'll be available on the streaming platform on Monday.

The 81st Golden Globe Awards will be the first major broadcast of awards season, with a new home on CBS. And while to audiences it might look similar on the surface, it’s been a tumultuous few years behind the scenes following a bombshell report in the Los Angeles Times. The 2021 report found that there were no Black members in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which voted on the awards.

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Stars and studios boycotted the Globes and NBC refused to air it in 2022 as a result. After the group added journalists of color to its ranks and instituted other reforms to address ethical concerns, the show came back in January 2023 in a one-year probationary agreement with NBC. The network did not opt to renew.

In June, billionaire Todd Boehly was granted approval to dissolve the HFPA and reinvent the Golden Globes as a for-profit organization. Its assets were acquired by Boehly’s Eldridge Industries, along with Dick Clark Productions, a group that is owned by Penske Media whose assets also include Variety, Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter, Rolling Stone and Billboard.

Comedian Jo Koy, who has headlined several Netflix specials and starred in last year's comedy film Easter Sunday, will host the Globes. Organisers cited his “infectious energy and relatable humor" in announcing Koy would headline the event.

Hosting the Globes typically requires serving a mix of biting humor to the audience of film and television stars and keeping the ceremony from getting too sloppy.

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Previous hosts include Ricky Gervais, whose jokes were particularly caustic, the duo of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and last year's emcee, Jerrod Carmichael.

Barbie is the top nominee this year, followed closely by Oppenheimer. The films reflect one unique aspect of the Globes — they split the top film winners into two categories. With Greta Gerwig's Barbie and Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer leading the way, it gives the show a chance to capitalize on the Barbenheimer craze that boosted theaters in 2023.

Films nominated for best motion picture drama include Oppenheimer, Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, Bradley Cooper’s Maestro, Celine Song’s Past Lives, Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall and Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest.

In the best motion picture musical or comedy category, Barbie was joined by Ben Affleck's Air, Cord Jefferson's American Fiction, Alexander Payne's The Holdovers, Todd Haynes' May December and Yorgos Lanthimos' Poor Things.

Succession was the top-nominated television program, with nine nods including for series stars Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Kieran Culkin, followed by Hulu’s The Bear.

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The Golden Globe Awards had long been one of the highest-profile awards season broadcasts, second only to the Oscars.

The show was touted as an A-list party, whose hosts often took a more irreverent tone than their Academy counterparts. It also only honoured the flashiest filmmaking categories — picture, director, actors among them — meaning no long speeches from visual effects supervisors or directors of little-known shorts.

But the voting body was a small group of around 87 members who wielded incredible influence in the industry and often accepted lavish gifts and travel from studios and awards publicists eager to court favor and win votes.

Some years, the HFPA were pilloried for nominating poorly reviewed films with big-name talent in hopes of getting them to the show — the most infamous being The Tourist, with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. In the past decade, they’ve more often overlapped with the Oscars. The show also recognises television.

The group nominating and voting for the awards is now made up of a more diverse group of over 300 people from around the world.

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