By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Jan 11, 2023 at 5:56 PM

For better or worse, the Golden Globes came back Tuesday night – and so did the stars (save for those deep in the process of creating a new musical). "The Fabelmans" and "The Banshees of Inisherin" each claimed a number of trophies, including both Best Picture prizes, and claimed awards season frontrunner status ... for at least a few hours, until the Screen Actors Guild nominations came out Wednesday morning and actually served as an informative precursor for how the Academy may vote in the upcoming weeks.

But who REALLY won on Tuesday night? And who REALLY lost? And is Austin Butler REALLY going to talk like that from now on?

Huh. Well, that's gonna make his presence in the upcoming "Dune" sequel fascinating. We may just find out what a sci-fi movie featuring Elvis would sound like. But that's besides the point: Let's talk about the real winners and losers of the 2023 Golden Globes.

Winner: The Golden Globes

Hey, good for you, Hollywood Foreign Press Association: People actually showed up to your party!

For those who don't remember, the Golden Globes were cancelled last year due to the organization being so reportedly corrupt and misguided it made FIFA look like a charity organization. Their former president allegedly sexually assaulted Brendan Fraser, their secret quorum of press members happily took bribes (no duh, we saw those nominations for "The Tourist") and when that secret quorum was actually revealed, it turned out to include not a single Black person. With agents, studios, actors and TV networks all out, the HFPA spent the past few years soul-searching – or at least cynically solution-searching – and came back this year with new changes. But would it be the same ol' shiny drunken party?

The early verdict is ... sure? Many celebs didn't bother with the Globes, but several more – Steven Spielberg, Brad Pitt, Jenny Ortega, Margot Robbie, just to name a few – showed up like all and nothing changed. And the show wasn't bad! The Globes don't matter, which is a bug but also a feature since it means the night's looser (re: drunker) than the Oscars and other industry awards that actually carry some weight. And after some awkward patches, for those who pinched their nose to watch or gave the organization a forgiving benefit of the doubt, Tuesday night eventually returned to that sense of anarchic, enertaining energy.

So look at that: The Globes are back ... 

Loser: The Golden Globes

... for at least a night! 

Sure, Tuesday's Globes may have been a general good time – but they also might've served as a goodbye. See, the Globes are not a guild award or an industry award. They don't serve as an actual Oscar precursor. They mean nothing but fodder to give out some bordering-on-meaningful gold prizes and to give January ratings a boost for a night – and judging by the results, neither of those are happening anymore.

The number of no-shows wasn't as dire as worried – but it wasn't insignificant either. And there still was this faint sense amongst the nominees of kids going to their classmate's birthday party because their parents said they have to – and their classmates's rich so at least there will be a bouncy house and good snacks. As for the ratings, Tuesday's metrics came in at the second-lowest in the show's history on NBC – who reportedly were in "prove it" mode with the HFPA this year as opposed to welcoming the tainted show back with eager arms. (In case the shift from airing Sunday night to Tuesday night wasn't evidence of the network's thoughts on its value.) The ratings were lower than the last show in 2021, which was a glorified Zoom call. They were lower than "FBI" on CBS. 

Even more pressingly, though, is that no one seems all that convinced the HFPA is fixed. Sure, the group's talked about their changes and improving their commitment to diversity and industry ethics ... but it's been, what, a year? The rot was pretty deep here and coming in from multiple directions; they may have saved the house, but is this foundation stable? Or even worth saving? For this one night, NBC and Hollywood celebs decided to check and see. Considering the quiet response – from the network, the viewers and the industry at large throughout this entire campaign – they may not bother to check once more.

Again, the Globes mean nothing but a good time – and considering the ratings and the organization, everyone may officially decide they can find a good time somewhere else.

Winner: Jerrod Carmichael

Hosting awards shows is a thankless job – and few of them were more thankless than hosting this year's Globes, coming hot off a year so bad that they didn't even exist. There probably was no perfect way to lead this show – but Jerrod Carmichael did a pretty admirable job, articulating the awkward nature of its continued existence and his prescence at its forefront while also trying to have a good time celebrating good art.

It wasn't without issues. Carmichael's thoughtful and methodical approach to standup and storytelling isn't a natural fit with the bawdy, boozy energy of this particular awards show – especially since he didn't seem prepared for just how little the audience often cared about what was happening on stage, repeatedly trying to get the crowd to hush before giving up on that. For those expecting the livewire Golden Globes, either watching in the room or at home, his borderline-confessional opening monologue – complete with Carmichael casually sitting on the edge of the stage at one point – likely harshed the buzz. Then again, considering everything surrounding the event, the buzz needed a harshening, an uncomfortable acknowledgement that much of this was going to feel cynical until the HFPA could prove otherwise. 

The rest of the night was fine, standard host stuff – but the intro was humorous and honest, probably more of the latter than the Globes preferred. If these take place again, they probably won't ask Carmichael back – and frankly, anytime that happens for a comedian or host, it's a win for them. 

Loser: Chloe Flower, the poor pianist

Turns out there's a more thankless job in Hollywood than awards show host: awards show pianist. 

Chloe Flower probably thought she had the gig of her dreams Tuesday night, a primetime spotlight surrounded by film and TV's most famous. Instead, it became a nightmare as Flower got regularly reamed by social media and the night's winners in the room for trying to play them off – most notably "Everything Everywhere All At Once" winner Michelle Yeoh telling the music to shut up and joking that she would beat her up.

To make matters worse: Flower wasn't even the culprit! As explained by both the pianist and Carmichael mid-evening, it was pre-recorded music conducted by the producers trying to wrap things up, with Flower only performing when the cameras were on. I hope she hit the open bar hard Tuesday night: She deserved it.

Winner: "The Fabelmans"

This is a very strange sentence to type ... but Steven Spielberg needed a win on Tuesday.

Despite sounding like the ultimate Oscar bait movie – Spielberg makes a movie about his life and also the Magic of the MoviesTM – his autobiographical coming-of-age drama has struggled thus far. The studio mishandled the movie's release, selling it with some really shmaltzy (and not entirely accurate) previews before tentatively trickling it into theaters as though they were nervous about a movie from famous box office poison STEVEN BLOODY SPIELBERG. As a result of the low ticket haul, instead of being one of the faces of the awards horse race, "The Fabelmans" became the face of an anxious "Why Aren't People Seeing Prestige Movies" debate. Add in the fact that a Spielberg movie always has a front runner's target on its back – despite the fact that he's not the darling you'd think, only nominated for Best Director three times since the new millennium with no wins in that time – and you've got a movie so hungry for a win, it'll take a Golden Globe.

Well, it got its win – two, actually, scoring the big award of the night for Best Picture - Drama plus Best Director for Spielberg, who delivered the kind of generous, heartfelt speech that makes people want to see more of them throughout awards season. As always, the Golden Globes have little to no overlap with the Academy voting body, so there's no real predictive quality to the show – but winning's never a bad look. At least until the backlash begins ... 

Loser: Tom Cruise

Maverick got grounded last night, both in the awards and the awards show itself. Cruise was the target of Carmichael's most viral and pointed jab (which is saying something considering his opening), joking about using the movie star daredevil's three returned Golden Globes to free Shelly Miscavige, the missing wife of Scientology leader David Miscavige. But most notably, "Top Gun: Maverick" got blanked overall, losing in Best Picture - Drama and Best Original Song. Not that the blockbuster was particularly expected to clean up, but not getting a nudge from the star-blinded, spectacle-loving HFPA does put a little dent in the wings of its potential Oscars momentum. Don't feel too bad, though: It'll still get nominated there – a lot. Plus, the movie's got about 1.5 billion other reasons to be totally unbothered ... 

Winner: "The Banshees of Inisherin"

"The Banshees of Inisherin" is one of the smaller movies in the awards conversation – a stage-ready dark comedy focused on two longtime friends who suddenly aren't and also there's a precious donkey – but it's currently one of the biggest front runners in the race.

Martin McDonagh's follow-up to "Three Billboards" came away with three wins on the night, including Best Screenplay, Best Actor - Comedy or Musical for Colin Farrell and Best Picture - Comedy or Musical. Screenplay seems like a safe bet to keep happening across awards season, and Colin Farrell isn't much worse of a bet, thanks to his win – and his winning speech, giving genuine praise to presenter and fellow nominee Ana de Armas, making charming jokes about Corn Flake etiquette with co-star Barry Keoghan and giving a much-needed update on his donkey colleague. Worth noting: He wasn't in the same category as his biggest competition – Brendan Fraser in "The Whale" – so we'll see what happens as those two face off further into the season. Also worth noting, though: the following video of Farrell being very charming.

Anyways, any time you're the winningest movie of the night, you're probably in a good place. Then again, "Three Billboards" was the winngest movie of the night five years ago, and how'd that end?

Loser: The lights and seating arrangement

When I'm watching an awards show, I should be distracted by famous people not production design. And yet, here I am!

For starters, for a night honoring visual storytelling, the show itself looked oddly murky and dim, with the table lights not providing enough light – and what light they did provide added a haze to the proceedings. I know Carmichael's comedic approach in his opening was tediously paced for some, but the sleepy visual fog of the crowd shots certainly didn't help his cause or brighten things up.

But more important: Who was in charge of the seating chart, and why did they seat "Abbott Elementary" – a confident favorite in multiple categories on the night – seemingly across the street?! Each time the sitcom earned an award – an evening-high three times – the winner had to go on some lengthy "Lord of the Rings"-style odyssey to get to the stage. Probably could've cut a comfortable ten minutes off the running time if you sat them within the same zip code as the podium.

Winner: Diversity

The Globes clearly made it a point last night to show off its new commitment to diversity. Some, as Jerrod Carmichael pointedly discussed in his opening monologue, were cynically superficial – but others were genuinely pleasant to see, mainly in honoring a diverse collection of winners throughout the night. That was especially the case early in the evening as Tyler James Williams of "Abbott Elementary," Ke Huy Quan and Michelle Yeoh of "Everything Everywhere All At Once," Angela Bassett in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" and the Indian hit "RRR" all received acclaim. Tuesday night rewarded the diverse breadth of achievement and talent from the past year – something you don't always see at other, less eyebrow-raising awards shows. Now it's a question of if the Globes will do that beyond this one critical year in the spotlight – and beyond the stage, in its own ranks. (That is, if there even is a Globes to talk about beyond this one critical year.)

Loser: "House of the Dragon"

There were a lot of winners people were excited about on Sunday night ... and also there was "House of the Dragon." When its name was announced, the vibe in the room was not only surprised, it was almost like no one even knew it was nominated. Even showrunner Miguel Sapochnik seemed confused about being on stage and accepting the award. Maybe part of the surprise was "Game of Thrones" never won the night's big award across its popular run – and now its spinoff claims victory right off the bat just one season in, over the likes of "Severance," "The Crown," and the final seasons of both "Better Call Saul" and "Ozark" at that. Better late (and for a different show) than never?

Winner: "The White Lotus"

If "The White Lotus" is going to predictably win every TV limited series award from here on out, at least they're being a hoot about it. HBO's hit "lifestyles of the rich and brainless" anthology won another two trophies on Tuesday night, starting with Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series for Jennifer Coolidge. But really, Coolidge basically won three times last night: once literally, once for her delightfully rambling presentation job earlier in the event and one final time for her acceptance speech, goofy and gracious all at once while really making me wish I was friends with Ned Schneebly. 

Speaking of which, the second "White Lotus" win went to the limited series' showrunner and mastermind Mike White – who pulled off the impossible and actually out-speeched Coolidge, bailing on trying to give his speech in Italian because he was too drunk, talking about taking a bullet for his colleagues (but not, like, a SERIOUS bullet) and chiding all the famous people in the house for passing on his show. The man smirked at Brad Pitt and Rihanna – and everyone was like, "Fair enough; we not only allow it but applaud it." That's power. 

Anyways, I hope they never stop making "The White Lotus" – not because I'm like a super-mega-ultra-fan but because I really enjoy their award show appearances. (And I know that'll be hard for [SPOILER REDACTED] due to reasons of death but hey, get creative with the scripts. Really earn those future awards.) 

Loser: Will Smith jokes

Hey, everyone during this awards season: Let's just ... not. Not even for some important moral reasoning, just because ... we're all so tired of it. We were tired of it ten months ago, and time has not freshened the topic. The Slap came up twice last night in the show proper – once as a confused punchline from Carmichael and once from Eddie Murphy at the end of accepting his honorary Cecil B. DeMille Award – and it was twice more than anyone asked for. (I'll forgive the latter because, well, if I can forgive "Pluto Nash" and "Norbit," I can forgive anything.) I don't care if you've suddenly got the perfect punchline or zinger; we've moved on. Please join us. 

Winner: Being deep in the process of creating a new musical and therefore not being there

While the show wasn't the quiet room of sad echoes, crickets and Ryan Murphy that some feared or expected, a not-insignificant number of nominees decided to pass on lending their shine to the dimmed Golden Globes. Unfortunately for the HFPA, some of those absent nominees then turned into absent winners, a few of which awkwardly included "reasons" why they weren't there. And you know how people tend to overexplain and overelaborate when they're lying? Welp, I present to you Best Actress in a Limited Series winner for "The Dropout" Amanda Seyfried, who couldn't be there because she is "deep in the process of creating a new musical this week." 

I mean, she could've workshopped some of that new musical material by singing alongside the playoff music; everyone was talking over it anyways. This mysterious MAAAAAYBE tease for "Mamma Three-a," however, somehow wasn't the kookiest excuse-related moment of the night. That would belong to Regina Hall, who took it upon herself to fact check Kevin Costner's reasoning for not showing up to accept his prize for "Yellowstone."

Get this woman to host the Oscars. (*assistant whispers in my ear that she co-hosted the previous Oscars*) Get this woman to host a better Oscars.

Loser: Cell phone speeches

Did we not learn anything from "M3gan" this past weekend!? Technology can be a bigger problem than improvement! A few people learned that lesson last night, as instead of easily whipping out a paper speech, some winners had to putz with their cell phones on the stage to find their notes, looking more like they're distractedly wrapping up a text message or Twitter scroll than eagerly accepting an award. Put your cell phones away: Good advice for movies AND movie award shows. 

Winner: The actors of "Everything Everywhere All At Once"

"Everything Everywhere All At Once": the title of a very good movie and also an accurate description of how much Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan will win this awards season. Their winning spree began Tuesday night, as the duo scored Best Actress - Comedy and Best Supporting Actor trophies, complete with charming victory speeches that'll keep the wins coming.

If you're a betting person, Quan is already practically a lock to win Best Supporting Actor two months from now – it's a great multi-facted performance with a great real-life comeback story behind it all. And while Yeoh's main rival in her category (Cate Blanchett in "Tar") also won Tuesday night on the drama side of things, her chances of winning her first Oscar are strong too. Blanchett's already won two statues, and her orchestra conductor psychological drama can be testier material. Plus, while the Academy almost certainly likes "Everything Everywhere All At Once," I have a hard time seeing them give a movie with an extended buttplug fight scene Best Picture – so they'll reward the film here in these acting categories instead. That being said, the current Academy does like to spread the love – and if they want to make sure "Tar" gets its moment, they could give Blanchett the Actress trophy over Yeoh while giving Quan the "EEAAO" prize. 

There's much to still unpack – but with Tuesday's results, instead of losing ground, "Everything Everywhere All At Once" pretty much locked at least one win come March. 

Loser: Any chance of ending on time

The saddest part of poor Chloe Flower getting regularly berated for playing people off (beyond the fact that she wasn't actually playing anyone off)? For all its clumsy attempts to keep winners short, the show STILL ran well over time.

In fact, everyone knew it would within the first few presenters. With Carmichael, Coolidge and Bassett all deservedly going long, the vibe amongst the famous faces in the early going was very much "we know we're doing you a favor being here; you need us way more than we need you." Therefore the celebs took all time they wanted – and the Globes were in no place to tell them no. Eventually, the show put its foot down with its now-notorious playoff music – but nobody cared, topped off by presenter Natasha Lyonne straight-up trolling the producers by hilariously taking her sweet time talking about time while introducing her post-10 p.m. category. 

At some point, awards shows just need to understand that rushing just irritates everyone. Accept that we're all here on some level to enjoy glamorous excess – and that can include the running time.

Winner: "Naatu Naatu"

Just calling it now: "Naatu Naatu," the big ecstatic dance number from the Indian blockbuster "RRR" that won Best Original Song last night, will do the same at the Oscars. The explosively entertaining movie has become a true audience sensation, complete with crowds dancing next to special screenings and even respectable Best Picture nomination odds. I think the extravaganza might just pull it off – remember: we're back to a full ten nominees, leaving plenty of room for a passionate crowd-pleaser pick like this – but at the very least, "Naatu Naatu" will show up and clean up in Best Song. And, if the Oscars enjoy good ratings and happy audiences, it'll show up to perform live too. Or we could just do some more Twitter polls. Both are fine ideas, I guess. 

Loser: Me, for wanting clips

I guess I've found my dying hill! Awards shows literally just exist to promote movies and TV shows; they're an industry spending three or four hours to say "Hey, you should watch this stuff; we think it's good." SO SHOW SOME CLIPS! SELL THE PRODUCT! How many people see a clip during one of these awards shows and say, "Oh wow, that looks interesting; guess I should check that out?" A lot more than those just seeing a hurried title card with the movie's name on it! Many casual viewers watching the Golden Globes know "The Banshees of Inisherin" won a bunch of awards; many of them also probably still have no idea what "The Banshees of Inisherin" is. Please, Movie Award Industrial Complex: Embrace the clip. What's the worst that happens? You go over time? Because that NEVER happens ... 

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.