When the Golden Globes return to television screens on January 10 for their 80th ceremony, the broadcast will not have Tom Cruise as a winger. Although the biggest blockbuster of 2022, Top Gun: Maverickreceived two nominations – Best Picture, Drama and Best Original Song – the film’s star was dropped from the Best Actor list, where some predicted it might appear.
This omission was not necessarily a surprise: last year, Cruise was one of the first Hollywood celebrities to respond to the storm of controversy that enveloped the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the divisional organization behind the Globes. In February 2021, the Los Angeles Times published a presentation this revealed, among other things, that the HFPA lacked black members and had a history of making ethically questionable decisions.
Three months later, in May, Cruise returned the three Golden Globe statues he had won in years past. The move followed NBC’s announcement that the network — which was the home of the Globes for decades — would not air the 2022 awards telecast until the HFPA passed significant reforms. The organization went ahead and held the ceremony anyway, on January 10, 2022, release the winners via a widely mocked Twitter thread rather than television.
Flash-forward until September 2022, and NBC announced that the Globes would return to the airwaves in 2023, but on a one-year contract only. A spokesperson for the network credited the group with pursuing changes such as diversifying its membership and stepping up its charity work. (The group also announced that the Golden Globes would become a separate private entity owned by the holding company, Eldridge Industries. Eldridge is owned by Todd Boehly, who now serves as interim CEO of the Globes. Boehly is also a business partner of Jay Penskewhich owns all major Hollywood business publications, including Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.)
Given Cruise’s decision to return his Globes – plus the fact that he’s shooting his final Impossible mission adventure – the question was whether he would have attended the ceremony even if he had been nominated. In place, Top Gun: Maverick. As of press time, the actor did not acknowledge the film’s two Globe nominations on social media, though the official Paramount Pictures Twitter account did congratulate his two nominated films: Babylon and maverick. Superior gun the producer, Jerry Bruckheimer, also released his own statement:
“Thank you very much for this honor. Top Gun: Maverick brought audiences back to theaters at a time when we needed entertainment the most. I’m thrilled to share this nomination with Paramount, Tom and the entire cast and crew who made this possible.”
Cruise wasn’t the only high-profile actor to miss out on a Globe nomination. Will Smith was hoping to be back in the awards conversation for his Apple TV+ drama, Emancipation, which opened on December 2 after a carefully orchestrated rollout. In March, Smith upended his once-sterling reputation in Hollywood when he slapped Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars. After retiring from the public eye for months, the actor broke his silence in July on social media, eventually embarking on a press tour in November to Emancipation through which he tried to divert attention from himself and the film’s creative team.
“My biggest concern is my team” Smith told Fox 5’s Kevin McCarthy last month. “The members of this team have done some of the best work of their entire careers, and my deepest hope is that my actions do not penalize my team.” In the end, the HFPA declined to honor Smith or the cast and crew behind it. Emancipation as the film received no nominations. That suggests it might be hard to get Oscars attention when those nominations are announced early next year.
Unlike Cruise and Smith, Brendan Fraser received a Globe nomination for her acclaimed performance in Darren Aronofsky’s controversial drama, The whale. But the actor has already made it clear that he has no intention of responding to the ceremony to collect his statue if he wins. In 2018, Fraser revealed to QG that he was allegedly groped by former HFPA president Philip Berk years earlier in 2003. (Berk denied Fraser’s allegations.) Talking to the magazine again this year, The whale said he would not “participate” in this year’s Globes if nominated.
“I have more history with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association than I have respect for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association,” Fraser said, adding, “My mother didn’t raise a hypocrite. call many things, but not only.” It should be noted that at press time, A24 – the studio that published The whale — did not acknowledge Fraser’s nomination on social media. Besides, A24 did not promote any of its nominated films, including the smash hit, Everything everywhere all at oncewhich received six Globe nominations.
Fraser’s statements were briefly discussed by price analyst Dave Karger on the Today show, which aired the Globes announcement live. Karger also acknowledged Cruise’s decision to return his three statues after hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb said they were surprised he wasn’t nominated. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the HFPA itself declined to address its past controversies during the presentation, and neither did presenters Mayan Lopez and Selenis Levya. (Levya was filling in at the last minute for George Lopez, who was due to show up with his daughter, Mayan, but tested positive for COVID the night before.)
So far, the muted response to Globes nominations, both within the industry and by outside observers, suggests the HFPA faces an uphill battle to restore the ceremony to the prominence it once enjoyed. Many also took note of the most glaring oversights in the diversity of nominees – including the fact that no female filmmaker was nominated in the Best Director category. The HFPA has a well-documented history of neglecting female directors, a record that Natalie Portman called famous from the stage at the 2018 ceremony.
Talk with Variety, Jesse Collins – who is in charge of executive producing the return of the Globes to television – acknowledged the challenges ahead. “We’re just starting to put the pieces together,” he said. “Obviously the nominations just came in. It really helps us write the story of what the show was going to be…Now I feel like it’s really emotional.”
Collins also explained why the broadcast is trying its luck with freshman host Jerrod Carmichael – the first black actor to host the Globes since Louis Gossett Jr. in 1993. “We just wanted someone who would bring a fresh perspective,” he notices. “We like it [Jerrod] hasn’t done it before. He’s such a brilliant storyteller. Incredibly funny. I think he will arrive with a new perspective on all of this. And that’s probably the most exciting thing, the lens through which he’s going to animate.”
The 80th Golden Globes airs Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 8 p.m. on NBC