The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Torn legacies, tough audiences and a building controversy against the Golden Globes

Torn legacies, tough audiences and a building controversy against the Golden Globes
Mara Logan

Between “Oppenheimer” winning big, Taylor Swift’s attendance and a red carpet runway for hollywood’s biggest celebrities, on Jan. 7 the 81st annual Golden Globes was broadcasted across television screen’s worldwide.

And with it, audience’s reflected on their relationship to the decade spanning award show.

“Personally, I only use the Golden Globes as a precursor to what we may see happen in the Oscars,” said Calvin Benedict, a sophomore at DePaul majoring in media and cinema studies. “I think award shows do a good job in at least recognizing movies, shows, video games, music, etc. … but when I watch, I take it with a grain of salt.”

According to Nielson ratings data, 9.4 million viewers tuned into the program, up more than 50% from the 2023 broadcast. As the public eye tuned in for celebrity antics it would be the show’s presenter that captured the most screen time.

Jo Koy, a Filipino American comedian, rang in the broadcast with a series of gags and monologues aimed at last year’s pop culture trends. Between the celebrities in attendance and the audiences at home, these jokes seemed to overshadow newfound success stories.

Koy retorted on the speeches he projected by firing darts at the writers responsible for their creation. A step towards personal security, his actions identified the challenges behind any good presentation.

Lori Klinka, a professional speaker and adjunct professor of instruction at Columbia College Chicago, defined the do’s and don’ts behind public communication. Placing the audience above yourself stood at the top of that list.

“It’s not about you,” Klinka said. “It’s not about the message. It’s about the audience getting it, and 90% of your focus should be on that alone. People don’t want you to be perfect. They want you to be authentic.”

A social balancing act for any host, appealing to hundreds of people can be a daunting challenge. Add television to the mix, and that number moves to the millions. With multiple audiences across multiple platforms, this fear of appeal can begin to widen.

Neil Heitz, director of event production for the City of Chicago and adjunct professor at DePaul’s College of Communication, acknowledged this growing challenge and its distortive effects.

“Network television has to appeal to such a broad audience,” Heitz said. “It has to have a little bit of flavor for everybody, but sometimes when you have to be all things to everyone, you become no things to anyone. When you’re trying to do too much, and no one knows what you’ve actually set out to do.”

An appeal is needed for everyone involved, especially those who bankroll the production; ownership of the Globes would change hands from one year to the next. In June of last year, the program was acquired by private equity firm Eldridge Industries and Dick Clark Productions, taking over from the now-defunct Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA).

Having produced the show for nearly seven decades, the HFPA was layered with controversy during its tenure. Among sexual assault claims, rigged votes and most recently a lack of diversity among a voting body of 87 members, public doubt followed the organization. As such, the broadcast suffered.

With last year’s program earning a record-low telecast of 6.3 million viewers, audiences felt they had enough. Yet despite a poor track record and a hosting challenge, people behind the scenes worked hard so viewers could feel at ease.

“Every executive event producer wants the event to look as if it were the easiest thing in the world,” Heitz said. “The easier you make an event look, the less effort audiences think it takes but the real reality is that many people worked way harder than anybody will ever know.”

Thousands of industry professionals join together in hopes of creating a successful broadcast. From the servers to the camera crew, from the editors to the busboys, viewers watch on as the production cogs silently turn.

But despite all that work, certain reputation’s fail to be shaken off. 

Second fiddle to more revered award circuits, the Golden Globes must face its own balancing act. Threading a thin line between the celebration or exploitation of art for social attention. All the while hundreds work to reaffirm a simple structure.

“I mean at the core of what it is, it’s all about opening an envelope and reading a name,” Heitz said.

In pushing past controversy, the award show continues to face its biggest challenge. Keeping audiences comfortable, the cogs quiet and among all, a timeslot in the larger network of mainstream culture.

More to Discover