The Crown scores big at Golden Globes in boost to Netflix


Emma Corrin stars as Princess Diana in The Crown on Netflix

The Crown captured the Golden Globe award for best television drama series, making Netflix the early leader in an awards season disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The statuette was one of 25 to be handed out on Sunday by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in an 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 towards streaming content — with everyone from Warner Bros to picking up awards.

illions of people stuck at home over the past year swarmed to streaming services like Netflix and Disney+

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 theatres.

But this year, theatres 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 favourites.

Television scores

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.

“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 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 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.

A lawsuit filed by a Norwegian journalist who was denied membership accused the organisation 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 behaviour.

Even with pandemic, the Golden Globes remain a big marketing showcase. Last year’s telecast drew a US TV audience of 18.3 million

The group has also been criticised 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 15 March.

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 US 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.  — Reported by Kelly Gilblom, (c) 2021 Bloomberg LP


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