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After 2 years of controversy, the Golden Globe Awards were back on TV

DWANE BROWN, HOST:

After two years of controversy, the Golden Globes ceremony was back on television last night. NPR's Mandalit del Barco was there on the red carpet and backstage.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: This year's Golden Globes emcee, Jerrod Carmichael, wasted no time in addressing the elephant in the room.

(SOUNDBITE OF 80TH GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS)

JERROD CARMICHAEL: I'm here 'cause I'm Black.

(LAUGHTER)

DEL BARCO: In his opening monologue, the comedian tore into the ceremony's host organization, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which had been called out for questionable practices and a lack of diversity.

(SOUNDBITE OF 80TH GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS)

CARMICHAEL: The Golden Globe Awards did not air last year because the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which - I won't say they were a racist organization, but they didn't have a single Black member until George Floyd died.

DEL BARCO: Last year, NBC ditched the broadcast, and many stars, studios and publicists boycotted the ceremony in protest. Tom Cruise returned his Golden Globe Awards. Carmichael even joked about that. Since then, the journalist group has changed its bylaws, added a new code of conduct and added more diverse members from around the world. It's even vowed to become more professional and to rebrand itself. On the red carpet, nominee Sheryl Lee Ralph said she did have second thoughts about attending.

SHERYL LEE RALPH: But at the same time, I am very happy that the Hollywood Foreign Press is opening up its heart, its minds, its doors to membership to others. Everybody deserves respect.

DEL BARCO: During the ceremony, some of the winners were no-shows - Cate Blanchett, Zendaya, Amanda Seyfried, Kevin Costner. But there were some celebrities at The Beverly Hilton Ballroom, like Brad Pitt and Jenna Ortega. Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, even made a cameo in a video. Once again, Golden Globes guests got buzzed on Champagne, and there were a few memorable speeches. For example, director Steven Spielberg won two awards for his film "The Fabelmans," which was based on his childhood.

(SOUNDBITE OF 80TH GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS)

STEVEN SPIELBERG: I've been hiding from this story since I was 17 years old. I told this story in parts and parcels all through my career. "E.T." has a lot to do with this story. "Close Encounters" has a lot to do with this story. But I never had the courage to hit this story head on.

DEL BARCO: "The Fabelmans" was crowned best motion picture drama. Among the biggest winners last night were the film "The Banshees Of Inisherin," which won three Golden Globes, and Quinta Brunson's TV series "Abbott Elementary" picked up three awards.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "NAATU NAATU")

RAHUL SIPLIGUNJ AND KAALA BHAIRAVA: (Singing in Telugu).

DEL BARCO: The song "Naatu Naatu" from the Indian film "RRR" beat out rivals Rihanna and Taylor Swift for this year's best original song. Austin Butler put on his Elvis Presley voice to pick up his award. Michelle Yeoh threatened to beat up the pianist as music tried to get her to wrap up her acceptance speech. And supporting actress winner Jennifer Coolidge from the show "White Lotus" fumbled through her thank-you's with more than one bleeped expletive.

(SOUNDBITE OF 80TH GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS)

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: This is [expletive] fun night. Thank you. Thank you.

(CHEERING)

DEL BARCO: Hollywood may be ready to give the Golden Globes a comeback, but it hasn't yet forgotten what happened last year at the Academy Awards. In accepting the Cecil B. Demille Award, comedian Eddie Murphy gave this advice to aspiring Hollywood talent.

(SOUNDBITE OF 80TH GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS)

EDDIE MURPHY: Pay your taxes, mind your business, and keep Will Smith's wife's name out your [expletive] mouth.

(CHEERING)

DEL BARCO: The infamous Oscars slap is sure to come up again and again during Hollywood's awards season, which has only just begun.

Mandalit del Barco, NPR News, Los Angeles.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "NAATU NAATU")

SIPLIGUNJ AND BHAIRAVA: (Singing in Telugu). Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Mandalit del Barco
As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Alt.latino, and npr.org.