The 78th Venice Film Festival - Screening of the film 'The Power of the Dog' in competition - Red Carpet Arrivals - Venice, Italy September 2, 2021
Dark Western "The Power of the Dog" and a remake of "West Side Story" won the biggest awards on Sunday at a diminished Golden Globes ceremony held privately without the usual glitzy lineup of Hollywood's top television and movie stars.
Actors, directors and film studios largely ignored the Globes this year after criticism in 2021 that its organizers, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), operated with questionable ethics policies and no Black members. Longtime broadcaster NBC opted not to air this year's awards.
The HFPA, which has expanded and diversified its membership and overhauled its practices, announced its picks at a Beverly Hills ceremony held behind closed doors. Recipients of HFPA philanthropic grants sat in the audience and announced winners. Honorees were revealed via social media and a live blog.
Steven Spielberg's "West Side Story," a tale of young love set among rival street gangs, was named best musical or comedy film. Released by Walt Disney Co (DIS.N), the film earned three trophies overall, including best actress for Rachel Zegler.
Netflix's "The Power of the Dog" also won three awards including best director for Jane Campion.
Other acting honors went to Will Smith for playing the determined father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams in "King Richard" and Nicole Kidman for her role as Lucille Ball in "Being the Ricardos." Andrew Garfield won a best actor award for his role as playwright Jonathan Larson in musical "Tick, Tick... Boom!"
For television, cutthroat corporate family saga "Succession" received the best drama award and "Hacks," about a fading female comedian, was crowned best comedy.
Netflix led all studios with four film awards. HBO and HBO Max (T.N) landed the most television honors, with six.
Mj Rodriguez, chosen as best TV drama actress for her work on "Pose," was among the few stars to acknowledge her award, which was the first Golden Globe given to a transgender actress.
"Wow! ... Thank you!" she wrote on Instagram. "This is the door that is going to open the door for many more young talented individuals."
The Globes normally draw millions of TV viewers to a celebrity-filled red carpet and champagne-fueled dinner that makes for a glamorous yet informal contrast to the Academy Awards, the industry's highest film honors.
In the past, winning a Globe provided a boost to movies making a run for the Oscars. This year, the significance is less clear. Awards watchers will follow closely other upcoming award ceremonies such as the Screen Actors Guild and the Producers Guild of America ahead of the Oscars on March 27.
Critics had objected to the HFPA not having any Black members and raised questions over whether close relationships with Hollywood studios influenced the selection of nominees and winners. In May, Tom Cruise returned the three Golden Globe statuettes he had won.
The HFPA responded by adding 21 new members, six of whom are Black, banning gifts and favors, and implementing diversity and sexual harassment training. The group now has 105 members and plans to expand this year.
"We are on a journey of change and we're not going to rest," HFPA President Helen Hoehne said in a statement on Sunday.
At the ceremony, the HFPA played videos of support from actors Jamie Lee Curtis, who praised the group's charitable work, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who said winning a Golden Globe in 1977 helped launch his career.
"They understand that to support the arts and creativity, one must cultivate new, original and diverse voices," he said of the HFPA.
Source: Reuters / Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Christopher Cushing, Karishma Singh and Gerry Doyle