LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Hollywood's award season got under way on Sunday (Feb 28) at a very different Golden Globes, with winners dialling in remotely to a ceremony - featuring a few early glitches - that will boost or dash the Oscars hopes of early frontrunners like Nomadland and The Trial Of The Chicago 7.
Usually a star-packed party that draws Tinseltown's biggest names to a Beverly Hills hotel ballroom, this pandemic edition is being broadcast from two scaled-down venues in California and New York, with essential workers and a few glamorous A-list presenters among the few in attendance.
The virtual ceremony was hit with an immediate technical glitch, as the first winner, Daniel Kaluuya, initially lost sound for his acceptance speech, forcing in-studio presenter Laura Dern to apologise before audio was restored.
"You're doing me dirty! Am I on?" joked best supporting actor Kaluuya, before paying tribute to late Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who he played in Judas And The Black Messiah.
"I hope generations after this can see how brilliantly he fought, how brilliantly he spoke, and how brilliantly he loved," he said of Hampton.
Comedians Tina Fey and Amy Poehler - hosting from opposite coasts - opened the ceremony via split-screen while pretending to reach across to one another, before an opening routine that made fun of the Globes-awarding group of obscure foreign reporters, which has been under pressure for its lack of diversity.
"The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is made up of around 90 - no black - journalists that attend movie junkets each year, in search for a better life. We say 90 because a few may be ghosts," said Fey.
Three senior HFPA officials took to the Globes stage early in the night, pledging "a more inclusive future", after several influential showbiz groups had piled on criticism over the weekend including Hollywood's actors and directors unions.
Despite that controversy, the Globes - which also honour the best in television - remain a coveted prize, and a high-profile source of momentum in the run-up to the season-crowning Oscars, which were pushed back this year to April 25.