WASHINGTON — The 78th annual Golden Globe Awards, postponed nearly two months due to the coronavirus pandemic, had a special live audience on Sunday.
Instead of the usual celebrities, the award show hosted first responders and essential workers. Foodbank workers from the show’s philanthropic partnership with Feeding America were also in attendance.
Tina Fey and Amy Pohler, while hosting bicoastal for the first time ever, welcomed the audience and thanked them for risking their lives by attending the event. They joked that the "smoking hot" first responders are stepping in for the A-listers.
"Thank you for being here so the celebrities can be at home," Fey said.
People reported that all audience members were tested for COVID-19 before attending and they underwent health screenings. Throughout the award ceremony, everyone, besides presenters, will be required to wear a mask.
The Globes, normally a loose-and-boozy party that serves as the kickoff for Hollywood’s awards season, has been beset with problems beyond the coronavirus leading up to this year’s ceremony. They include a revelation in the Los Angeles Times that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which gives out the awards, has no Black voting members in the group.
On stage and for their small, in-person — and masked — audiences, production designer Brian Stonestreet pivoted like never before when the Globes decided to go bicoastal earlier in February, just days before show time.
The awards veteran, who has designed for the Grammys, the Billboards, the Academy of Country Music and others, told The Associated Press ahead of the Globes' big night that he gained massive horizontal real estate for the screen-centric show with the shrinking of tables in size and number.
“Funnily enough, it gave me a little more freedom in terms of scenery,” he said of the Beverly Hilton, while incorporating the Rainbow Room's massive center chandelier adorned with stars and orbs in New York.
He used the extra space (about 36 guests in New York and 42 in Beverly Hills) to expand screen presence and curvier, more dramatic, staircases. On the floor, he placed trophies on pedestals among his two- and three-person cocktail tables, rather than the usual 6-foot round tables seating 10 to 12 people for a total of more than 1,000.