We Must Protect The Golden Globes’ Pianist At All Costs

The 2023 Golden Globes Awards has brought out live piano player Chloe Flower to accompany the show this year, but actors like Michelle Yeoh sensed an opportunity.

A picture pianist of Chloe Flower playing at the 2023 Golden Globes.

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After a tumultuous year of structural racism and sexual assault allegations culminating in the announcement that the 2022 ceremony would not be televised, the Golden Globes are back for 2023 — and they want us to know that they’re listening.

“I’m here because I’m black,” ceremony host and Emmy nominee Jerrod Carmichael joked during his opening monologue, aware of the changes that have accompanied the award show this year after it was cancelled in 2022 following backlash against the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Possibly to further showcase the award show’s human side this year, the HFPA has made the curious decision to employ a live piano player to provide musical accompaniment throughout the ceremony. While this is a rather innocuous thing on paper, I find it deeply very funny. Allow me to explain.

Aside from playing musical preludes between speeches, pianist Chloe Flower’s most difficult responsibility at the Golden Globes has been to provide the “play-off” score when award winners’ speeches run overtime. Because this task is designated to a pre-recorded track on a mixing desk, operated by an unseen audio engineer, prior award winners have been powerless to stop their verbose speeches from being drowned out. But this year is different.

Turns out, it’s not easy for a lone pianist to drown out the dialogue of people professionally trained to project their voices, resulting in some hilariously awkward moments (Austin Butler, I see you).

As the show dragged on, actors — suddenly aware that the cause of their speech censorship was down to a lone person — have gotten bolder, resulting in Colin Farrell and Michelle Yeoh actually lashing out at Flowers in order to have their speeches extended.

“Shut up, please. I can beat you up,” Yeoh joked as Flowers tried to interrupt the actor’s acceptance speech for Best Actress.

Instead of serving as a tender reminder of the role music plays in great television, Flowers became the whipping post for the entire acting profession who visibly relished the opportunity to slap down after decades of being interrupted mid diatribe at award shows.

While it’s hard to say if similar award ceremonies will employ human beings to play-off professionals this year, I think we’d actually be better placed employing Flower’s talents elsewhere. Imagine Flower’s emotive crescendo building as a work Zoom meeting went predictably overtime, or as that friend launched into yet another retelling of a breakup? Priceless.