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The Best Celebrity Zoom Backgrounds at the Golden Globes, Ranked

And also a handful of very important questions about Aaron Sorkin’s kitchen

NBC/Ringer illustration

The only reason anyone likes the Golden Globes is because it’s an opportunity to watch famous people sit at tables together and get slammed off of Moët—so the prospect of a mostly remote ceremony seemed extremely precarious. And while things did get off to a pretty chaotic start—Daniel Kaluuya, the first winner of the night, was kept on mute for a good few minutes—one huge benefit of doing a Hollywood award ceremony entirely on Zoom became almost immediately evident. Suddenly, we went from seeing celebrities get drunk to seeing them in their natural, or chosen, habitats. Much like how the remote 2020 NFL draft unlocked an opportunity to meet Bill Belichick’s dog, the 2021 Golden Globes allowed us to see just how little effort Jeff Daniels puts into media obligations, and also how much Colin Farrell loves bongos?

Without further ado, here’s a ranking of the best celebrity Zoom backgrounds at the Golden Globes—and also some not-so-good backgrounds that I just have questions about.

16. Dan Levy
All images via NBC

My guy was taking his senior photo tonight. Extremely tasteful move, and really cedes the stage to let the suit pop. But I was trying to get a window into celebrities’ souls tonight and this background has a lot of emotional walls up.

15. Jared Leto

Surprisingly tasteful layout here for the guy who recently had to clarify that no, he did not send Margot Robbie a dead rat in the mail. I don’t know what to say about the boutonniere, but that’s a nice bookshelf.

14. Yahya Abdul Mateen II

As someone who also doesn’t have a desk at home and has to do Zoom calls from a bed, I respect this. Also look at him—I sort of have a feeling that the background doesn’t really matter.

13. Trent Reznor

The most Trent Reznor-y Zoom background you will ever see in your entire life.

12. Pete Docter

The director of Soul absolutely crushed the cabin look. I just want to put on a wool sweater and pour myself a large cup of hot chocolate right now.

11. Chloé Zhao

Great accent wall back there. The Moleskine notebook on the desk just to the left is a perfect touch.

Question Intermission, Part 1: Ryan Murphy’s Brutalist Hangar

Oh my God, what is this? Why is the energy of this background so harsh, so mean, and so aggressive? Why does this look like a place where John Wick would kill 20 faceless henchmen? How did I not know that Sharper Image has a sex dungeon line? Does someone live in this space?!

10. Frances McDormand

Golden Globes producers: Frances, all we need for you to do is hop on a Zoom call for five minutes.

Frances McDormand: No.

9. Glenn Close

Look at that dog. LOOK AT IT.

8. Jodie Foster

Look at this dog, too. LOOK AT IT. (Also, yes, Jodie Foster and her wife Alexandra Hedison are wearing pajamas.)

7. Rosamund Pike

Great wall. The symmetry is almost sickening, but also deeply alluring; the red dress flowing out of the shot, wow. 10/10—I need Rosamund Pike to curate my Instagram.

6. Colin Farrell

There is just so much weird energy in this inexplicably unlit Zoom background. Farrell was introducing The Father, though I really didn’t pay much attention to what he was saying because I was: (a) wondering why he didn’t bother to turn any lights on; and (b) staring in awe at THE BONGOS. Just think: Without the pandemic, you wouldn’t know that Colin Farrell owns bongos.

Question Intermission, Part 2: Aaron Sorkin’s Kitchen Situation

Zoom in, if you will, on the room to the right in the background. Is that … a kitchen enclosed by tinted glass? Is that a thing? Why would you need that in a home? Do people at Aaron Sorkin’s house walk up to his window-encased kitchen to see what’s cooking? Is he trying to keep people out? Does he like to feel like a zoo animal while making dinner?

Also, I spot no less than three guitars in this shot (two are in the kitchen-cage). Seems like more than enough guitars to have in a living space, but you do you, Sorkin.

5. Andra Day

Andra Day decided to decorate her Zoom background with EXTREMELY EMOTIONAL FRIENDS AND FAMILY. It’s a really beautiful look. My man on the far right over there is so damn happy, and I am happy for him.

4. Jason Sudeikis

Admittedly, this one is less about the background and more about Ted Lasso’s bloodshot eyes, mustache, and tie-dye hoodie. Cool cactus, though; nice incense diffuser on the mantle.

3. Bill Murray

Big flex, both with the background and the shirt.

2. Al Pacino

Enhance:

Al Pacino probably wasn’t sleeping during the Golden Globes. But it does look like Al Pacino was sleeping during the Golden Globes, and that’s all that matters.

1. Jeff Daniels (a.k.a. my dad)

Jeff Daniels did not dress up. That man is in FLANNEL. He appears to be hiding in a basement. (“It’s the only room we get good WiFi!” I imagine him yelling to his wife.) The basement has so many doors in it. (Are those multiple closets? Several different exits?) By far, this Zoom had the best vibes of the night.