The 79th annual Golden Globe Awards were held over the weekend amid controversy regarding its links with a body accused of lacking in the inclusivity of minorities.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), which covers the movie business for non-US outlets, has been the subject of contention following 2021 reports of unethical behaviour and a lack of black membership.
“Without much fanfare, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced the winners of the 2022 Golden Globes via Twitter on Sunday night, with no media in attendance or celebrities walking the red carpet, like years past,” Variety Magazine wrote about the unusual untelevised event.
This year’s winners included Jason Sudeikis for Best performance by an Actor in a TV series (Ted Lasso), Jean Smart (Hacks) for Best Performance by an Actress in a TV series, HBO’s Succession as the Best TV Drama and The Underground Railroad; a tale about the struggles to escape slavery as the Best TV Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.
Other big wins went to popular Korean Netflix series Squid Game, as actor O Yeong-su took home the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series. Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy went to the romantic musical West Side Story, while the Best Actor in a motion picture went to Will Smith (King Richard).
“The HFPA has been embroiled in scandals since the 2021 show, when it was revealed that they had no black members and participated in questionable business practices. NBC pulled out of the telecast for this year’s ceremony, and since then the HFPA has diversified its membership and revamped its by-laws in attempts to save face in Hollywood,” Variety Magazine wrote.
The headlines following the typically big night were reduced to discussions on where exactly the prestigious award ceremony went wrong, as a majority of the honoured celebrities declined to acknowledge their big wins.
The winners were announced on Twitter, a circumstance the New York Times referred to as “a stunning downgrade for what used to be one of the glitziest awards shows in Hollywood.”
“In February 2021, a Los Angeles Times exposé accused the HFPA of self-dealing and other unethical behaviour, while questioning the legitimacy of the association. The investigation also revealed that there were no black members among the 87 international journalists — who vote on the Globes — in the organization,” The New York Post wrote in part about how the 2022 ceremony almost didn’t happen.
The report chronicles the tumultuous journey and consequent downward spiral witnessed following the revelations.
American broadcasting company, NBC withdrew its support for the Golden Globes in May 2021, announcing soon after that it would not be airing the 2022 show.
“We continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform. However, change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right … Assuming the organization executes on its plan, we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023,” NBC said in a statement.
The HFPA attempted to mend its reputation by introducing new by-laws that would “codify measures that restructure the organisation along the lines of inclusion, accountability and ethics, and greater responsiveness to the film industry and the diversity of world journalism.”
However, despite the organisation’s efforts, Hollywood was generally shunned the ceremony.
“After pledging to make ‘transformational change’, the group hired its first-ever ‘chief diversity officer’ and adopted new rules barring members from accepting studio gifts or favours. It also got a new president, German journalist Helen Hoehne, and added 21 members — 29 per cent of whom identify as black,” The Washington Post reports.
It adds: “The posts announcing the night’s winners were as strange as the journey to the 79th Globes itself, sometimes omitting the project titles in favour of corny jokes.”
Teen Vogue Magazine noted that the February 2021 controversy only escalated since then as the 2021 nominations were especially scrutinised, as well as a former board member of HFPA coming under fire for racist remarks.
“In April 2021, former HFPA President, Phillip Berk, was expelled from the organization after forwarding an email to other association members that referred to the Black Lives Matter movement as a ‘racist hate group.’ The Times received a copy of the email thread, which had other HFPA members referring to Berk’s initial forwarded email as ‘racist’ and ‘vile’” Teen Vogue reports.
That same month international streaming site Netflix took a hard stance against the inclusivity issues raised with its CEO, Ted Sarandos reportedly penning a letter to the HFPA noting that the site would “pause any involvement until more meaningful changes were addressed”.
The Golden Globes Awards have been presented by the HFPA since January 1944, running for 77 years to date.
History of Golden Globes controversy (Source-Newsweek)
No black members in the HFPA- an investigation by The Los Angeles Times revealed the HFPA’s voting group for the Golden Globes did not include any black members.
Famous faces and platforms cutting ties with the event- Netflix, Amazon, and WarnierMedia broke ties with the organization, and NBC boycotted airing the awards ceremony live.
Actors Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, and Tom Cruise, who have all received Golden Globes cut ties with the ceremony while Tom Cruise returned three of his past awards.
There were allegations of corruption as the voting system was called out- The Los Angeles Times found that more than 30 members of the HFPA’s voting group were given an all-expenses trip to Paris paid for by the producers of Netflix’s Emily in Paris before the show dropped on the streaming network in October 2020.
HFPA President under fire: HFPA President, Phil Berk was expelled from the organisation in April 2021 amid allegations of sexual assault and racist remarks.