What’s the deal with the Golden Globes?


Courtesy of Getty Images and The New York Times

One of Hollywood’s most well-known shows, the Golden Globes took place on January 9. Despite being broadcast in years past, the event wasn’t televised at all this year, relying on social media to announce winners.

On January 9, the Golden Globes were held for the 79th time. Yet, the event was very different from years past. There was no red carpet, the event wasn’t televised, results were shared on social media and no celebrities attended; the LA Times described it as feeling like an “intimate tax attorneys’ convention.”

Some might assume that the changes in the awards ceremony were because of the Covid-19pandemic. But the truth is, that was only part of it.

In February 2021, the LA Times published an exposé on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the organization that nominates and holds the Golden Globes every year. This article revealed that the HFPA had no Black members, despite being made up of almost 90 people.

In April of the same year, HFPA president Phillip Berk was stripped of his title and kicked out of the organization after he forwarded an email that called the Black Lives Matter movement a “racist hate group” to other HFPA journalists. Further probing by the LA Times would reveal other “ethical lapses” in the HFPA and their nominations: over a third of the HFPA was invited to the set of “Emily in Paris” and put up at the Peninsula Paris hotel, making the aforementioned show’s Golden Globes nominations…suspicious, to say the least.

Despite efforts from the HFPA to incite change (such as enacting reforms to curtail “gifts or promotional materials to members from studios or publicists” [Teen Vogue]), much of Hollywood has iced out the HFPA. Several companies (such as Netflix) and celebrities alike have announced that they won’t interact with the HFPA unless it undergoes extensive reform. In May 2021, NBC announced that it wouldn’t air the Golden Globes in 2022 like it had in the past, saying that although they “believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform…Change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right.”

Interestingly, this isn’t the first time that the Golden Globes have faced scrutiny. In the late 1960s, the FCC investigated NBC’s Golden Globes broadcast and claimed that the Golden Globes had struck a deal with some starlets, offering them awards “in exchange for their attendance at the ceremony” (Britannica). Later on, in the early 1980s, it was discovered that actress Pia Zadora’s husband had showered HFPA voters with gifts and favors in exchange for his wife receiving an award.

However, despite the Golden Globes’s recent controversy and poor track record, NBC has indicated that if the HFPA makes reforms to their standards, they will begin airing the show again in 2023. With this incentive, hopefully the HFPA will undergo the necessary changes to bring prestige back to their name.