Hollywood Foreign Press Association under fire over lack of racial diversity, membership ethics: Industry powerhouses boycott HFPA; NBC cancels 2022 Golden Globe Awards

May 11, 2021

by Jamie Garrett

(Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC)

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the group behind the Golden Globe Awards, is experiencing more fallout for how the group is responding to its lack of racial diversity and ethics guidelines. On May 11, 2021, NBC (the longtime U.S. network for the Golden Globe Awards) announced that it would not be televising the 2022 Golden Globe Awards, which would have been the 79th annual ceremony. Because of this massive blow to the ceremony, the Golden Globe Awards (an award show for movies and television) won’t be expected to take place in 2022.

NBC’s announcement came just days after Netflix, Amazon, WarnerMedia revealed that they would be boycotting the HFPA because they say that the HFPA’s plans to diversify its membership don’t go far enough. In addition, several actors (including Tom Cruise, Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo) have taken public steps to distance themselves from the Golden Globe Awards, with Johansson and Ruffalo urging others to do the same. On May 11, 2021, Cruise went as far as returning his three Golden Globe Awards to the HFPA.

As of this writing, the HFPA currently has about 86 members, who are the people who vote for the Golden Globe nominations and awards. On May 3, 2021, the HFPA announced that the majority of its membership voted for sweeping changes that would include increasing HFPA membership by 20 people in 2021, with an emphasis on recruiting at least 13 qualified black journalists in this group of new members. The HFPA also said that it plans to increase it membership by 50% in 2022, with an emphasis on having more members from underrespresented groups. The HFPA reforms also include plans to hire a chief diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) officer, to help oversee this process.

The HFPA, which launched in 1944, is a non-profit group of U.S.-based journalists who work for media outlets that are not based in the United States. Under its new reforms, the HFPA also pledged to make it easier to join the group, by eliminating rules requiring HFPA members to live in Southern California. Also elminated is the requirement that potential new HFPA members have a recommendation from an existing HFPA member in order to join the HFPA.

The revised eligibility rules were changed so that any journalists living in the U.S. who work for media outlets based outside the U.S. could be eilgible for HFPA membership. However, the HFPA still came under fire because the new reforms do not fully address diversity issues for the HFPA’s leadership positions, nor do the reforms fully address specific concerns in how the HFPA handles its funding and donations.

NBC released this statement about the decision to cut ties with the 2022 Golden Globe Awards: “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. As such, NBC will not air the 2022 Golden Globes. Assuming the organization executes on its plan, we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023.”

Dick Clark Productions, which produces the Golden Globe Awards ceremony for television, has not yet commented on the company’s television plans for the 2022 Golden Globes ceremony, which seems likely to be cancelled. The HFPA reportedly received $60 mllion from NBC to license the rights to televise the Golden Globe Awards in 2021. But because of the controversy over the HFPA, no major network is going to televise the show in 2022, and too many of Hollywood’s major players have distanced themselves from the HFPA and the Golden Globe Awards for there to be enough star power if the ceremony happened in 2022.

It remains to be seen if the Golden Globe Awards will be revived in 2023. According to Nielsen Media Research, ratings for the 2021 Golden Globe Awards were at an all-time low for NBC, at 6.9 million U.S viewers. That’s a 68% decrease from the 2020 Golden Globe Awards, which had 18.3 million U.S. viewers. Ratings for all televised awards shows, which were already declining in the late 2010s, have been having experiencing record lows in the COVID-19 pandemic era.

The HFPA has long had its share of controversies and criticisms for its secretive membership; its reputation for HFPA members unethically accepting high-priced gifts and money from studios, filmmakers and publicists; and questionable Golden Globe nominations. However, this is the first time that any criticism of the HFPA has resulted in a widespread boycott of the HFPA by the entertainment industry.

However, it’s not the first time that NBC has stepped away from the Golden Globe Awards. NBC began televising the show locally in Los Angeles in 1958, and then nationally in 1964. But from 1969 to 1972, NBC dropped the Golden Globe Awards, over Federal Comminications Commission complaints that the HFPA was not transparent enough about its voting policies. After the HFPA made the requested changes, Metromedia then televised the Golden Globe Awards from 1973 to 1977. NBC picked up the show again in 1978. The Golden Globes were not televised in 1979. And then from 1980 to 1995, the Golden Globes had various TV partners, including CBS, TBS and being in syndication. NBC resumed televising the Golden Globe Awards in 1996.

The massive backlash against the HFPA began on February 21, 2021, when the Los Angeles Times published an investigative report that revealed the HFPA had unethical financial practices and a long history of excluding black people from its membership. Variety reported on February 26 that the HFPA hasn’t had any black members since 2002. More than 100 celebrity publicity firms pledged to withhold their clients from future Golden Gloeb Awards and other HFPA events unless the HFPA made drastic improvements to its racial diversity, ethics policies and codes of conduct. The social justice activist group Time’s Up has also condemned the HFPA for not doing enough to implement changes.

Since then, former HFPA president Phil Berk, a white man originally from South Africa, was expelled from the HFPA for sending an email with racist comments to certain HFPA members on April 18, 2021. In the email, Berk endorsed an article stating that Black Lives Matter is a “racist hate movement,” and he called Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrice Cullors “the self-proclaimed ‘trained Marxist.'” After this email went public, HFPA diversity strategist Shaun Harper quit after just one month on the job. Around the same time, crisis management firm Smith & Company (whose president/CEO Judy Smith was the inspiration of the Olivia Pope character in “Scandal”) also severed ties with the HFPA after a brief stint working with the HFPA.

With much of the entertainment industry backing away from the HFPA, it is unknown if the HFPA will survive this huge blow to its reputation and revenue. The HFPA’s problems with racial diversity and mishandling of funds have reportedly existed for decades, but the reckoning happened only after the media exposed these problems.

2021 Golden Globe Awards: ‘The Crown,’ ‘Nomadland,’ ‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’ win big

February 28, 2021

by Carla Hay

Pennie Downey, Marion Bailey, Josh O’Connor, Charles Dance, Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies, Helena Bonham Carter, Erin Doherty, Michael Thomas and Pennie Downie in “The Crown” (Photo by Des Willie/Netflix)

With four prizes, Netflix’s drama series “The Crown” was the top winner at the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards, which were presented on February 28, 2021. “The Crown” won the award for Best Television Series – Drama. The movie’s other prizes went to Josh Connor, for Best Actor in a Television Series – Drama; Emma Corrin, for Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama; and Gillian Anderson, for Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.

There was no one movie that dominated at the 2021 Golden Globe Awards. Searchlight Pictures’ “Nomadland,” Amazon Studios’ “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” and Pixar Animation Studios’ “Soul” won two awards each. “Nomadland” won the prize for Best Motion Picture – Drama. “Nomadland” director Chloé Zhao made Golden Globes history by becoming the first woman of color to win a Golden Globe for Best Director. She is also the second woman to win this prize, after Barbra Streisand won for 1983’s “Yentyl.” “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” took the prizes for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, while the movie’s star Sacha Baron Cohen won the prize for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. “Soul” won the awards for Best Animated Film and Best Original Score.

The Golden Globes ceremony has traditionally been held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no large, in-person gathering at the ceremony. Instead, the Golden Globes ceremony had video linkups of the nominees, so that when the winners are announced, the winners could react live with their acceptance speeches. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosted the ceremony, with Fey Rainbow Room in New York City and Poehler at the Beverly Hilton. NBC had the U.S. telecast of the show.

Netflix’s dramatic movie “Mank” went into the ceremony with the most nominations (six), but in the end, didn’t win any Golden Globes. “Mank” is director David Fincher’s movie about screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (nicknamed Mank) and his experiences while he co-wrote the 1941 classic “Citizen Kane,” including his clashes with “Citizen Kane” director Orson Welles.

The most emotional moment of the night was for the late Chadwick Boseman, who was awarded the prize of Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, for his final acting role in Netflix’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Boseman’s widow Taylor Simone Ledward-Boseman tearfully accepted the prize on his behalf and gave a heart-wrenching statement on what he might have said if he were alive and able to accept the award. Boseman died of colon cancer in August 2020. He was 43.

Other winners in the movie categories included Andra Day of Hulu’s “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama; Rosamund Pike of Netflix’s “I Care a Lot” for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy; Daniel Kaluuya of Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Judas and the Black Messiah” for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture; and Jodie Foster of STX’s “The Mauritanian” for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture.

TV winners that won multiple Golden Globe Awards were the Pop network’s “Schitt’s Creek,” which got two prizes: Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy, while Catherine O’Hara won the award for Best Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy. The Netflix limited drama series “The Queen’s Gambit” won for Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, while Anya Taylor-Joy got the prize for Best Actress in a Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) votes for the nominations and awards. The HFPA and Dick Clark Productions produce the Golden Globe Awards telecast. Eligible movies for the show were those released in the U.S. in 2020 and in January and February 2021. The eligibility window, which usually ends at the end of a calendar year, was extended for movies because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible TV programs were those that premiered on U.S. networks and U.S. streaming services in 2020.

In their opening monologue, co-hosts Fey and Poehler (who previously co-hosted the Golden Globes from 2013 to 2015) made some light-hearted jokes, as well as more serious-minded jokes that took aim at some of the controversial aspects of the HFPA and this year’s Golden Globe nominations. Fey and Poehler slammed the movie “Music,” which has gotten a lot of criticism for its offensive portrayal of autism by a non-autistic actress. Poehler and Fey also blasted the HFPA, which has about 89 members, for not having any black people in the group’s membership. (On February 21, 2021, the Los Angeles Times published an investigative report that exposed this racial diversity problem and other problems at the HFPA. Variety reported on February 26 that the HFPA hasn’t had any black members since 2002.)

Later in the broadcast, three HFPA leaders went on stage and addressed the controversy in prepared statements. HFPA vice president Helen Hoehne commented, “Just like in film and television, black representation is vital. We must have black journalists in our organization.” HFPA chair Meher Tatna added, “We must also ensure that everyone from underrepresented communities gets a seat at our table. We are going to make that happen.” HFPA president Ali Sar concluded, “That means creating an environment where diverse membership is the norm, not the exception. Thank you, and we look forward to a more inclusive future.”

Jane Fonda received the Cecil B. DeMille Award (for outstanding career achievements in entertainment), while Norman Lear received the Carol Burnett Award (for outstanding career achievements in TV). Both awards are non-competitive, and the award recipients are announced weeks before the ceremony takes place.

Presenters at the ceremony included Laura Dern, Angela Bassett, Colin Farrell, Christian Slater, Tiffany Haddish, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Amanda Seyfried, Justin Theroux, Cynthia Erivo, Sarah Paulson, Salma Hayek, Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, Tracy Morgan, Kate Hudson, Sterling K. Brown, Susan Kelechi Watson, Ben Stiller, Margot Robbie, Gal Gadot, Kenan Thompson, Ava DuVernay, Jamie Lee Curtis, Christopher Meloni, Jeanise Jones, Rosie Perez, Renée Zellweger, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sandra Oh, Annie Mumolo, Kristen Wiig, Awkwafina, Maya Rudolph, Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Some of the presenters appeared in person at either the Beverly Hilton or the Rainbow Room, while other presenters appeared by a video link.

Here is the complete list of winners and nominations for the 2021 Golden Globe Awards:

*=winner

MOVIES

Best Motion Picture – Drama
“The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics)
“Mank” (Netflix)
“Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)*
“Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)
“The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” (Amazon Studios)*
“Hamilton” (Disney+)
“Palm Springs” (Neon/Hulu)
“Music” (Vertical Entertainment)
“The Prom” (Netflix)

Best Director 
Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman”
David Fincher, “Mank” (Netflix)
Regina King, “One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)
Aaron Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)
Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)*

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”)
Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”)*
Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”)
Gary Oldman (“Mank”)
Tahar Rahim (“The Mauritanian”)

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Sacha Baron Cohen (“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”)*
James Corden (“The Prom”)
Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton”)
Dev Patel (“The Personal History of David Copperfield”)
Andy Samberg (“Palm Springs”)

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”)
Andra Day (“The United States vs. Billie Holiday”)*
Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”)
Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”)
Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”)

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Maria Bakalova (“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”)
Kate Hudson (“Music”)
Michelle Pfeiffer (“French Exit”)
Rosamund Pike (“I Care a Lot”)*
Anya Taylor-Joy (“Emma”)

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Sacha Baron Cohen (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”)
Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah”)*
Jared Leto (“The Little Things”)
Bill Murray (“On the Rocks”)
Leslie Odom Jr. (“One Night in Miami”)

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture 
Glenn Close (“Hillbilly Elegy”)
Olivia Colman (“The Father”)
Jodie Foster (“The Mauritanian”)*
Amanda Seyfried (“Mank”)
Helena Zengel (“News of the World”)

Best Screenplay
“Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features) – Emerald Fennell
“Mank” (Netflix) – Jack Fincher
“The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)* – Aaron Sorkin
“The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics) – Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton
“Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures) – Chloé Zhao

Best Original Score
“The Midnight Sky” – Alexandre Desplat
“Tenet” – Ludwig Göransson
“News of the World” – James Newton Howard
“Mank” – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
“Soul” – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste*

Best Original Song 
“Fight for You” from “Judas and the Black Messiah” – H.E.R., Dernst Emile II, Tiara Thomas
“Hear My Voice” from “The Trial of the Chicago 7” – Daniel Pemberton, Celeste
“Io Si (Seen)” from “The Life Ahead” – Diane Warren, Laura Pausini, Niccolò Agliardi*
“Speak Now” from “One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios) – Leslie Odom Jr, Sam Ashworth
“Tigress & Tweed” from “The United States vs. Billie Holliday” (Hulu) – Andra Day, Raphael Saadiq

Best Animated Film 
“The Croods: A New Age” (DreamWorks Animation/Universal Pictures)
“Onward” (Pixar Amination Studios/Disney)
“Over the Moon” (Netflix)
“Soul” (Pixar Animation Studios/Disney)*
“Wolfwalkers” (Cartoon Saloon/Apple TV+)

Best Foreign Language Film
“Another Round” (Samuel Goldwyn Films)
“La Llorona” (Shudder)
“The Life Ahead” (Netflix)
“Minari” (A24)*
“Two of Us” (Magnolia Pictures)

TELEVISION

Best Television Series – Drama
“The Crown” (Netflix)*
“Lovecraft Country” (HBO)
“The Mandalorian” (Disney Plus)
“Ozark” (Netflix)
“Ratched” (Netflix)

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy
“Emily in Paris” (Netflix)
“The Flight Attendant” (HBO Max)
“The Great” (Hulu)
“Schitt’s Creek” (Pop)*
“Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+)

Best Actor in a Television Series – Drama
Jason Bateman (“Ozark”)
Josh O’Connor (“The Crown”)*
Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”)
Al Pacino (“Hunters”)
Matthew Rhys (“Perry Mason”)

Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama
Olivia Colman (“The Crown”)
Jodie Comer (“Killing Eve”)
Emma Corrin (“The Crown”)*
Laura Linney (“Ozark”)
Sarah Paulson (“Ratched”)

Best Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Don Cheadle (“Black Monday”)
Nicholas Hoult (“The Great”)
Eugene Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”)
Jason Sudeikis (“Ted Lasso”)*
Ramy Youssef (“Ramy”)

Best Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Lily Collins (“Emily in Paris”)
Kaley Cuoco (“The Flight Attendant”)
Elle Fanning (“The Great”)
Jane Levy (“Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”)
Catherine O’Hara (“Schitt’s Creek”)*

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
“Normal People” (Hulu/BBC)
“The Queen’s Gambit” (Netflix)*
“Small Axe” (Amazon Prime Video/BBC)
“The Undoing” (HBO)
“Unorthodox” (Netflix)

Best Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Bryan Cranston (“Your Honor”)
Jeff Daniels (“The Comey Rule”)
Hugh Grant (“The Undoing”)
Ethan Hawke (“The Good Lord Bird”)
Mark Ruffalo (“I Know This Much Is True”)*

Best Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Cate Blanchett (“Mrs. America”)
Daisy Edgar-Jones (“Normal People”)
Shira Haas (“Unorthodox”)
Nicole Kidman (“The Undoing”)
Anya Taylor-Joy (“The Queen’s Gambit”)*

Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
John Boyega (“Small Axe”)*
Brendan Gleeson (“The Comey Rule”)
Dan Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”)
Jim Parsons (“Hollywood”)
Donald Sutherland (“The Undoing”)

Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Gillian Anderson (“The Crown”)*
Helena Bonham Carter (“The Crown”)
Julia Garner (“Ozark”)
Annie Murphy (“Schitt’s Creek”)
Cynthia Nixon (“Ratched”)

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