With Sunday’s Golden Globes ceremony rapidly approaching, preparations for the annual show would normally be at a fever pitch. Stars would be fitting themselves for gowns and tuxedos and practicing their red carpet sound bites, while Hollywood would be buzzing with questions about who will take home the prizes.
Instead, with the pandemic forcing the 78th Golden Globes to be held virtually, the famously loose and star-packed show’s glitz and glamour will be dampened. And in the wake of a Times investigation that raised fresh questions about the 87-member Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which doles out the awards, some believe the very future of the Globes could be in jeopardy if the organization doesn’t undertake reforms.
While the HFPA has worked to burnish its image in recent years, largely through increased charitable donations, Times reporting revealed the group is still struggling to shake its reputation that the voters are easily swayed by high-priced junkets in exotic locales and cozy relationships with studios, networks and A-listers.
Even as the HFPA fended off allegations brought in an antitrust lawsuit by Norwegian journalist Kjersti Flaa, some of the group’s own members have raised mounting criticisms of its alleged ethical lapses and self-dealing. The HFPA has said the allegations are unproven and “simply repeat old tropes” about the organization. (Flaa’s suit was dismissed by a federal judge in November. An amended motion is pending.)
The Times investigation also highlighted the fact that the group currently has no Black members, further fueling criticism over this year’s Globes picks, which didn’t include any of this year’s Black-led awards contenders, such as “Da 5 Bloods,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “Judas and the Black Messiah” and “One Night in Miami,” in nominations for the group’s best picture award.
In a statement to the Times on Thursday, an HFPA representative said, “We are fully committed to ensuring our membership is reflective of the communities around the world who love film, tv and the artists inspiring and educating them. We understand that we need to bring in Black members, as well as members from other underrepresented backgrounds, and we will immediately work to implement an action plan to achieve these goals as soon as possible.”
A Times investigation finds that the nonprofit HFPA regularly issues substantial payments to its members in ways that some experts say could skirt IRS guidelines.
The absence of any Black members in a group that votes on one of the industry’s most high-profile awards has drawn widespread attention on social media and elsewhere.