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Image / Agenda

Why the 2021 Golden Globes are being overshadowed by controversy


By Jennifer McShane
28th Feb 2021
Why the 2021 Golden Globes are being overshadowed by controversy

Unfortunately, the Golden Globes, which kicks off a strange, mid-pandemic award season, has gone from bad to worse after a flood of controversy.

Hollywood loves the Golden Globes; the glitzy glamorous event that heralds the start of award season is much adored for its casual-than-the-academy-awards nature (you can drink booze and get even vaguely hammered and it’s generally considered acceptable), but it has begun to lose its shine.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), a group of 87 international journalists who vote on the awards, has come under fire after the Los Angeles Times published two very damning exposés on both the questionable credentials of members and the ease at which they are reportedly courted by studios. They have been accused of “ethical lapses” and #AllWhite preferences with members reportedly flown to Paris in support of the Netflix comedy Emily in Paris, which received two nominations, while numerous black performances, films and shows have been ignored.

Michaela Coel’s broadly acclaimed (and brilliant) I May Destroy You failed to secure a single nomination.  Notable works from Judas and the Black Messiah, Da 5 Bloods, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom were all ignored in the Best Picture category – each would have been a natural and deserved contender for nomination.

There also isn’t one person of colour on the voting committee.

According to Indiewire, commenting on the LA Times pieces, an HFPA spokesperson called it, “a gross mischaracterization of our organisation,” noting that members write for respected publications such as Der Spiegel, Vogue Paris, Rolling Stone, BBC, and The Guardian. They described the admissions and reaccreditation process as “robust,” with review by Ernst & Young; members must reapply every year. As for the idea that press junkets have any influence over Globes voters, the spokesperson called that idea “absurd.”

“Our members attend many set visits, premieres and press conferences for motion pictures and television programs that are neither nominated for nor win Golden Globes,” they said. “We also want to be clear that non-HFPA members, including from many major publications in the U.S. and abroad, are offered fully paid attendance by studios at junkets. The HFPA, on the other hand, pays for the airfare of its own members.”

However, they did comment on the fact that their committee lacked diversity. “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,” their statement said.

The night will be hosted by Tina Fey in New York and Amy Poehler in Los Angeles with some presenters appearing in person following strict protocols due to the pandemic.