The news this week that Dodger and Lakers co-owner Todd Boehly was buying the Golden Globes show — and that it would no longer be a nonprofit — begs the question: The film industry will she abandon her partner in awards season? -criminality?
To use a legal twist of phrase, Hollywood remains an unindicted co-conspirator in legitimizing the unequivocally illegitimate Golden Globes.
Some show business awards consultants told me they hoped the announcement would kill the Globes for good. Yet several others have said that not only is the series not dead, but that it could soon return.
Even in the simplest test of distinction or credibility, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which presents the Globes, fails. Its roughly 100 voters (pun intended) claim to cover Hollywood for largely obscure international outlets. However, to join the HFPA, these journalists only need to write a few articles per year. And once admitted, the circus really begins.
For decades, the Globes have been attacked for various infractions. Before being shamed into complying, HFPA members hosted posh, all-expenses-paid global junkets (whose vendors shockingly won trophies) and held press conferences that produced many more selfies. celebrities than news.
The Oscar Connection
Nonetheless, stars, studios, and streamers not only courted Golden Globe votes, but also attended the annual ceremony in droves, which is essentially an Oscars presentation with more booze. Hardly any decent person I know in the industry (a small group indeed) has taken the organization or its awards – sometimes given to mediocre performances and badly reviewed films – so seriously.
But these industry insiders also acknowledged that with the city’s complicity, the Globes could help sway Oscar voters. Plus, the ceremony was way more fun than the Oscars. And so, in a cowardly effort to grab any possible boost, Hollywood created its own embarrassing monster, knowing full well how the organization actually behaved.
Why last year’s show was canceled
A year ago, Scarlett Johansson said the HFPA’s behavior included “sexist questions and remarks from some HFPA members that border on sexual harassment.” Mark Ruffalo said at the time, “Honestly, as a recent Golden Globe winner, I can’t be proud or happy to be the recipient of this award.”
What appeared to be the nail in the HFPA’s coffin was a series of stories published by the Los Angeles Times early last year which detailed, among other things:
- The HFPA not having a single black voter
- Questionable financial initiation, where the HFPA paid its members
Despite the HFPA’s pledge to add more non-white voters and take steps to improve its financial controls, NBC canceled airing of this year’s Globes and has yet to say whether the show will return. 2023.
Boehly’s offer, made public Thursday, doesn’t quite clean up the HFPA mess. The terms of the for-profit agreement allow the HFPA to maintain its separate charitable arm and members will receive $75,000 for several years. So, at least for now, we know they make money for being voters, rather than under the table.
Reactions to the announcement were mixed, with several prominent awards campaigners telling me they wouldn’t be surprised (or even disappointed) if the Globes returned soon.
Veteran publicist Marcel Pariseau (who represents Johansson, among others) emailed the HFPA, copying an array of Hollywood publicists to his message. Pariseau writes, in a copy of the message given to me:
“As a group of publicists, we have been asking for the past few months and much longer for a zoom call/meeting with all of us…to get an update and let us know about your progress and reforms.
Once we had this information, the goal was to help the HFPA down a positive and productive path in terms of advancing the Globes that was beneficial to ALL…. At the moment, I feel duped and misinformed.
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John Horn covers the entertainment industry, examining what’s next for Hollywood after the pandemic.