The 79th annual Golden Globes took place from the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles. The night’s big winners included actor Will Smith for his performance in “King Richard,” actress Nicole Kidman for her work in “Being the Ricardos” and Steven Spielberg’s modern adaptation of “West Side Story” for Best Motion Picture Comedy or Musical.
The night’s biggest prize for Best Motion Picture Drama went to “The Power of the Dog,” directed by Jane Campion who also won a Globe for her directing work. But audiences thirsting for a glimpse at these incredible accomplishments were forced to follow the ceremony through live tweets, as recent developments surrounding the Hollywood Foreign Press, known as HFP, brought on a united boycott of the Globes from Hollywood and various media organizations who refused to broadcast the awards.
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The Golden Globes are far from immune to controversy, but the recent events surrounding Hollywood’s most entertaining night have taken a serious toll.
The Globes received criticism in January 2021 after nominations for the night’s top prize did not include several highly acclaimed films by Black-led casts, including “Judas and the Black Messiahs,” Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” A February investigation by the LA Times revealed the HFP consisted of zero Black members.
On top of claims of the HPF’s racial bias which lit a fire under those in Hollywood, actresses such as Scarlett Johansson spoke out against the group, stating their sexist behavior — especially in interview settings — have always made her uncomfortable. From there, a domino effect ensued. A few months later, mega-star Tom Cruise announced he would be returning his three Golden Globes, a move that rallied accomplished actors to follow suit.
Yet, the straw that broke the camel’s back was film studios declaring their intent to boycott the awards, meaning their Hollywood stars would not hit the red carpet. With the boycotts in place, NBC had no other option but to suspend their broadcasting partnership with the Globes, doing so in May 2021.
Along with the SAGs and BAFTAs, The Golden Globes have functioned as a significant precursor to the Academy Awards in the past. The informal nature of the award show has been a continual showcase for Hollywood celebrities at their most vulnerable, providing endless gaffes and laughs.
The awards are known for key pop culture moments — like when Robin Williams hilariously accepting the award on behalf of actress Christine Lahti who had found herself in the restroom at the time her name was called (1998), or Elizabeth Taylor announcing the Best Drama winner before the nominees had even been read (2001) and a number of a jaw-dropping jokes from fearless comedian Ricky Gervais who hosted the show five times in the 2010s. The night’s unpredictability is only heightened by the voting body, the Hollywood Foreign Press, who has built up a reputation for being dramatic as it relates to the ballot box.
In the end, there is no telling where the Golden Globes will go from here. Recent measures taken by the HFP to craft a more industry-represented group, both in race and expertise, certainly appears to be steps in the right direction, but is it enough to convince the stars of Hollywood, their respective film studios and longtime partner NBC to forgive decades of mischief and mistreatment? Only time will tell.