To stay relevant, the Golden Globes must recognize diverse talent

Meaningful reform takes more than a year 

The Golden Globes take a necessary hiatus for 2022.  

The Golden Globes has always been a glamorous, privileged, and whitewashed night in the awards season. 

In the last year, Hollywood’s biggest studios, most prominent PR firms, and revered actors have publicly exposed and criticized the Golden Globes’ lack of diversity. Tom Cruise even went so far as returning his three Golden Globe trophies in protest. 

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) is a group of 87 international journalists who control and vote for winners of the Golden Globes—and it has zero Black members. The group has also been criticized as an amalgamation of insiders who dismiss the talent of racialized actors, often snubbing Black-led Oscar contenders for nominations.

The HFPA’s treatment of Netflix’s Emily in Paris, which received mixed reviews from critics, is the perfect example of the group’s track record with favouritism.

The Los Angeles Times revealed that in 2019, over 30 HFPA members were flown to France to visit the Emily in Paris Set and were treated to “a two-night stay at the five-star Peninsula Paris hotel.” Months later, the show received two Golden Globes nominations over HBO’s acclaimed series I May Destroy You.

This snub is far from the first time incredibly talented BIPOC creatives have been sidelined in favour of stories that center whiteness, but the decision did spark an uproar like no other.

After increasing negative attention and many Hollywood figures pledging to boycott the next event, the HFPA announced it would not be airing the 2022 Golden Globes.

“We continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform,” read a statement from the network. “Change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right.”

The statement was bold but vague, with the network providing little information as to what

meaningful reform will look like and how they plan to restructure the awards on a more inclusive and diverse foundation.

I can spot performative activism from a mile away, and I hope the HFPA commits to seeking out diverse, qualified candidates to judge the awards, rather than attempting to mask internalized racism by handing out trophies to visible minorities.

The undeniable struggle for racialized actors in this political era is that any professional win will also be a political one. The HFPA needs to dismantle their racial bias, recognize the power of vibrant, diverse storytelling, and include BIPOC judges in decision-making.

I’m hesitant to believe this kind of reform can be achieved in a year, especially because the HFPA seems to be riddled with ethical misconduct even outside of its veiled racism. When an organization is ingrained with privilege and tangled with scandals, it will likely take more than a year to unravel the mess and create tangible solutions to complex issues.

For the Golden Globes to stay relevant in a time where award shows are becoming increasingly irrelevant, the HFPA needs to champion diversity and move with the times.

If the HFPA is hoping for a ceremony in 2023, meaningful reform needs to start now—and keep going long after the next Golden Globes ceremony.


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