Editorial: Time to End the Golden Globes, They Don't Matter Anymore
by Alex Billington
May 17, 2021
If you haven't heard by now, the Golden Globes are embroiled in a massive controversy that began when they were ousted for having no Black members. And it probably means they're done for good. We can only hope that's the case. NBC has already stated they will not air the Golden Globes in 2022, which is essentially the "final blow" in the controversy, meaning that the actual show won't go on this time. The Golden Globes are put on by a shady group known as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, aka the HFPA, and thanks to lawsuits & journalists we now know everything (bad) about them. To put it bluntly, it's a group of power-hungry "international journalists" who are obsessed with Hollywood celebs. And to put it bluntly again, it's time to end the Golden Globes for good. 2021 should be their final year. They don't matter anymore, they're boring, they're bought-and-paid for awards, and that's on top of the problems with the HFPA membership.
I've read claims that everyone chiming in about the Golden Globes now is the cliche "kicking a dog when it's down", an easy chance to pile-on and complain. However, I see it the other way around… I could've written this exact kind of editorial years ago, but many would've just laughed it off, some would've even defended them as a "harmless awards show", and the HFPA probably would've sent lawyers after me for defamation… or something like that. But now that we've reached this point where everyone in Hollywood, from publicists to celebrities to studios, are finally distancing themselves from the HFPA it means we can all come together and speak out about them – and perhaps actually achieve the goal of ending the Golden Globes. I don't want them to make a comeback in 2023. Their "we're going to try to fix this" recovery plan after being called out was so unimpressive that studios have already responded saying "uh no thanks, this won't work." Sometimes it's not even worth giving someone a chance to fix their mistakes. It's time for the HFPA to fold & move on.
What fascinates me the most is that it took a controversy regarding race and representation, a lack of Black members, to finally bring down the HFPA. For years we've known that they are a sketchy organization. They somehow were able to always seduce the studios and publicity firms to spend copious amounts of money for special soirées and interviews and set visits. They get exclusive press junkets (for HFPA only) and exclusive access to celebrities, all with that wink that maybe they will nominate a few of these movies and/or people thanks to that access. Heck, we don't even know who the HFPA members are! There's only 90 of them. And you've definitely never heard of them, or ever read any of their work, because they've become so comfortable with the exclusive access they get, and everything happens quietly behind closed doors anyway, nothing else matters except the awards show and the statuettes they hand out. Despite all this, they've still marched on.
How weird is it gonna be to explain the Golden Globes to the next generation 20 years from now?
— Daniel Joyaux (@Thirdmanmovies) May 11, 2021
The HFPA was originally started back in 1943 in Hollywood, because a journalist "wanted a more organized distributing process of cinema news to non-U.S. markets." That actually makes sense because things were so much different back then and it wasn't as easy to get access to Hollywood without being in Hollywood. But, of course, the whole world has changed immensely since then, and the HFPA members really don't do much journalism anymore. They even try to hide the fact that it is mostly members of the press, sticking to their simple moniker "HFPA." According to reports, the HFPA consists of about 90 members from approximately 55 countries. And part of the problem is that these members are greedy, arrogant and controlling. Lawsuits against the HFPA have indicated that invitees have been rejected because pre-existing members expressed exaggerated worries about competition and being the only person in that country and the only one who thus deserves to get the special access they get. Thankfully publicists in Hollywood have become tired of this, too.
It's too easy to lapse into nostalgia and say, oh come on, the Golden Globes are a regular part of the awards season and why don't we just let them go on. They're not that bad! The only good thing I can say about the Golden Globes is that they had their own category for comedy (although that isn't without problems either, many movies/actors ended up listed in the wrong category for strange, unexplainable reasons). This is good only because the Academy Awards very rarely nominate comedies for much besides Best Screenplay, with a few exceptions recently (like Lady Bird getting nominated for Best Picture). For reference, The Academy is made up of around 9,921 motion picture members, from all different professions. They've worked diligently to fix problems of representation within their membership as well, as The Academy is not perfect either. But they've at least put in a greater effort, and The Academy is much more about recognizing the talented people working in front of and behind the screen, a nod to all of the technical work that goes into making movies.
There have been a number of worthwhile articles published recently about the Golden Globes and this latest HFPA controversy, analyzing and discussing the good and the bad. And I'm not alone in hoping that this is the end of them. In a conversation with Observer, Next Best Picture awards writer Will Mavity explained: "Actors and films will look to new ways to build momentum… And those of us who follow the race will have to look to new frames of reference for determining who has that momentum. It's going to be an exciting new era for Oscar coverage." I would say exciting is the right word indeed! Out with the old, in with the new. And maybe without the HFPA taking up space anymore, the awards season can start to improve, and evolve with the times. Film critic Peter Bradshaw also wrote about issues with the Globes for The Guardian, ending with a poignant note: "If it is slapped into some semblance of humility and common sense by these events, that will be all to the good. And perhaps it will also be a reality check for awards ceremonies generally." Yep.
I just think that this is the best time to say – that's it, they are not worth it anymore, they've been ousted as power-hungry paid-off journalists, let's just end it for good and stop making a big deal out of their awards. Not everything can last forever. Some things must come to an end, and now is their time. And really, there is nothing bad about no more Golden Globes. Even the nominees at the show are only there to get drunk and promote their work, they don't seem to care too much about them either. Does anyone? It was all a publicity stunt anyway… The HFPA lost their way. If they want to get back to what they started out doing, they should scrap the awards show for good, and focus on supporting international writers and bringing in more foreign journalists to Hollywood. The proverbial "awards season" is not going to be ruined by no longer having the Golden Globes. In fact, it might be a nice shake up and allow everyone to focus on quality more than who schmoozed well enough to win this year. Let's get back to awarding the best films, not the best schmoozers.