Hollywood drags itself into the 21st century

If being out of touch was an organisation it would be the Golden Globes, organised by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). We’ve ranted about this body before here

Its all-white membership is tightly controlled, has no oversight and many of its about 90 members are semi-retired individuals working for obscure foreign publications. There are allegations of discrimination and vote-buying within its ranks. 

For years, major actors have grimaced their way through offensive interviews by this lot. Tom Cruise even returned three of his Golden Globes to the HFPA to protest its lack of diversity. Now major networks and studios have also piled on the pressure. Warner Bros revealed the HFPA wasn’t exactly obliging when it came to press conferences for black performers and artists. In response to all this, the association released a half-hearted list of reforms; this was criticised for lacking in detail and its slow timeline.

Netflix and Amazon Studio said they would not work with HFPA until it makes more meaningful changes. Now the Globes’ broadcasting partner, NBC, announced this week it will NOT air the awards on its channel next year, till there’s more meaningful change. This is a huge blow for the ceremony, which gets a $60m payment from NBC. It’s kind of incredible that public pressure has managed to achieve this outcome for such an established institution – it’s been running since 1944. 

It shows how traditional strangleholds on power are being challenged everywhere. We’re slowly winning the fight for a more transparent, inclusive world. 

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 15 April 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates