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Arts and Entertainment

The Golden Globes Remain Suspect, But Hollywood Will Embrace Them Anyway

A photo of two large white signs with the words "Golden Globe Awards" in blue lettering on them.
The Golden Globes are returning to NBC on Tuesday night following a one-year broadcast ban.
(Joe Shlabotnik
Creative Commons on Flickr)
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In nature, they’re called symbiotic relationships — like the remora fish, which attaches to a shark’s underbelly and scarfs on its food scraps, keeping the shark’s body clean and enjoying safe passage from predators in exchange.

In show business, the same relationship underpins the Golden Globes.

The annual awards presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. are the industry’s answer to mutualism, because the two species (Hollywood and the Golden Globes) benefit from each other's existence. And that’s why, after a one-year broadcast ban prompted by the HFPA’s scandalous behavior, the Globes are returning on Tuesday night, with Hollywood mostly following in lockstep.

The HFPA says it has worked to reform itself in the wake of a series of damaging articles in The Los Angeles Times ahead of the 2021 Golden Globes ceremony. The Times reported that there was not a single Black voter among the HFPA’s 87 members; that the organization engaged in questionable financial self-dealing; and that voters accepted a posh junket to France and then nominated the middlebrow show, Emily in Paris, the subject of the junket.

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Scarlett Johansson said in 2021 that interview questions posed by HFPA members “bordered on sexual harassment” and decried the industry’s fealty to the Golden Globes. “The HFPA is an organization that was legitimized by the likes of Harvey Weinstein to amass momentum for Academy recognition and the industry followed suit,” Johansson said. “Unless there is necessary fundamental reform within the organization, I believe it is time that we take a step back from the HFPA.”

The HFPA says it has added six Black voters, has strengthened voter eligibility rules, and has new rules regarding financial conduct. All the same, the organization remains populated with obscure journalists working for indeterminate outlets. The HFPA once listed the news outlets of its now 96 voters, but that information is no longer available on its website. (Note: The HFPA Charitable Trust is a KPCC/LAist donor).

Some prominent performers are refusing to attend the Golden Globes NBC broadcast. Brendan Fraser, who stars in and could be nominated for an Academy Award for The Whale, was groped by then-HFPA president Philip Berk at a luncheon in 2003 and said he won’t show. (Berk was not disciplined, and the HFPA said that even though “Berk inappropriately touched Mr. Fraser,” it was “intended to be taken as a joke and not as a sexual advance.”)

But a list of Globe presenters suggests many actors will attend, including Claire Danes, Eddie Murphy, Jennifer Hudson, Henry Golding, Hilary Swank, Jennifer Coolidge, Letitia Wright, Regina Hall and Salma Hayek.

And we’re not making this part up: Sean Penn will introduce Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who will share “a special message of peace” to the Golden Globe audience.

What questions do you have about film, TV, music, or arts and entertainment?
John Horn, entertainment reporter and host of our weekly podcast Retake, explores whether the stories that Hollywood tells about itself really reflect what's going on?