Opinion: The only way the Golden Globes will have a Hollywood ending


From a business standpoint, it was the right decision of the network: if he had continued to broadcast the event, it would almost certainly have been a spectacular failure. But from a public relations and moral standpoint, it was also high time for Hollywood to keep the HFPA’s feet on fire. Audiences have an appetite for more diverse stories – but it’s harder to tell them if they aren’t buzzed about because they are shunned by exclusive “reviews”. Now, to survive, the HFPA must radically change its playbook.

The HFPA, which released a statement on Monday in which it pledged that “regardless of the next Golden Globes air date, implementing transformational change as quickly – and thoughtfully – as possible remains our top priority. organization “, has a deep and troubling problem. history of exclusion. As the United States continues to undergo a cultural assessment of racism and the changes institutions must make to be fair and inclusive, the HFPA does not have a single black member.
This homogeneity is apparent in the people the group celebrates. As noted by the Los Angeles Times, many black-directed movies and TV shows were skipped in key categories when the HFPA announced this year’s nominees. For example, the films “Da 5 Bloods”, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “Judas and the Black Messiah” were not in contention in the best image categories (“Judas and the Black Messiah” was nominated for an Oscar for the best picture). The same thing happened Last year. In total, there were four black winners this year – three for film and one for television – and the vast majority of Globes winners and nominees. were white.
Without the major reform that is so clearly needed, we can already anticipate the headlines and tweets that will likely come out of next year’s ceremony: #GlobesSoWhite. When you add that to the fact that people aren’t listening to rewards anyway these days, in large part because of the pandemic, the decision not to air was a no-brainer for NBC.
HFPA’s diversity issues go beyond the awards stage, and any reform effort will clearly need to go beyond that as well. In April, the organization expelled its leader of the last eight years, Philip Berk, after sending an article to members describing Black Lives Matter as a “racist hate group”.
But the HFPA’s story of racism and exclusion is not only unacceptable – it is also out of step with film audiences and the industry. America is diversifying rapidly. In 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the majority of Americans less than 1 year were not white, and by 2045 the majority of the population will not be white. So there will clearly be more interest in non-white stories in the future. And Hollywood, of course, has to stay ahead of the crop if it is to be relevant.
We can already see this increased demand: 2016’s “Moonlight”, the first film with an all-black cast to win an Oscar for Best Picture (it also won the award for Best Drama at the Golden Globes) was produced with a budget of approximately $ 1.5 million and won more than 43 times its budget in global box office receipts. In 2018, “Black Panther” was a huge hit, establishing numerous box office records. And, in 2020, 39.7% of the major players were not white, according to the UCLA College of Social Sciences – a number which has increased considerably, from only 10.5% in 2011.

But it’s harder to tell more diverse stories with diverse actors if they aren’t rewarded, as this buzz is a key way to generate ticket sales and boost the bankability of the actors who star in these movies and series. . So it is in Hollywood’s best interest to exert its full weight in making the HFPA more inclusive so that these kinds of stories are celebrated. This is one of the reasons the association is so under fire in the industry now – with everyone from celebrities to publicists, calling it. (Another reason is that it has become radioactive in our current culture to partner with organizations that seem racist – and rightly so).

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These aren’t even the only issues the group faces. Last week, in his statement, Johansson mentionned she had been the target of “sexist questions and remarks from certain members of the HFPA who bordered on sexual harassment”.
After the HFPA released a plan to increase its numbers and promised to include black members, it was criticized by many groups, including over 100 Hollywood PR firms, GLAAD, Times Up, and Netflix, who underlined, among other things, that the strategy was not sufficient to solve the problem and would not be implemented in time for next year’s award cycle. CNN’s parent company WarnerMedia has also said (along with Netflix and Amazon) that it will not be part of the Globes-related events before the HFPA reforms.
Of course, it has become easy for the industry to cram on such a deaf group that it seems to have missed the relevance of the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements. But industry players and groups should not stop with HFPA. They should also take a serious look at movie studios, where the majority of executives are white males, according to UCLA’s Hollywood Diversity Report, and demands that they become more inclusive as well.

As for HFPA, which has truly become an anachronism, a radical change is needed. The organization needs to appreciate the existential threat it faces and radically revise its membership to represent America and the global audiences who watch Hollywood movies.

NBC has said it “has high hopes” that it can air the show in 2023. The HFPA needs to be busy if it wants Hollywood to end.

About Michael Sauers

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