New Year, New Golden Globes

The 80th Golden Globe Awards, which returned to live television on Jan. 10, focused the spotlight on reform in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, in addition to the night’s nominees.


Earl Gibson for the HFPA

The cast of “Abbott Elementary” accepts the Golden Globe for Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy.

Sophie Gromowsky, Print Co-Editor-in-Chief

The 80th Golden Globe Awards returned to live television on Jan. 10, following NBC’s decision not to broadcast the ceremony in 2022 due to a series of controversies surrounding its host organization, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). 

Though the host of the evening, comedian Jerrod Carmicheal, and many of the stars in attendance were not shy in acknowledging the scandals that have defined the institution’s past two years, the ultimate focus was on the HFPA’s efforts to reform and celebrating the talent of the night’s nominees.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization responsible for hosting the Golden Globes ceremony and selecting the award nominees and winners, is made up of journalists who cover the American entertainment industry for non-US markets, according to Vox

Even before the events of the past two years, the HFPA has been no stranger to controversy. In its 80 years of hosting the awards, the institution has been criticized repeatedly for lack of diversity within its nominations. 

Additionally, in 2018, sexual assault allegations were brought against the organization’s longtime president, Philip Berk, by actor Brendan Fraser, who said that he was groped by Berk in 2003, according to GQ. The HFPA opened an investigation into the incident, the report of which has never been made public. Fraser asserts that the organization later asked him to issue a joint statement declaring that the incident was “intended to be taken as a joke,” which Fraser refused to do. 

Berk continued to hold his position as president until April 2021, when he sent an email to members of the HFPA referring to Black Lives Matter as a “racist hate movement,” which prompted NBC to call for his removal, according to Vox

In 2021, the organization was once again brought under fire when an investigation by the Los Angeles Times revealed issues of internal corruption and lack of diversity. The investigation found that among the 87 journalists that comprised the HFPA, there had been zero Black members for nearly two decades. 

It was also found that many members of the organization had accepted lavish food, gifts and trips from studios that had submitted projects for HFPA consideration, which often resulted in those projects receiving Golden Globe nominations, sometimes in spite of extremely poor critical reviews.  

The investigation’s findings prompted intense backlash. Major entertainment corporations including Netflix, Amazon, HBO and WarnerMedia publicly severed ties with the organization. Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos issued an open letter to the HFPA, stating that talents and creators for the streaming service could not “ignore the HFPA’s collective failure to address these crucial issues with urgency and rigor,” according to Deadline.

Many stars and industry professionals also spoke out against the institution, including actor Tom Cruise, who returned his three previously-won Golden Globe trophies, and actress Scarlett Johansson, who issued a statement saying that many of her own past interactions with members of the HFPA had “bordered on sexual harassment,” prompting her to cut ties with the association, according to People.

Host Jerrod Carmicheal joked that he had found the three Golden Globe trophies that actor Tom Cruise returned following controversies with the HFPA. (Rich Polk for NBC via Getty Images)

On May 10, 2021, NBC announced that it would not air the 2022 Golden Globes ceremony, citing in its statement that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association needed time to implement meaningful reform before the network could consider broadcasting the show again, according to USA Today.

The HFPA responded later in the day with its own statement, saying, “implementing transformational change as quickly – and as thoughtfully – as possible remains the top priority for our organization,” according to Deadline.

Since 2021, the association has expanded its voting body to 200 members and significantly increased its racial diversity, according to Vox. The HFPA has stated that 22.3% of its voters are Latinx, 13.6% are Black, 11.7% are Asian, 10.7% are Middle Eastern and 41.7% are white. Additionally, 52% of the voting body is made up of women.

In October 2021, the HFPA partnered with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to form the Reimagine Coalition, a five year collaborative effort aimed at increasing diverse representation throughout the entertainment industry as a whole and creating meaningful employment opportunities for Hollywood workers and journalists of color, according to USA Today.

Comedian Jerrod Carmicheal hosted the 80th Golden Globe Awards. He was the first Black host in the ceremony’s 80 year history. (Rich Polk for NBC via Getty Images)

The 2023 Golden Globe Awards were hosted by Carmicheal. He was the first Black host in the ceremony’s 80 year history, and most of his monologue was dedicated to addressing the HFPA’s controversy of the past two years, according to Entertainment Weekly

“I’ll tell you why I’m here. I’m here because I’m Black,” Carmicheal said in his opening. “The Golden Globe Awards did not air last year because the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which I won’t say they were a racist organization, but they didn’t have a single Black member until George Floyd died. So do with that information what you will.”

The night’s nominees and winners also contained greater diversity than in years past, according to USA Today. Michelle Yeoh took home the award for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy/Musical for “Everything Everywhere All At Once.” Tyler James and Quinta Brunson won Best Supporting Actor in a TV Show and Best Actress in a TV Comedy/Musical, respectively, for their roles in “Abbott Elementary”, which was also awarded Best Musical/Comedy Television Show.

Michelle Yeoh bows as she accepts the Golden Globe for Best Lead Actress in a Musical or Comedy for her role in “Everything Everywhere All At Once.” (Christopher Polk for NBC via Getty Images)

In the press room after the ceremony, Angela Bassett, who won Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for her role as Queen Ramonda in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” responded ‘no’ when asked if she hesitated to attend the awards, according to Vanity Fair.

“I wasn’t about to stay home,” she said. “The Hollywood Foreign Press has made strides to do what they know needs to be done.”