My initial reaction when I initially learned that I would have to treat the Golden Globes “seriously” this year was “Ugh,” followed by a loud “Ick,” and then, “Why?” The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s infamously showy awards presentation, the Globes, was subject to a less than two-year industry-wide boycott. But the Globes are back, baby! In approximately one year and a half, the HFPA completely resolved all of their institutional challenges. racism ingrained in the company? Evidently resolved in 2021 with the addition of six Black members. A predilection for disregarding female filmmakers? Uh, I think they’re working on that. Is this the infamous Golden Globes fixation with star power and swagger above all else? Who is to say?
The Golden Globes are everything I used to adore about award shows but now despise. They’re showy and glamorous, yet ultimately superficial. They are significant within the industry because they have the power to influence financial outcomes, like all award shows do. Not just for the victors, who can utilize the questionable distinction to boost their chances of winning an Oscar, but also for the cottage industry that benefits from it. We’re talking about journalists who focus on covering awards season, publicists who lead “For Your Consideration” campaigns, stylists who plan celebrities’ red carpet looks, and networks that profit from selling advertising time during the presentations. Of course, those people—among them, yours truly—should support the Globes’ return. The issue is that I’m not.
I don’t think a few short years will be sufficient to reverse the institutional decay of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. In addition to the fact that Wednesday was nominated for Best Comedy Series, Brendan Fraser, who is also a nominee, has stated that he will not be attending the ceremony because he has “more history with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association than I have respect for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.”
Fraser disclosed that HFPA power player Phillip Berk had sexually abused him in a 2018 GQ article. Berk, who had served as the HFPPA’s president, was unceremoniously expelled from the group in 2021 after sharing a piece that called the Black Lives Matter movement a “racist hate movement.” Fraser claims that he has still not gotten a genuine apology for the upsetting incident.
“No, I will not participate,” Fraser continued in the 2022 GQ essay. “It’s because of my relationship with them in the past. Additionally, my mother did not raise a hypocrite. There are many things you may call me, but not that.
We already know which celebs and award season hopefuls will be at Tuesday’s Golden Globes, though it’s unclear if any other big-name stars will follow Fraser in his boycott. According to Variety, among the nominees anticipated to attend are Austin Butler, Steven Spielberg, Daniel Craig, Jenna Ortega, Jessica Chastain, and Kevin Costner. I get it, even though I’m not sure the HFPA has taken enough steps to demonstrate its reformation. I can see why celebrities would like to attend the Golden Globes.
The Golden Globes are popular because they are entertaining. For many years, it was the one occasion each year when stars of humble television could mingle with renowned movie greats. The Beverly Hilton ballroom would be packed with celebrities, who would be roast to death by comedians like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler or Ricky Gervais. Normally poised stars relaxed into party gear as food was served and champagne began flowing.
Another award show with a bad reputation was the Golden Globes. Dark horse Oscar bets could squeak victories in the Globes’ (very subjective) Comedy/Musical categories, defeating industry titans to win significant awards. The Golden Globes are a fantastic place to hang out and a fantastic chance to boost an Oscar or Emmy campaign. So I understand.
But I also understand that changing a biased culture completely takes time. An institution that has a history of putting swag over seriousness cannot be expected to overnight display taste. Above all, I fail to see how Brendan Fraser’s suffering can be alleviated by a few well-written press releases.
Additionally, I am aware that the only value that honors like the Razzies, Golden Globes, Emmys, and Oscars have in this field is the value we assign to them. The awards season continued without a hitch after we all made the decision to ignore the Golden Globes last year. What does watching on Tuesday night accomplish besides re-legitimize a company that still has some faults to fix? In 2023, the Golden Globes will only have the authority we grant it, and I’d prefer to disregard that.
But I have to watch on Tuesday night because I am a part of the media environment that thrives on drama, pomp, and scathing critique. I have to question whether the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s small measures will be sufficient to bridge the controversy chasm that has afflicted them for the past two years. I want to know how the Globes will (or won’t) affect this incredibly sacred Oscar season. However, I’m most interested in watching how the show’s emcee, comedian Jerrod Carmichael, decides to use his position of authority.
The Golden Globes will demonstrate to us on Tuesday night whether they are still deserving of our attention or whether it is time for them to perish.