What and why are the Golden Globes?

Eva Moschitto, Staff Writer

On Feb. 28, the 78th annual Golden Globe Awards kicked off Hollywood’s awards season with a spectacle noteworthy for all the wrong reasons. Hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), a nonprofit organization of entertainment journalists, the Golden Globes recently received scrutiny for internal corruption and a lack of diversity in a “Los Angeles Timesexposé.

First, what are the Golden Globes, and why should you watch them?

Renowned for their opulence, the Golden Globes present a boozy Hollywood celebration of certain films and television shows selected by 90 industry reporters.

The Academy Awards, or Oscars, in comparison, are voted on by the 6,000 industry professionals — actors, directors, writers, etc. — who comprise the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and who are peers to the professionals they nominate.

The Academy has made efforts to diversify its expansive membership, especially following the #OscarsSoWhite movement, yet the HFPA lags behind. Despite having members from several communities of color, the HFPA still has no Black members, causing tangible detriment to Black artists.

In her opening monologue, Amy Poehler, who co-hosted this year’s Golden Globes alongside Tina Fey, jabbed: “Everyone is understandably upset at the HFPA and their choices … A lot of flashy garbage got nominated, but that happens, that’s like their thing. A number of Black actors and Black-led projects were overlooked.”

In responding to the “Los Angeles Times,” the HFPA recognized that “we need to bring in Black members, as well as members from other, underrepresented backgrounds.”

For many, however, the HFPA’s response comes too late, and amid further critique, like that of exclusionary practices toward foreign journalists.  Danish journalist Sara Gerlach Madsen reported that established foreign journalists are “treated as threats” and barred from membership out of fear that their voices might diminish those of standing HFPA members.

This “insular, improbably powerful group,” adds the “Los Angeles Times,” pays its members increasingly large sums for their positions — an uncommon move among nonprofits, according to tax specialists.

The awards show is mostly watched by cinephiles and TV-lovers mainly for its comedy, if not for its content. However, this year’s Zoom-esque production, which featured a hybrid of live, in-person recordings and virtual call-ins, felt more cringeworthy than comedic.

Replete with technological difficulties, like muted audio during Daniel Kaluuya’s acceptance speech at the beginning of the night, jokes that fell flat across the virtual expanse between co-hosts and celebrities, and controversy over the legitimacy of the nominations and awards themselves, the Golden Globes seem to have lost their relevance.

Certainly, Sasha Baron Cohen’s witty political remarks and widow Taylor Simone Ledward’s moving acceptance of Chadwick Boseman’s posthumous award are worth watching.  The Golden Globes can also provide some indication of who will go on to win an Oscar, yet in recent years, this has not always been the case.

Ultimately, aside from sparse moments like those above, the Golden Globes accumulate to an insubstantial display of Hollywood frivolity.

So, if you’re asking yourself why you should watch the Golden Globes, the answer is you probably shouldn’t.

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