First, the Golden Globes were going to go toe-to-toe with the Critic’s Choice Awards on Sunday night. Now, after the critics’ ceremony was postponed amid the Omicron surge, the Globes will have Sunday night all to themselves for a big, splashy …
… audience-less, glorified PowerPoint presentation. Which may or may not be livestreamed.
After NBC bowed out as the broadcaster for this year’s event over ethical missteps and a lack of diversity at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group of journalists that puts on the Golden Globes, the ceremony on Sunday will be decidedly low-key. A small number of vaccinated, boosted, masked, socially distanced H.F.P.A. members and other guests will attend the 90-minute event, kicking off at 9 p.m. Eastern time (6 p.m. Pacific) in the ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. There will be no red carpet or outside media covering the night in person. It seems the event will be more like a graduation ceremony than the freewheeling party of years past.
Muted format aside, there are still some names to watch: Jane Campion is the favorite to take home her first Golden Globe in the best director category for “The Power of the Dog,” Will Smith and Kristen Stewart could build Oscar momentum with wins for “King Richard” and “Spencer,” and “West Side Story” could score big with wins in several categories.
Here’s a recap of how we got here and what to expect.
What exactly is the controversy surrounding the Hollywood Foreign Press Association?
In February, The Los Angeles Times published an investigation that uncovered infighting, possible financial missteps, questionable journalistic ethics and a jarring lack of diversity in the H.F.P.A.’s ranks. (Not a single one of the organization’s 80-plus voting members, the paper found, were Black.) A New York Times article published a few days later explored the finances of the group, a tax-exempt nonprofit, and reported that it had paid more than $3 million in salaries and other compensation to its members and staff, and that a tax filing showed it had paid $1.3 million in travel costs one year.
The scandal-ridden group also came under scrutiny after reports revealed that more than a third of the H.F.P.A. members had been flown on a luxury press trip to the French set of the Netflix series “Emily in Paris” in 2019, after which the critically panned comedy picked up two Golden Globes nominations.
How has the H.F.P.A. responded?
During the 2021 Golden Globes telecast last February, leaders of the group committed to diversifying their membership — a vague, underwhelming overture that fell flat in Hollywood. Then, after NBC announced in May that it would not air the 2022 ceremony, the H.F.P.A. released a statement that said it was working to reform itself with “extreme urgency” and offered a timeline for changes. In the months since, the H.F.P.A. has hired its first chief diversity officer, adopted new rules that prohibit members from accepting gifts from studios and added its first outside board members. In October, it added 21 new journalists to its ranks, 29 percent of whom it said identified as Black.
How has Hollywood responded?
Celebrities like Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo criticized the H.F.P.A. for its proposed changes, arguing they fell short, and a timeline they felt was too long. Tom Cruise returned his three Golden Globes in protest. More than 100 P.R. firms threatened to boycott the H.F.P.A., and Netflix, Amazon, WarnerMedia and Neon cut ties with the organization. NBC still isn’t airing the awards but left the door open for them to return in 2023 if the H.F.P.A. could demonstrate “meaningful reform.”
Oh, right, there’s also an award ceremony! What should I watch for?
On the film side, “Belfast” and “The Power of the Dog” dominated the nominations with seven each, with the latter’s director, Jane Campion, favored to win her first Golden Globe. “King Richard,” “Don’t Look Up,” “Licorice Pizza” and “West Side Story” followed with four apiece. On the TV side, “Succession” received five nominations, followed by four for “Ted Lasso.” There’s a large crop of first-time nominees among the performers, including Ariana DeBose (“West Side Story”) and Kristen Stewart (“Spencer”) in film, and Jeremy Strong (“Succession”), Jean Smart (“Hacks”), Jennifer Coolidge (“The White Lotus”), and Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany (“WandaVision”) on TV.
The field is more diverse than in years past, when artists of color were often overlooked: The best actor in a drama category features three Black contenders, Will Smith (“King Richard”), Denzel Washington (“The Tragedy of Macbeth”) and Mahershala Ali (“Swan Song”).
Wait, but can I even watch the Golden Globes?
Maybe. The H.F.P.A. has yet to announce whether the ceremony will be livestreamed, so you (and the nominees) may have to refresh Twitter for winner announcements.