Award season has officially begun, with the Golden Globes releasing their nomination lists for its 2024 ceremony. The Globes, SAG Awards, and the Oscars together make up the largest celebrity events that the whole world watches. Each award show has a different method of shortlisting nominations, but ultimately arrives at the winners by a panel vote. And it is no easy feat to crown one entity out of a list of exemplary talents. Somehow, both the Golden Globes and SAG Awards are considered to be setting the mood for the Oscars. Usually, people who win in the former two end up having at least an Oscar nod. But given their purported worth as hallmarks of – global? – cinema, the ratings of these shows have seen quite the nosedive. It is the only likely outcome when each year, the award season is marred by controversies instead of celebrating cinema.
The Golden Globes has a very, very dark history of conduct, which doesn’t attract much attention by today’s young viewers. In-house politics have been criticized by the industry nearly every time the awards are hosted. The Golden Globes, particularly, has seen quite the number of allegations of influencing committee members. Run by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the Golden Globes are decided by a committee of …journalists, unlike the SAG and Academy Awards. They too decide winners by voting at the end, but are easily swayed by getting VIP treatment from influential people. Pia Zadora’s controversial 1982 win is still alive in people’s memory. She won Best New Star for her less acclaimed performance in Butterfly. The fact that her extremely influential husband had treated the committee to a trip in his Las Vegas casino, also didn’t go unnoticed.
The Los Angeles Times details how HFPA members accept this royal treatment offered by studios and celebrities in campaigns for the award season. These journalists then boast of rubbing shoulders with these celebs, to whom access is scarce for the everyday journalist. In fact, Henry Gris in 1958, announced his resignation from the organization as President, citing that the relations between recipients and HFPA members had become mutually benefitting. Recently, the HFPA came under fire in a lawsuit by Kjersti Flaa, who was denied membership into the organization. Her complaint went as far as calling the organization a “cartel”, where members accepted payments from studios it conferred awards upon. Denzel Washington in the 2016 Ceremony openly said that his producer had screened Glory for HFPA members, and that he was to pose for pictures with them. He won the award that year.
Even a title like Emily in Paris is reported to have influenced voters of the organization. Though the HFPA said that it was “absurd” that the luxurious trip to Paris influenced it in any way, the show picked up 2 nominations that year. The year also snubbed major favorites like Zendaya for Malcolm and Marie, but included the Sia-directed Music.
Then there are the 2018 sexual assault allegations from Brendan Fraser that spread through news like wildfire. Fraser accused former HFPA president Bill Berk of inappropriately touching him, in an incident as far back as 2003. Berk denied it, but Fraser stood by his words. Fraser refused to attend the Globes in 2023, despite his nomination and ultimate winning for Best Actor for The Whale.
The last straw for the HFPA was its accusations of racism, especially in 2020 when it was found that none of its 87 members were African-American. Not only that, but the Golden Globes is notorious for not including important African-American titles in nominations. This lone report from The Los Angeles Times caused the Globes the most backlash it had ever faced. NBC withdrew its long-standing support from the event, causing HFPA to hold the event privately. How the show still manages to get so much attraction even after its extremely shady history, is truly puzzling.
The scandal had broken HFPA’s image beyond repair, leading to its dissolution in June this year. The Globes have simply been passed onto Eldridge Industries, owned by another controversial figure, Todd Boehly. Dick Clark Productions, which produces the show every year, is co-owned by him, which makes Eldridge the parent company behind the Globes. The existing members can choose whether or not to stay with the organization. The only difference is that they would become salaried employees instead of ‘members’ with little remand on their actions. The whole move is like a new label being slapped on to the worn HFPA one. The Globes are nowhere near baptized with a mere structure change. But yes, it does put a rein on the members now, and are likely expected to adhere to new rules.
This year isn’t as different for the Golden Globes, even after an ownership change. Barbie and Oppenheimer landed in the two separate categories for Best Film: Drama and Musical or Comedy. This has already caused some chatter amidst the public, but the directors of either film have been pitted against each other. The Globes are centered only on three titles for African-American representation. Actors Fantasia Barrino, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Danielle Brooks, (The Color Purple) Colman Domingo (Rustin) find nominations in the acting categories. Ayo Edebiri (The Bear) and David Oyelowo (Lawmen: Bass Reeves) have a Best Actress and Best Actor nod in the TV and Limited series category. Trevor Noah is also nominated for Best Performance in Stand-up Comedy or TV. The Globes also weirdly nominated Past Lived for Best Motion Picture, and Best Picture (Non-English language). Also finding nominations are Amy Schumer and Sarah Silverman, given their questionable dissemination of information amidst Israel’s ongoing attacks on Gaza. The two are nominated for Best Performance for Stand-up Comedy or TV.
The 2024 Golden Globes will be broadcast by CBS, and will carry its dark past with it. Controversy is bound to happen, on either the inside or from the celebrities’ end. So, no, there isn’t much to be excited about The Golden Globes. And no, they definitely don’t influence the Oscars, which has a complex voting system of its own. The Globes still managed to create excitement for the award season in general, but it is difficult to take its results seriously because of its reputation.