The Golden Globes’ Path to Legitimacy Depends on the HFPA Thinking Small

On Monday morning, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced its nominees for the 2022 Golden Globe Awards. It’s the first nominations since scandals first laid the organization low in February 2021. Issues of racism, classism, sexism, and more plagued the HFPA, ultimately leading to NBC announcing that it will not host or air the 2022 ceremony.

In recent months, the HFPA has sworn they’ve straightened out and are flying right, revising bylaws, addressing organizational issues related to ethics and code of conduct, diversity, equity and inclusion, governance, and membership, and adding 21 new members, which the organization describes as its “most diverse class to date.”

As to what has all this means in regards to the quality of the Golden Globe TV Awards — not much.

There are certain moral victories within the list of nominees: The HFPA finally got around to nominating Michaela Jaé Rodriguez for her phenomenal work on “Pose” and had plenty of love to bestow on several international series, including Netflix’s “Squid Game” and “Lupin.”

There are also disappointing developments. It’s dynamite that FX’s “Reservation Dogs” cracked into a competitive comedy series category, but the HFPA couldn’t find room for star Devery Jacobs in comedy actress. Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building” had a great morning, scoring mentions for both Steve Martin and Martin Short in comedy actor and the show in general for comedy series, but overlooked the show’s third lead, Selena Gomez. In limited series, Amazon Prime Video’s “The Underground Railroad” nabbed a nomination, but the transcendent Thuso Mbedu couldn’t crack limited-series actress.

Perhaps most egregious in terms of quality control, Apple TV+’s “The Morning Show” scored even more nominations for its second season than it did for its first. Billy Crudup and Mark Duplass both scored nominations in drama supporting actor — a truly ridiculous feat, considering HBO’s “Succession” only managed one.


The 2021 Golden Globes stage in Beverly Hills, CA

The Golden Globe Awards

Critics have their opinions. (I certainly do.) But no matter how many people the HFPA adds to its ranks, the very concept of the Golden Globes as a marquee event is flawed. One hundred-some entertainment journalists cannot, in reality, make well-reasoned and comprehensive decisions about all of film and television — not because they aren’t qualified, but because they don’t have time to undertake such an endeavor.

To blow that out into a televised affair, a banner night in Hollywood, is a scenario rife with opportunity for corruption — precisely what befell the organization. When the Golden Globes receive inflated importance on the awards scene, it creates a feedback loop.

Entertainment journalists, like those in the HFPA, desire access to Hollywood stars because it creates opportunities to build rapport and potentially enable future interactions and interviews. (That is the non-cynical explanation as to why people desire access to Hollywood stars.) A surefire way to guarantee access is to nominate them for Golden Globes, but the only way to have those stars attend a Golden Globes awards ceremony is to televise it. The only way to televise the Golden Globes ceremony is to hype it as a star-studded event with outsized influence on larger awards races.

Today’s quiet press conference was appropriate to the realty of the Golden Globes. The only way for the HFPA and Golden Globes to deepen and legitimize themselves is to keep their ceremonies small and step away from the accusations of obsequiousness toward star power that has forever plagued them. If they cannot, if they just see 2022 as a time out after which business will return to usual, there’s no chance for systemic change. And if there’s no systemic change, what are we even doing?

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