Hollywood begins to cancel itself: NBC nixes Golden Globes broadcast

(AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

NBC will not be broadcasting the Golden Globe awards in 2022. The network is using the excuse that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) is not moving quickly enough to diversify its voting group. The HFPA is a non-profit organization comprised of entertainment industry reporters and photographers. They report on the industry for media outside the U.S. There are about 90 members from 55 countries with a combined following of 250 million. HFPA has long been the butt of jokes, often by the hosts of the award ceremonies.

It wasn’t a problem until last year when the prominence of the issue of racial equality conflicted with HFPA’s list of nominees for awards. Actors began to speak out about the dominance of white people up for awards. The Los Angeles Times investigated HFPA’s secretive voting group and found that there was not one black member among them. The L.A. Times also found the voting process and the voting group to be corrupt but mostly, there are no black members of the group who decide the nominations for awards.

You may remember that the Oscars came under fire in 2015 for announcing a slate of 20 acting nominations that consisted of only white actors. The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite was born. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had to scramble to atone after the social media blowback. Entertainment awards ceremonies became a vehicle for social justice reform activists to push their agendas. Change with the Academy of Motion Pictures didn’t happen overnight but by 2016 it promised affirmative action – more people of color, more women, more ethnic representation within the ranks of its membership. The rationale was that the voting body would be diversified. You get the picture. This carried into last year’s HFPA award season. Now some actors are calling for others in the industry to step away from the process.

The HFPA board vowed change amid mounting criticism, and on May 3 laid out a broad reform plan – to admit 20 new members in 2021, with a “specific focus” on recruiting Black members – and a stated goal of increasing the membership by 50% in the next 18 months. The board, which did not give a direct timetable for the group to implement the changes in a letter to members, revealed plans to “review structure of press travel” and “no longer accept promotional items.”

NBC initially expressed support for the moves, but cracks started to emerge and quickly widen. Time’s Up called the reform plans “window dressing platitudes” and a group of 100 key Hollywood public relations firms insisted the changes did not go far enough. Scarlett Johansson called for fellow stars to “step back” from the “sexist” HFPA, celebrities such as Mark Ruffalo concurred.

How could Hollywood elites possibly accept awards from such a racist and sexist group, right? Quotas must be met in order to continue on, apparently. Aren’t we supposed to be past the quota system by now? I guess not. NBC was on board with HFPA until enough public relations firms and groups like Time’s Up began weighing in. The broadcast network has now caved. There will be no show in 2022.

On Friday, powerhouse streamer studio Netflix threatened to boycott the Globes until “meaningful changes” were made. So too followed Amazon Studios, HBO and parent company WarnerMedia, which said they would not actively participate in the Globes Monday – just before NBC called the 2022 show.

The HFPA followed NBC’s announcement with a detailed timetable for change and a statement: “Regardless of the next air date of the Golden Globes, implementing transformational changes as quickly – and as thoughtfully – as possible remains the top priority for our organization.”

Actor Tom Cruise immediately jumped on the bandwagon to show his level of wokeness and returned his three Golden Globe awards in solidarity with the outrage mob, or something, on Monday. NBC released a statement in the midst of the kerfuffle.

Cruise won awards from the HFPA, the voting body behind the Globes, in 1990 for Born on the Fourth of July (Best Actor in a Drama), 1997 for Jerry Maguire (Best Actor in a Drama), and 2000 for Magnolia (Best Supporting Actor).

“We continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform,” the network said in a statement. “However, change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right. As such, NBC will not air the 2022 Golden Globes. Assuming the organization executes on its plan, we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023.”

Change takes time. If you watch entertainment award shows, though you likely do not, you probably noticed the constant recognition of women and inclusion of minorities in the ceremonies. It’s all about pointing out that changes have been made to bring in people who are not white men and women. Award shows no longer appeal to large audiences of viewers because Hollywood is so out of touch with their consumer base. Did anyone really want to see actress Glenn Close dance to ‘Da Butt’ at the Oscars recently as proof of her wokeness? It was debasing and embarrassing to watch. The moment was supposed to be spontaneous, at the end of a black actor quizzing her about her music preferences, but it turns out it was scripted. The video went viral, though, so there’s that.

NBC has been airing the Golden Globes show for decades. The network pays $60M per year to do so. The truth is, the ratings for award shows have collapsed. During the pandemic, viewers have been subjected to Zoom ceremonies which are just boring. Ed wrote about what a disaster this year’s Golden Globes show was in the rating department. The Oscars don’t even appeal to fans anymore. The award shows often turn into a vehicle for lectures on social justice and racial equality instead of the reason people tune in – to see their favorite movie and television stars, or a singer that is popular. The average person doesn’t care who celebrities vote for or their hot takes on current events.

So, good riddance, for now, Golden Globes. Maybe we’ll get lucky and other award shows will cancel themselves. Wait, who am I kidding? Hollywood will never lose interest in patting themselves on the back and collecting kudos from their peers. Awards season isn’t going anywhere.