No one expected the Golden Globe Awards to be a beacon for diversity and inclusion –but no one expected it to try and skirt by its controversy, either. But that’s what happened when leaders of the organization addressed its audience.
A recent Los Angeles Times investigation found the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the voting body behind the Golden Globes, had no Black members, which cast further attention on the fact that prominent Black-led films like “Da 5 Bloods” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” failed to earn nominations in best picture categories this year.
Calls for accountability have poured in from many industry groups, including GLAAD and SAG-AFTRA, while advocacy organization Time’s Up called out the HFPA on Friday with the hashtag #TIMESUPGlobes.
The group released a statement vowing to be more inclusive, promising to further address the issue on the Golden Globes stage Sunday night.
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What came instead was a terse, tight speech of under a minute.
“We recognize we have our own work to do,” HFPA Vice President Helen Hoehne began the speech. “Just like in film and television, Black representation is vital. We must have Black journalists in our organization.”
Former president Meher Tatna followed: “We must also ensure everyone from all underrepresented communities gets a seat at our table and we are going to make that happen.”
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And current president Ali Sar concluded: “That means creating an environment where diverse membership is the norm, not the exception. Thank you and we look forward to a more inclusive future.”
Twitter was quick to sideswipe the speech: “That inclusivity speech from the HFPA was…lacking. There’s a lot of work to do there,” @AshleyLCarter1 wrote. @briebxrries asked: “what’s the most embarrassing part of the hfpa speech, the fact that they had to do it or the fact that it didn’t feel authentic in the slightest?”
Black actors still took home trophies in many major categories. In TV, one of two Black actors nominated won (John Boyega for “Small Axe”). On the movie side: Daniel Kaluuya won best supporting actor for “Judas and the Black Messiah”; the late Chadwick Boseman won best actor in a drama for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”; and Andra Day won best actress in a drama for “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.” Here’s how the rest of the show handled the scandal:
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Amy Poehler, Tina Fey called out HFPA in their monologue
Bicoastal hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler didn’t waste any opportunities to call out the HFPA in their opening monologue.
“The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is made up of around 90 international no Black journalists who attend movie junkets each year in search of a better life,” Fey began.
Poehler mixed some seriousness in with her comedy: “Everybody is understandably upset at the HFPA and their choices. Look, a lot of flashy garbage got nominated but that happens. That’s like their thing. But a number of Black actors and Black-led projects were overlooked.”
Although Fey acknowledged that “award shows are stupid,” the host declared that “even with stupid things, inclusivity is important and there are no Black members of the Hollywood Foreign Press.”
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Jane Fonda, ‘Minari’ director Lee Isaac Chung champion diversity
Other stars took time to indirectly call out the HFPA throughout the night and offer hope for a more inclusive industry going forward.
Presenter Sterling K. Brown purposefully misspoke and said, “It is great to be Black at the Golden Globes – back, back at the Golden Globes!”
His “This Is Us” co-star Susan Kelechi Watson, who Brown was presenting with, said back: “It is great to be Black – back – anywhere.”
Dan Levy, accepting the best television comedy award for “Schitt’s Creek,” said he hopes next year’s ceremony reflects the true breadth and diversity of film and television being made today. “There is so much more to be celebrated,” he said.
And “Minari” – which competed in best foreign language film, much to the chagrin of many – won its category. Writer/director Lee Isaac Chung subtly acknowledged the controversy in his acceptance speech.
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” ‘Minari’ is about a family,” he said. “It’s a family trying to learn how to speak a language of its own. It goes deeper than any American language and any foreign language. It’s a language of the heart.”
Jane Fonda, accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award, talked about this year’s films that opened her eyes, including “Nomadland,” “Minari,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “One Night in Miami.” She also made sure to call out TV series like “Ramy” and “I May Destroy You,” the latter of which the HFPA snubbed despite critical acclaim.
“Stories, they really can change people,” Fonda said. “But there’s a story we’ve been afraid to see and hear about ourselves in this industry. A story about which voices we respect and elevate, and which we tune out.”
She added: “Let’s all of us, including all the groups that decide who gets hired and what gets made and who wins awards, yes, all of us make an effort to expand that tent so that everyone rises and everyone’s story has a chance to be seen and heard.”
Let Chloé Zhao, who became the first Asian woman to win best director for “Nomadland” at the Globes Sunday, be an example of what can happen when that tent expands.
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