Golden Globes, hobbled by scandal, set to announce nominations

After scandal and boycott plunged the Hollywood Foreign Press Association into disarray and knocked the Golden Globes broadcast off television for a year, the annual film and television awards are set to announce nominations on Monday (Dec 12).

The Globes will be telecast on Jan 10, with stand-up comedian Jerrod Carmichael hosting.

This year’s show could be make-or-break for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organisation that puts on the Globes. A Los Angeles Times investigation in early 2021 found that the group then had no black members, a revelation compounded by other allegations of ethical improprieties. Many stars and studios said they would boycott the show. Tom Cruise returned his three Globes.

With Hollywood spurning the Globes, NBC last year cancelled the telecast that would have taken place in January. Instead, the Golden Globes were quietly held in a Beverly Hilton ballroom without any stars in attendance. Winners were announced on Twitter.

Now, the Globes are trying to mount a comeback. The biggest question surrounding the nominations on Monday isn’t who will be nominated but how will Hollywood respond. Will the usual press statements and social-media celebrations follow? Or will many take the lead of Brendan Fraser a likely nominee this year for his performance in The Whale  who said he won’t attend the Globes.

In 2018, Fraser said he was groped by Philip Berk, a longtime HFPA member and former president of the organisation, at an event in 2003. The HFPA found that Berk “inappropriately touched” Fraser, but that it “was intended to be taken as a joke and not as a sexual advance”.

“It’s because of the history that I have with them,” Fraser told GQ last month, explaining why he wouldn’t attend. “And my mother didn’t raise a hypocrite. You can call me a lot of things, but not that.”

Over the last year and a half, the HFPA has revamped its membership and enacted reforms designed to curtail unethical behaviour. The group added new members, including six black voting members.

In bringing the Globes back the air, NBC praised the HFPA for its ongoing reforms but also reworked its contract. The network will broadcast the 2023 show in a one-year deal. It also shifted the telecast to a Tuesday, instead of the Globes’ previous Sunday night perch.

Known for its boozy, celebrity-stuffed broadcast, the Globes have long ranked as one of the most-watched non-sporting live programmes of the year. But ratings, as they have for most award shows, have slid for the Globes in recent years. The 2021 show, held amid the pandemic, was watched by 6.9 million, down from 18 million the year prior.

The HFPA also sold the Globes earlier this year to Todd Boehly’s Eldridge Industries, which has turned it from a nonprofit to a for-profit venture. The firm also owns Dick Clark Productions, which produces the Globes, and the award show’s longtime home, the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles.

For Hollywood studios, the Globes can be a useful marketing tool that helps drive audiences to awards contenders ahead of the Academy Awards, which this year will be held Mar 12. In the past year, no other awards body has emerged as a Globes replacement. And with modest ticket sales thus far for many of the fall’s most acclaimed dramas, some in the industry will surely hope to see the Globes restored to their former luster.

This year, some of the favourites include the metaverse adventure Everything Everywhere All At Once, Steven Spielberg’s autobiographical The Fabelmans and Martin McDonagh’s feuding friends drama The Banshees Of Inisherin. The year’s biggest box-office hit, Top Gun: Maverick, too, could be in the mix. Could Cruise be a nominee again?

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