Golden Globes: Hollywood still ‘on the fence’ about 2023 awards

Before dawn Monday, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. announced its nominations for the first televised Golden Globe Awards in two years, as a 2021 Times investigation revealed a lack of diversity in the organization’s membership and raised concerns about its ethics and financial practices.

Hollywood’s answer? A collective absence message.

For the past several years, studios and publicists have greeted the nominations with a barrage of press releases, hiring interviews with the nominees to share their breathlessly excited reactions. But after two years of scandal and turmoil surrounding the Globes, the response has been decidedly muted as the industry reconsiders its relationship with one of Hollywood’s most coveted, if often derided, awards.

Of nearly 60 nominees in the film and TV acting categories contacted by The Times on Monday, including Adam Driver (“White Noise”), Cate Blanchett (“Tár”) and Viola Davis (“Woman King”), only one available for comment, with a handful of others sharing prepared notes of thanks.

“Thank you so much to the Golden Globes — that’s a huge honor,” Hugh Jackman, a contestant on drama “The Son,” said in a 14-second video posted to Twitter, holding his hand to his chest .

“How wonderful that a tiny, independent film made during the pandemic is recognized in this way,” said Emma Thomson, who was nominated for her role in the film Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, in a statement . “We are all so grateful.”

Most didn’t respond at all.

After being pulled from the airwaves by NBC last year, the Globes – which have long marked the start of Oscar season – will return to the network for their 80th episode on Jan. 10.

With Hollywood’s lingering concerns about the HFPA despite its reform efforts, it’s unclear how many stars will choose to attend the show, which has been moved from its traditional Sunday night time slot to Tuesday to make room for NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.” (The network made a similar move with September’s Emmy Awards, which aired on a Monday.)

“It’s definitely a wait-and-see scenario for my clients right now,” said a personal publicist, who represents several nominees but asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the topic. “The HFPA has put people in many uncomfortable situations over the years and I hear most are in no hurry to forgive and forget.”

The nominations featured the HFPA’s usual mix of expected choices — including best pictures for blockbuster fare like Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water, as well as standout indie hits like Everything Everywhere All at Once and “Tár” – and a handful of snubs and head-scratches, including the omission of “Till” star Danielle Deadwyler, who is considered a strong contender for a leading actor Oscar.

The darkly funny “Banshees of Inisherin” led the pack with eight nominations, including best picture (musical or comedy) and for writer-director Martin McDonagh and stars Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan. On the TV side, ABC sitcom Abbott Elementary led the field with a total of five nominations, including for comedy series.

Faced with a crippling boycott led by a coalition of more than 100 leading advertisers that choked off the HFPA’s lifeblood of star power, the organization has sought to reinvent itself inside and out to regain Hollywood favor.

The 96-strong organization added six black journalists last year – it had none before – and brought in 103 international non-member voters in another attempt to expand and diversify its long-closed ranks. (The group, which includes members from 62 countries, now says it is 52% female and 51.5% racially and ethnically diverse.) The HFPA has also banned gifts, established a hotline for reporting misconduct, and tacitly created a Handful of members who had been excluded accused of violating its standards.

Under interim CEO Todd Boehly, the group has transformed from a not-for-profit organization into a for-profit corporation with a separate philanthropic arm, though the organization is still awaiting government approval for the new structure.

In recent weeks, the HFPA has held a series of meetings with studios and publicists in hopes of thawing ties. Many in the industry would like to see the Globes make a comeback and see the awards as a crucial marketing tool in the road to the Oscars – more so than ever this year, as a number of critically acclaimed honorees such as ‘Tár’ and ‘The Fabelmans’ struggled to connect with a wider audience.

“There was a lot wrong… and it needed to be addressed,” said a source familiar with the meetings between publicists and the HFPA. “This was an opportunity… to understand what these things are and what is changing, reforms and commitments are being made. Some people will be wary until they see this process.”

The source, who requested anonymity to discuss the ongoing talks, added that Monday’s public recognition of the nominations, while muted compared to years past, was generally more positive than last year’s near-silent response .

A tearful Niecy Nash, nominated for her supporting role in Dahmer: Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, pointed to the importance of her nod as a personal and representative milestone. “When I saw that [headline] “Niecy Nash could be the first black woman to win this category, my heart skipped a beat,” Nash told the Times. “Nearly 2023 seems almost insane to still be the first black person to do something.”

Nash, who is best known for her comedic work, added that her nomination for “Dahmer” reinforced her belief that she could make people cry as well as laugh: “I just needed allies in business who would make me like that see how I see myself.”

Also on Monday, the official Twitter accounts of films such as Avatar: The Way of Water, The Fabelmans, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and others promoted Fall on social media, a long-standing feature of digital and print advertising – and winter editions.

Still, many in Hollywood hesitate to be associated with the Globes brand. In addition to Jackman, among the few nominees to speak of their Nominations reported on social media.

One nominee who certainly won’t be attending next year’s Globes is Brendan Fraser, who landed a starring role as a morbidly obese teacher on The Whale. In 2018, Fraser claimed former HFPA President Phil Berk groped him at a luncheon in 2003. Berk, who was ejected from the group last year after calling Black Lives Matter a “racist hate movement,” has denied the allegation.

Fraser, who showed no reaction to his Globes nod on Monday, recently told GQ that he would not be attending the ceremony. “I have more experience with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association than I have respect for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association,” he told the magazine. “My mother didn’t raise a hypocrite. You can call me many things, but not like that.”

In an effort to revitalize Hollywood’s most casual, boisterous, and unpredictable awards show, the HFPA and NBC announced last week that comedian Jerrod Carmichael will be hosting the Globes banquet in January. In particular, Carmichael, who is black, is represented by advertising firm ID PR, whose executive director, Kelly Bush Novak, helped direct the publicists’ boycott. (Carmichael also has NBC experience, having starred on the sitcom The Carmichael Show for three years.)

While other major awards shows like the Oscars and Emmys have relentlessly lost viewers in recent years, the Globes has remained resilient, attracting about 18 million viewers annually prior to the pandemic. However, dampened by COVID-19 and controversy, the television show only attracted about 7 million viewers in 2021 and the prospects for the show’s ratings next year are uncertain.

NBC – previously tasked with airing the Globes through 2026 – has hedged its bets, announcing it is bringing the show back for just a year-long trial. (The ceremony will also be available to stream on NBCUniversal’s Peacock platform.) Should it become difficult to reach a strong enough audience, the Globes’ future on NBC or any other broadcast network could once again be in jeopardy.

After avoiding the HFPA for almost two years, many in Hollywood are ready to give the group, which has weathered numerous scandals over the past eight decades, another chance.

“They have shown and proved that they are serious about reforms,” ​​Novak said. “They’ve grown a lot and as painful as it has been here, they’ve acknowledged that this is just the beginning.”

Times contributor Stacy Perman and columnist Glenn Whipp contributed to this report. Golden Globes: Hollywood still ‘on the fence’ about 2023 awards

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