This is how Golden Globes weekend usually works – party after party leading up to the event, and excitement about who will show up and who they’ll be sitting with, or not sitting with, and what the red carpet will look like, and basically all kinds of distractions and hype. And on the day of the Globes, social media becomes its own show with everyone scrolling and swiping to watch celebrities getting ready and then two hours before the broadcast, we all tune into the red carpet shows to watch the fashion spectacle and people stepping on other people’s dresses and that takes over Twitter and then the show starts and we pause at the cutaways and keep an eagle eye on who’s mingling with whom during the commercial breaks and… well…
None of that is happening now because obviously and without any of those distractions, the Globes themselves became a heatscore – specifically the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and how they manage these awards and their own organisation. That was the story about the Globes ahead of the Globes as it felt like almost all of Hollywood decided to tell the HFPA about themselves before their annual starf-ck.
It started on Friday when, once again, social media was all over the HFPA about their lack of Black membership as celebrity after celebrity, many of whom have won Globes themselves, called out the HFPA and TimesUpped their asses. Here’s one example among many.
It got so loud that the HFPA had to release another statement – remember, this is just 48 hours before their show:
That didn’t seem to make a difference as the next day, the Directors Guild of America and GLAAD released statements about the HFPA’s weak response:
"GLAAD stands in solidarity with @TIMESUPNOW, @ColorOfChange, and all who are calling on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to do better, in light of the recent news about not having any Black members for the @goldenglobes in decades." @sarahkateellis https://t.co/7VbWIgOIiN— GLAAD (@glaad) March 1, 2021
Deadline has a comprehensive report about how the HFPA got “scorched” this weekend by the very people they live and love to fellate. That includes Jennifer Aniston too – which must have hurt them the most. She posted this on the morning of the Globes:
Did all of this have an impact on the show itself? Well of course it did – and we’ll get into more of that in subsequent posts but I’m wondering if it also had an impact on, like, the fashion. Last week, I said that this would be the first Golden Globes on Instagram as we were hearing from stylists who were working on creating style moments on social media; since there’s no red carpet option to showcase the fashions, more and more we’re seeing celebrities turn their IG pages into photo walls. But given that all the talk about the Globes was about how the Globes are bullsh-t, it may have been tone-deaf to be focusing on the clothing and the glam and etc etc when your peers are out there having a conversation about inclusion. Which is why, for sure, while there were *some* style moments, it definitely wasn’t as active on the fashion front as we saw at the Emmys.
And that was one of the things the Globes were banking on, they even convened a stylist roundtable last week to push excitement for the fashion that was expected on the big night. And as it turns out, the fashion was barely a conversation. Like I said, there were some highlights, sure, but few people seemed to want to go viral for how they looked. And if you’re the Globes, or rather the HFPA, when the pretty pretty people aren’t putting much energy into the pretty pretty, when you can’t even rely on the sparkle and the dazzle to boost your big night… which was already going to be a question mark given the circumstances… you are in for some sh-t. So while I’m not saying that the fashion is everything, the fashion in this case, or lack thereof, may have been connected to the thing that the HFPA was desperately trying to avoid…and eventually couldn’t.
Which is that there is not a single Black member – and when you consider that Black art has been consistently overlooked at the Globes, including a complete shutout for I May Destroy You, one of the most acclaimed projects of the year, and When They See Us last year, and so many more, they had no choice but to tell on themselves on their big night. And the Black artists who were doing them a favour by showing up weren’t about to take on that labour. They shouldn’t have to. Instead, as Ava DuVernay has said in the past, let white people step up for a change, get uncomfortable, and confront the issue.
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and members of the HFPA leaders were put in that position; then Dan Levy took it upon himself, though it wasn’t his job either, to use up his time during his Schitt’s Creek’s acceptance speech to subtly check the HFPA on their shortcomings:
And Jane Fonda of course dedicated her entire Cecil B DeMille Award speech to talk about the relationship between storytelling and empathy – and whose stories get to be honoured and not. Bless her she did it in under four minutes too:
But all night I was thinking about this year’s Golden Globe Ambassadors, Jackson and Satchel Lee, children of Spike and Tonya Lewis Lee. First of all, their father was passed over for a nomination in favour of Aaron Sorkin (F-CKING SORKIN!) this year and then on top of all that, they barely got any airtime. Typically the GG ambassadors are on that stage every five minutes. And it would have been so great to see more of Jackson and Satchel, especially since their looks were so fire! They wore Gucci, and Jackson’s Asian vibe robe was one of the best of the night.
Jackson and Satchel were confirmed as Globe ambassadors before the nominations were announced. It’s an accident of timing that they happened to have these roles in a year when, well, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is being drilled more than it ever has before for its lack of diversity – and in particular its lack of Black representation. And they weren’t about to become the tokens for the Globes and the HFPA during the controversy either. But the fact that they were invited, in hindsight, shows just how halfhearted the HFPA was about representation after a year of civil unrest and reckoning. They must have thought it would be enough to have Jackson and Satchel there, without actually making systemic change. They must have thought they could sail through it. And in the end, Hollywood wouldn’t let them…
But will Hollywood let itself?
Certainly the Hollywood Foreign Press Association needs an overhaul. But it has also been enabled. The f-cksh-t of the HFPA isn’t new, especially not to Hollywood, as Ellen Pompeo said in her tweet. But the thing is, from the studios to the agents to the networks to the celebrities themselves – everyone in town gave it value by wanting them, by wanting to be invited, not able to resist the lure of all that attention. So there has to be an “or else”. The fact of the matter is… people want these awards. Look at how thrilled most of them were last night to be getting one. This is what the HFPA has been holding onto, and I’m not sure they’re actually at risk of losing it. They may seem like they’ve been scared into action right now, but once this has passed, and people move onto the next thing, what’s really in it for them to do things differently?