Next week's Golden Globes ceremony kicks off the Hollywood awards season, but the group that nominates movies and TV shows and votes on the winners earned a little unwanted drama of its own on Sunday. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has only 87 members, and "while the HFPA's ranks include a number of people of color, there are no Black members," the Los Angeles Times reports, "a fact a representative says the group is aware of and is 'committed to addressing.'"
This year's Golden Globes nominations were widely panned for totally snubbing Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods and the TV show I Will Destroy You and locking other movies with Black-led casts from top prize contentions, notably Judas and the Black Messiah, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, and The United States vs. Billie Holiday. "We do not control the individual votes of our members," an HFPA representative told the Times.
The lack of Black members casting their individual votes isn't the only issue facing the HFPA. Ongoing litigation started by Norwegian journalist Kjersti Flaa accuses the HFPA of being a self-dealing cartel that excludes qualified foreign journalists to protect access for its members while improperly subsiding their income. And her allegations have some merit, the Times reports, noting that the HFPA pays its board members at least $63,000 a year and divided nearly $2 million among other members last year for serving on various committees, potentially in conflict with tax laws for nonprofits.
The HFPA, beset by occasional grift and bribery scandals almost since its formation in 1943, says it has cleaned up its act. This year's nomination of the Netflix series Emily in Paris — popular among viewers but not critics — for best TV comedy or musical series, raised some eyebrows, though, the Times notes, adding:
In 2019, more than 30 HFPA members flew to France to visit the set of the new series Emily in Paris. While there, Paramount Network treated the group to a two-night stay at the five-star Peninsula Paris hotel, where rooms currently start at about $1,400 a night, and a news conference and lunch at the Musée des Arts Forains, a private museum filled with amusement rides dating to 1850 where the show was shooting. [Los Angeles Times]
Still, the Golden Globes are still a win-win for the HFPA and Hollywood, the Times reports, partly because of the small pool of judges. Read more at the Los Angeles Times.