- NBC will not air the 2022 Golden Globe Awards.
- The Hollywood Foreign Press Association–the voters on the awards–have been criticized for a lack of diversity and what are described as ‘ethical lapses’.
- Hollywood players are publicly piling on in support of the latest cause celebre but some studios are concerned about losing a very effective marketing vehicle.
There are few things that 21st Century Hollywood loves more than an opportunity for virtue signalling and they’ve got a good one at the moment. The Golden Globe Awards has been in existence for 78 years and counting but there’s serious question about their future. They’ve recently been under fire for a lack of diversity in their membership as well as a number of ‘ethical lapses’ that look right out of the International Olympic Committee playbook. The primary fallout is the announcement that NBC won’t broadcast the awards in 2022 in hopes that they can exert enough pressure on organizers to make changes.
The organization that votes on the Golden Globe Awards is the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a group that has always been known to have dubious relevance in the larger journalistic ecosystem. The organization is currently made up of 87 international journalists based on the following criteria:
- Work for a foreign publication but be based in Southern California.
- Publish at least four articles in a foreign publication within the year preceding your application. This opens the door for both freelancers and full-time employees to apply. Applications are accepted annually in February and March.
- Provide proof of payment for these articles and a “letter of appointment as a Hollywood correspondent from a foreign publication of recognized standing, published outside the continental United States.”
- Pay a $500 initiation fee.
The Golden Globes has managed to achieve influence out of proportion to its membership and is now considered the early bellweather for the Academy Awards. A Golden Globe award has become a solid marketing tool and many Hollywood players are privately concerned about the loss of this promotion at a time when the traditional film business is under siege from technological change and suffering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Washington Post gave this anecdotal example of the marketing importance of the Golden Globes:
When “1917,” Sam Mendes’s film about two British soldiers trying to deliver a key wartime message, was first released, it started very small, opening in just 11 theaters on Christmas Day in 2019. The movie sold only $251,000 worth of tickets.
Then, on one seemingly innocuous Friday in January a few weeks later, Universal Pictures put the film in 3,400 theaters. The movie went on to sell $37 million in tickets that weekend.
The reason for the shift was not a mystery to those who follow the business of film-releasing: It was the Golden Globes. The ceremony on NBC the previous Sunday had been watched by more than 18 million people, who basically were treated to a sparkling commercial for “1917”; the film won the top prize of best motion picture drama while Mendes landed the trophy for best director. Universal used the attention to springboard its way to a phenomenon. The modest war drama would ultimately gross $385 million worldwide, the most for any original Hollywood film released that year.
The HFPA is a tough organization to defend–more so for their apparent ‘pay for play’ tendencies than any allegations of racism. They don’t have any black members at the present and clearly the optics of that aren’t tenable in 2021 no matter the reasons. This could be more a reflection of the culture in their native countries but no matter why there are no black members it’s an issue. Their ‘ethical lapses’ are fairly pedestrian as well–they’re accused of using their outsized influence in show biz to hobnob with stars and are quick to accept any type of ‘perk’ from movie studios attempting to curry their favor. It’s doubtful they are alone in this regard but once the ‘feeding frenzy’ began the reality of their situation mattered little.
Their value as a promotional tool is likely why NBC didn’t close the door on reviving their relationship with the HFPA and the Globes in the future:
“We continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform. However, change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right. … Assuming the organization executes on its plan, we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023.”
So what will happen with the Golden Globes in 2022? BetOnline.ag has odds on the network that will host the 2022 Golden Globes:
TV NETWORK TO HOST 2022 GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS
Paramount +200 ABC +300 CBS +400 Fox +700 WarnerMedia +1000 PBS +1600 Newsmax +2500 BBC +3300 OANN +3300 RT +5000 Al Jazeeera +10000 Bloomberg +10000
If the awards ceremony does not take place all wagers will be void.
The disclaimer is important as it is the most likely scenario. The problem is that the Golden Globes’ issues go way beyond NBC–the entire Hollywood ecosystem is piling on due to the nature of the accusations against the HFPA. With heavy hitters such as HBO and Netflix–along with most of the major public relations firms in Hollywood–refusing to do business with the HFPA until they implement satisfactory reforms they don’t have a good recourse other than to clean up their act. They certainly aren’t in a position to shop themselves around to another network.
That leaves one of two possible outcomes: either they take their ‘punishment’, do what they need to do internally to get back in good graces and the show returns to NBC in 2023. Alternately, they don’t in which case the show will likely not air live–at least not via a third party network–for the foreseeable future. The second scenario is not unprecedented but unlikely given the value the Globes has as a promotional vehicle:
Disputes between the HFPA and television networks are not new. CBS severed ties with the Globes after a scandal in 1982 in which a Wall Street mogul was accused of bribing voters to win an award for his wife, Pia Zadora. And NBC previously parted ways with the ceremony in 1968, reacting to an FCC claim that the awards misled the public. The Globes were still handed out for a number of years without a TV broadcast, a turn less likely here.
A more salient prop bet might ask ‘Will the Golden Globes air on a major US TV or streaming network in 2023?’. Given the circumstances and the implications beyond 2022 there’s little or no reason to expect that the awards will be broadcast live in January. More likely–the HFPA skips the year hoping to get their house in order.