The performative downfall of Hollywood award shows


Lindsay Taylor '24

The allure of the red carpet overshadows the Golden Globes’ continued problems with diversity.

Hollywood’s gilded glamor returned to the small screen Tuesday, January 10, for the Golden Globe awards.  Last year, the Golden Globes did not air due to controversy over the diversity of its voting body, according to  However, despite the perfect façade of the well-styled acting and directing elite, the prejudice and problematic nature of the Golden Globes and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) are unchanged.  The Golden Globes are a reminder that Hollywood is still more concerned with appearances than social justice.  For this to change, award ceremonies and institutions, in general, must show profound improvements in true diversity before they reenter prominence.

Mr. Carmichael pokes fun at the Golden Globes’ prior lack of diversity.  Courtesy of Rich Polk for The New York Times.

Mr. Jerrod Carmichael hosted the event, notably joking about the HFPA’s lack of diversity.  He even quipped that the HFPA did not have a single Black member until Mr. George Floyd died, according to The New York Times.

“One minute, you’re making mint tea at home, the next you’re invited to be the Black face of an embattled white organization,” Mr. Carmichael said, according to The New York Times.

Although it was clear that Mr. Carmichael’s remarks were jokes, the silence of the audience was deafening.  The tension in the room was a remembrance of the Golden Globes’ controversial past and its somewhat hasty revival.

The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) announced May 2021 that it would refrain from broadcasting the 2022 Golden Globe award ceremony after a New York Times investigation revealed that none of the 87 members of the HFPA, who vote for the winners of the awards, were Black and that there had not been a single Black member of the organization for two decades, according to  The investigation sparked outrage from organizations such as Time’s Up and influential industry figures such as Ms. Ava DuVernay.

The HFPA immediately announced a series of reforms over an eighteen-month period, including recruiting more Black members to join the organization.  Yet, at the time, major movie distributors such as Netflix, Amazon Studios, Warner Bros., and HBO stood firm in their decisions to cut ties with the Golden Globes, according to  This year, however, it seems Hollywood glossed over the controversy entirely to maintain the prestigious façade of its awards season.

The voting body of the Golden Globes has increased by 103 members over the past year.  The HFPA reached out to many of these new members to diversify their voting group for the award ceremony.  Currently, the voters are 52 percent female, 51.5 percent racially and ethnically diverse, with 19.5 percent of members identifying as Latino, 12 percent as Asian, ten percent as Black, and ten percent as Middle Eastern, according to

These changes, however, are to the voting body but not to the HFPA itself.  Despite changes to the voters, the HFPA remains an archaic organization without real signs of progress.  The organization still only has six Black members in its entire body, according to The New York Times.  Foremost, the HFPA runs the Golden Globes, and this award ceremony fuels its institutional and cultural relevance, so a lack of development within the organization itself is alarming.

Mr. Stephen Spielberg accepts his third Best Director Golden Globe.  Courtesy of Rick Polk for The New York Times

Noticeably, the Best Director – Motion Picture nominees are all male, and only one of them, Mr. Daniel Kwan, identifies as a person of color.  In the history of the Golden Globes, the Best Director category has only included nine female nominees and only three female winners, according to  2020 and 2021 were the only years when the nominees included more than one woman for the award.  This year, no female nominees are on the list of Best Director nominees, marking a clear step backward from those two years of progress in gender diversity.

Although Hollywood seemingly forgave and forgot all of the lack of diversity in the HFPA, these Golden Globes might forever stay as a defect of the movie industry.  From the tension at the award ceremony itself, it is evident that even members of Hollywood’s elite felt uncomfortable attending the Golden Globes.  Real progress means measurable institutional change, not temporarily bringing in people whose duty is to improve the image of an institution for its most public event.  These new diverse voters are fundamentally not members of the HFPA who affect its business the other 364 days of the year.  To truly fulfill its promise towards greater diversity, the HFPA must make lasting, structural changes to its operation to make representation a tenet of its mission, not simply a show it puts on once a year.

Featured Image by Lindsay Taylor ’24