LOS ANGELES—Long dubbed “Hollywood’s Party of the Year,” the Golden Globe Awards could always be counted on to deliver a boozy, star-studded TV show, presided over by a celebrity host who would aim some of the evening’s sharpest jokes at the awards themselves.
But when the Hollywood Foreign Press Association hands out this year’s awards on Sunday, there will be no party atmosphere: No TV show. No stars. No host.
On Tuesday, still struggling to rebound from months of controversy sparked by a February Los Angeles Times investigation, the HFPA revealed its plans for the 79th edition of the awards. The event will be held at the Globes’ normal home, the Beverly Hilton. Otherwise, nothing about it will be remotely normal.
With the Globes pulled off the air by NBC for 2022 and Hollywood continuing to hold the HFPA at arm’s length while it undertakes promised “transformational reforms,” this year’s ceremony will not be broadcast and will have no audience, emcee or red carpet.
The HFPA offered no details about a possible livestream but said more information will be forthcoming.
Even as it hands out its usual film and television awards (there will be no Cecil B. DeMille or Carol Burnett Award honorees for lifetime achievement in film and TV this year), the organization intends to use the occasion to highlight its own philanthropy work, showcasing a number of grantees during the ceremony.
In recent years, the HFPA has stepped up its charitable giving, handing out millions of dollars to organizations supporting the arts, journalism and humanitarian causes. At the same time, as the Times investigation revealed, the HFPA has also funneled an increasing amount of money to its own rank and file, paying roughly $2 million to members in 2020 for serving on numerous committees and performing various tasks.
The HFPA, which was widely condemned earlier this year for its lack of Black members, will also use Sunday’s event to discuss its own efforts when it comes to diversity. In October, the group added 21 new members, including six who are Black, and the following month the group hired a chief diversity officer, Neil Phillips.
During Sunday’s program, Kyle Bowser, senior vice president of the NAACP Hollywood Bureau, will discuss a joint five-year partnership the organization has forged with the HFPA, dubbed the “Reimagine Coalition,” to increase representation in the industry and support artists and journalists of colour.
With the omicron variant putting a further damper on an already gloomy and upended awards season, the select HFPA members and grantees who will be in the Beverly Hilton ballroom will be required to show proof of vaccination and a booster shot, along with a negative COVID test.
While trophies will be sent to this year’s winners, it remains to be seen in what spirit they will be received. In May, as Hollywood collectively shunned the organization it had long courted, Tom Cruise returned his three Globes while other A-listers like Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo blasted the HFPA in harsh terms. In the months since, even as the HFPA has announced a series of reforms, relations have hardly thawed between the organization and Hollywood.
As recently as Monday, a booker working with the HFPA was still reaching out to publicists in the vain hope of coaxing some stars to attend the event.
Nor is it clear whether the audience that usually tunes into the Globes — which before the pandemic regularly hovered at around 18 million viewers — will know or care about this year’s awards. When the HFPA announced its nominations last month, they were generally met with a mix of silence and befuddlement.