In yet another move seemingly engineered to boost the visibility of the Critics Choice Awards and position it as an alternative to the Golden Globes, the Critics Choice Association will introduce the World Movie Awards in 2022, which will be guided by a new branch of international members. The awards will celebrate the finest in non-English-language films.
Variety spoke with Joey Berlin, the CEO of the Critics Choice Association, who said this was a good time to reach out to those international journalists and critics who were excluded by the HFPA’s parochial entry requirements.
The CCA began enlisting members for its newly-formed international branch this spring, which Berlin said will serve as the bedrock for the World Movie Awards. Members of the international branch will also be eligible to vote for the other Critics Choice areas — TV, film and documentary.
The Critics Choice Awards will air on Jan. 9, the date traditionally reserved for the Golden Globes, though the HFPA has not given up its hold on the Beverly Hilton Hotel for that date, so the CCA is eyeing the Fairmont Century Plaza. A date for the World Movie Awards has not been set.
“The HFPA has chosen over the years to be so restrictive and function more as a cartel rather than a press organization,” Berlin said. “We knew of dozens of important foreign entertainment reporters and journalists who were really happy to have the opportunity to join the Critics Choice Association.”
Those members include several people who have been turned down for HFPA membership in the past, notably Samantha Prince-Ofole and Kjersti Flaa. Other members of the international branch include Claude Budin-Juteau and Ron Jacobsohn, Hyunjin Ahn, Didier Allouch, Nelson Aspen, Silke Burmeister, Yong Chavez, Michael Conte, Robert Croci, Jean-Philippe Darquenne, Gui de Mulder, Frank Fastner, Rosa Gamazo, Emmanuel Itier, Rachel Kasuch, Elaine Lipworth, Maggie Ma, Silvia Maestrutti, Sarah Gerlach Madsen, Gill Pringle, Jeanne Prisyazhnaya, Franck Ragaine, Romain Raynaldy, Wakako Rolinger, Rodrigo Salem, Yuki Saruwatari, Virag Vida, Wladimir Weltman and Nurgul Zhunussova.
As for former HFPA members who are looking to join the CCA, Berlin said he and his team are looking at ways to distinguish which of those members are redeemable and open up a pathway to the membership.
“Although there may be some bad apples, there are obviously dozens of really good journalists who maybe are guilty of turning a blind eye to some of the things that the organization did, but have credibility as Hollywood Foreign Press people and serve their audiences,” he said.
Berlin said his association has almost 500 members that are continually vetted by a full-time membership director.
“We would be really careful about allowing former HFPA members in, but there are a lot of legitimate journalists out there who are really hurting now with their access to be cut off, and we’d like to be a port in the storm for the good ones,” Berlin said.
Berlin said his team was aware that some important categories weren’t given justice during the three-hour Critics Choice awards show. This is why the organization introduced the Critics Choice Documentary Awards in 2016, which honors the documentary filmmaking and non-fiction television. Three years later, the Real Awards were established to give homage to the reality television sector of the entertainment business.
“For several years now, we’ve been aware of the fact that foreign language films are really important, and we really don’t do them justice by just having this one category that sometimes doesn’t even get presented on the main show,” Berlin said. “We thought that this was another thing where we should give it its own show.”
“We’re going to convene them, and then decide the appropriate categories, the best structure and timing,” he said. “There’s a lot of questions to be answered about the structure of the World Movie Awards, but we do like the idea of associating with other critics groups in foreign territories to help in this process and really make it a global event in a time when the world is flattened and the business truly is global.”
After speaking with companies like Netflix and Amazon, Berlin said he believes the organization is well positioned to serve its overall mission to help people find good content and help people who make the good content find their audiences.
“As you get these multinational streaming companies that are delivering content in so many languages around the world at the same time, we’d like to beef up the appreciation of the non-English language films,” Berlin said.
After the Hollywood Foreign Press Association was boycotted for its questionable financial practices and failure to recruit a single Black member, NBC made the decision to not host the Golden Globes in 2022.