HFPA president Helen Hoehne recently reached out to actor Gabrielle Union to read off the nominations for this year’s Golden Globe Awards on Dec. 13 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel. But Hoehne tells me that Union’s publicists declined the invitation, offering no explanation.
Well, the explanation is obvious.
Following the Los Angeles Times’ exposé in February about the organization’s corrupt practices and lack of Black journalists among its 87 voting members, more than 100 publicity firms signed a letter demanding that the HFPA “swiftly manifest profound and lasting change to eradicate the longstanding exclusionary ethos and pervasive practice of discriminatory behavior, unprofessionalism, ethical impropriety and alleged financial corruption.” The publicists advised their clients — some of the biggest names in Hollywood — not to engage with the HFPA until reforms were made, and most studios and networks followed suit, essentially boycotting the 2022 Globes.
Over the past several months, the HFPA has implemented some major changes to its bylaws and structure to address its controversial practices and lack of transparency and inclusivity. Twenty-one new members were added to the organization to diversify the voting body, and in early October the group struck a five-year partnership with the NAACP to form a “Reimagine Coalition” to fund a series of initiatives aimed at diversifying the industry.
Hoehne says she is frustrated that not everyone is giving the HFPA enough credit for its efforts to reform: “I’m really trying to fix it and do nothing else, day and night.” She was disappointed that Union turned down her offer to read the nominations. “I love her and think she’s an incredible leader and activist,” she says. “She has an amazing story about domestic violence and women’s health, and those are issues I care about.” Hoehne says she doesn’t intend to reach out to any other celebrities and the HFPA is going ahead with plans to announce the nominations via livestream, with press on hand at the Hilton.
Despite publicists’ refusal to grant the HFPA access to talent interviews and the lack of submissions for Globe consideration, Hoehne says the group has watched nearly all the eligible content through links, screeners and in some instances going to theaters to see movies. She says HFPA voters have seen 221 movies and 357 TV shows.
“Having the most diverse class of members for the first time, I am anxious to see how they shape this year’s nominations,” says Hoehne.
The HFPA plans to announce the Globe winners live at the Hilton on Jan. 9 despite that the proceedings won’t be televised and talent will likely be a no-show. “It’s not looking like this will be a celebrity-driven event,” says Hoehne, noting that discussions are underway as to what exactly the format will be. She looks forward to the show returning in 2023 in celebration of the Globes’ 80th anniversary.
Until then, vows Hoehne, “we will focus 100% on our reforms and what we can do better.”