Sippin’ on Globes and juice, Snoop Dogg was the surprise presence at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s early morning Golden Globes announcement on Monday. Entering a subdued Beverly Hilton ballroom, Snoop and HFPA president Helen Hoehne announced this year’s nominations a bit like it was business as usual.
But it was clearly not. Many of the TV outlets that normally would have sent camera crews didn’t: No “Entertainment Tonight,” “Access Hollywood” or any of the morning news shows. Among local L.A. stations, only KNBC had a crew in place.
“I’ve covered this event for almost 30 years, and I didn’t quite know what to expect,” said “Inside Edition” chief correspondent Jim Moret. “But this is less than what I expected. Even though the event is streaming, I still expected to see some network coverage, some local news coverage. I suspect that they’re just taking the streaming. But to me, it made a statement that people weren’t here.”
Hoehne blamed the pandemic for the low-key turnout: “Due to COVID restrictions, we always said we would stream and actually a lot of people, I think, tuned in via streaming, which I think is normal,” she told Variety. “This is a special year as well. Unfortunately, we’re still working through COVID and the new variants so we have to all be careful. So I’m actually very surprised that as many people have showed up today in person.”
Nonetheless, the elephant in the room is obvious: With no broadcast on NBC this year and an HFPA reform process underway, this is not a regular Golden Globes year.
Hoehne addressed the situation at the opening of her presentation: “This has been a year of change and reflection for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association,” she said. “For eight months, we’ve worked tirelessly as an organization to be better. We changed our rules and bylaws, added a new code of conduct, and restructured our governance. We also have 21 new members, the largest and most diverse in our 79-year-old history. Not only have they brought in a fresh perspective, but ideas that will help us continue to evolve.”
The org had hoped to tap a major film or TV star to help announce the nominations — but landed Snoop Dogg because, Hoehne said, he is a “friend” of the organization. (Although it’s unclear what that means.)
“It’s an unusual year,” Hoehne said afterward. “So we thought we’d try something different. And we’re just so grateful that he did. He’s a great artist. And you know, we always support artists. So we love to have him. And it was great that he said yes.”
Why go through with the pomp and circumstance, and why not just issue a press release on January 9 instead? “We have a fantastic history, 79 years, and we wanted to do something,” Hoehne said. “We also really do a lot for charity. The Hollywood Foreign Press has donated over $50 million in the past to over 70 organizations. And so this is maybe something that we would like to highlight on January 9, to really show what we have done for the community.”
But what is that show going to look like? Hoehne is mum, other than confirming that there will be no red carpet, and no big stars expected to be in attendance. “After this announcement, we’re going to sit down, and we’re going to work on exactly what the night is going to look like. We don’t know the exact details yet. What is certain is that it’s not going to be the celebrity-driven event like it has been in the past. We realize this year is different. So we’re going to probably also try something different for January 9.”
Normally, awards nominations announcements run like clockwork, given the strict time commitments that morning shows have. As loud jazz music continued playing in the Beverly Hilton ballroom, the Globes announcement, scheduled for 6 a.m., finally got underway at 6:10 a.m.
Attendees to the presentation were required to be both vaccinated and also show proof of a negative PCR COVID test within the past 48 hours. Once arriving at the hotel, everyone in the ballroom was also tested for temperature and oxygen levels. Inside, a breakfast buffet with eggs, sausage, pastries and French toast — a familiar spread to anyone who has ever attended a convention or event, like the Television Critics Association press tour, at the Beverly Hilton.
Besides the trade publications, media outlets in attendance included Ten TV, DW English TV, EFE News, Al Arabiya, Despierta America, KNBC, Hola TV, LGBT Hollywood, Univision, AFF-USA, Wenn, Featureflash, EPA, Asmedia, Shutterstock, Reuters, Getty, Sipa and Zumba. But Moret was still taken aback by who wasn’t there.
Plenty of outlets that didn’t attend the press conference will still cover the nominations, but given that this is also a news story that’s larger than just who is nominated, Moret was surprised that some of his TV colleagues weren’t there to report on the specifics of the Monday morning announcement.
“I think that this is a much bigger story than [the nominations],” he said. “I think that you see an organization in crisis, but attempting to make a change. And to that extent, I was surprised not to see the locals or the entertainment news magazines for the morning shows.”
“I think this is a very difficult year, I think that they’re mindful of the fact they have no network home,” he added. “And that in many regards they’re persona non grata in the Hollywood community … there have been rumors for years, about improprieties and questions about how can 88 people have all of this power. I think that there’s a day of reckoning and that day has come. And I think that this group, and these new implementations, they’re trying to make a difference.”