Why the Golden Globes happened without a TV show or stars

In Hollywood, the maxim goes, “The display have to go on.” Even, it looks, if there is no exhibit.

So it was that, on Sunday night, the embattled Hollywood International Press Assn. — bumped off the air by NBC next months of blistering controversy sparked by a February 2021 Moments investigation — handed out its 79th Golden World Awards at a glitz-cost-free non-public occasion in the ballroom of the Beverly Hilton hotel, with no celebs, no host and no totally free-flowing champagne.

As in any yr, the night time experienced its huge winners. Jane Campion’s brooding western “Power of the Dog” gained the best photograph prize in the drama category, and Steven Spielberg’s sweeping new take on “West Facet Story” claimed the prime prize in the musical or comedy category. The HBO series “Succession” and “Hacks” received the top rated series prizes, while actors which includes Will Smith, Nicole Kidman, Michael Keaton and Kate Winslet claimed trophies way too.

But none of the winners chose to go to the celebration. No stars were being there to supply snappy comic banter or give tearful acceptances speeches. And no a person was seeing.

With the stars long gone, the highlight was turned on the HFPA’s current woes and its ongoing efforts to provide on its promised reforms.

“Last year the Hollywood International Press Assn. was challenged to improve — and we did,” HFPA President Helen Hoehne stated in her remarks. “We are on a journey of adjust and we’re not heading to rest. We are likely to be outspoken about what we’re understanding and problem many others to be a part of us.”

Around 70 of the HFPA’s 105 users collected for the black-tie ceremony and reception, in accordance to a person attendee, alongside with a handful of recent recipients of charitable grants from the organization and other good friends and supporters. With the pandemic wreaking havoc for a next yr straight on the usual awards traditions, demanding COVID protocols have been followed.

Where the Hilton would in previous several years have been the epicenter of Hollywood glamour, electric power and revenue, there was just a peaceful Sunday evening, with only Hilton staff members and the occasional oblivious hotel visitor passing outside the ballroom. A modest reception was held on the pool deck afterwards. But there were being no glamorous and large-priced studio-hosted afterparties, no limousines, no breathless crimson carpet interviews, no snapping flashbulbs.

With the celebration neither televised nor are living-streamed — and with the media barred from masking it in person — the HFPA unveiled this year’s winners to the public on its internet web-site and through social media, a format that sorely lacked the snap and crackle of a live Tv present featuring Hollywood’s funniest and most charismatic expertise.

“If laughter is the greatest medicine, @WestSideMovie is the cure for what ails you,” read the tweet asserting the climactic win for “West Aspect Tale,” a tragic enjoy tale involving racial tensions that is not precisely intended to be hilarious. (The tweet was afterwards revised to study “If music is the best medication…”)

A range of tweets unsuccessful to cite the function the winner was remaining honored for: “Save the drama for Will Smith, who will take property the #GoldenGlobe for Ideal Actor — Motion Photograph — Drama,” read through one particular about the “King Richard” star.

For the HFPA, the muted party — the very existence of which a lot of standard Globes viewers were most likely unaware — represented a spectacular stumble from the improbable perch of influence the smaller cadre of foreign enjoyment journalists experienced savored for decades. Battling for its survival, the organization was determined to hand out its awards as it had for almost 80 many years. But the operate-up to the event was overshadowed by questions of no matter if they experienced any genuine that means or relevance.

“If a tree wins a Golden Globe in the forest but it is not televised, does it still make an embarrassing speech?” Conan O’Brien joked on Twitter on Friday.

Though routinely dogged by thoughts of trustworthiness and legitimacy, the Globes have extended been touted as “Hollywood’s Party of the 12 months,” drawing a cheerfully lubricated crowd of A-listers and, in pre-pandemic periods, an audience of some 18 million viewers. But in the wake of The Situations investigation, which lifted queries about the HFPA’s ethics and governance and highlighted the point that the then-87 member team had no Black customers, the association’s customers have been all but exiled by an industry that had extended courted their favor.

For just about a yr, the HFPA has carried out a sequence of reforms, overhauling its bylaws, selecting a chief variety officer and bringing in 21 new associates, together with six who are Black. At its function on Sunday, the HFPA sought to highlight its progress when it will come to problems of inclusion, with Kyle Bowser, senior vice president of the NAACP Hollywood Bureau, speaking about a joint 5-12 months partnership the group has forged with the HFPA, dubbed the “Reimagine Coalition,” to boost illustration in the field and support artists and journalists of coloration.

Bowser concluded his speech by nodding to “the attention that has deservedly been paid to the HFPA’s shortcomings” when affirming that the “NAACP supports their effort and hard work to reform and applauds HFPA’s present to share its transitional encounter as a template for the complete field to emulate.”

Continue to, the firm has struggled to get back again in the industry’s fantastic graces. Accustomed to being lavished with special focus by superstars and studios, the HFPA has confronted a boycott led by the industry’s foremost talent publicists, slicing it off from its lifeblood of star energy. When the HFPA announced this year’s nominations in December, the party — emceed by rapper and pitchman Snoop Dogg, who mangled much more than a handful of of the nominees’ names — was greeted with a mix of silence and befuddlement.

Beset by exterior criticisms and inner frictions, the HFPA used Sunday’s celebration to set a highlight on its philanthropy operate, showcasing 4 of its newest grantees: Get Lit, St. Elmo Village, Streetlights and Los Fotos. As the occasion went on, the Golden Globes Twitter account shared video clips showcasing the beneficiaries’ operate, and actress Jamie Lee Curtis — a 7-time Globes nominee and two-time winner — appeared in a video to “honor and stand with” the organization’s philanthropic endeavours. “I’m very pleased to be involved with them in this venture,” explained Curtis, who has two times hosted HFPA’s grantee banquets.

Close to the show’s summary, Arnold Schwarzenegger also appeared in a quick video clip, touting the generosity and openness of the HFPA, noting that in 1977 the group awarded him, an Austrian bodybuilder with a previous name some in Hollywood encouraged him to change, the most effective newcomer World in 1977 for the film “Stay Hungry.” “These are the intercontinental journalists with the planet watch,” he reported of the team.

In recent a long time, the non-financial gain group has stepped up its charitable offering, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars on a yearly basis to businesses supporting the arts, journalism and humanitarian leads to. At the very same time, The Situations investigation revealed, the organization has funneled an growing amount every single yr — achieving all over $2 million in 2020 — to its individual rank and file for serving on several committees and executing a variety of duties.

”No other awards neighborhood demonstrates as substantially like and generosity to other folks really like the HFPA,” the Globes posted on its official live blog site mid-way as a result of the celebration.

But for all of its endeavours to burnish its reputation, the HFPA’s only serious currency in Hollywood rests in the perceived worth of its awards — and there, its inventory has plummeted. Whilst trophies will be sent to this year’s winners, it remains to be observed no matter if any stars will accept them — or no matter if any of the studios that pump hundreds of thousands each year into wooing Globes voters will tout the wins in their marketing campaigns in the direct-up to the Oscars in March.

In truth, given the HFPA’s current difficulties and precarious placement, lots of in Hollywood experience that the group would have been better off just sitting this year out alternatively than making an attempt to plow forward awkwardly with a celeb-absolutely free ceremony.

“I consider they definitely shot by themselves in the foot,” mentioned 1 supply who has dealt with the organization for several years but declined to be named out of concern of retaliation. “They essential to do a James Franco: When you [screw] up, go away and enable people today pass up you, or hope they do. Rather, they’ve been in the information frequently for things they shouldn’t be.”

Times team writers Christi Carras and Stacy Perman contributed to this report.