|Pia Zadora in 1982|
It took a major newspaper investigation to reveal a bigger picture. A February 2021 Los Angeles Times report exposed a culture of ethical failings among HFPA members and a startling lack of diversity among its 87 voters. This time, the outrage caught hold and the organisation was forced to take action, holding its ceremony off the air in January 2022 while completely restructuring the company and inviting more diverse members, now including foreign journalists who are based in other North American cities. Then last summer, they invited journalists who live abroad to join as "international voters" for the 80th Golden Globes in January 2023.
|The LA Times report|
I was certainly surprised by the ethical rules, as I was asked to sign a strict code of conduct and declare any potential conflicts of interest (this had to be done at every step in the process, including on the ballots themselves). Then the zoom meeting welcoming the international intake was properly refreshing, as I saw more than 100 people from 62 countries participating in the discussion. Clearly this was going to have a major impact on the nominations. That said, we were divided into two groups (film and TV voters), so the 100 full members still have a majority.
|80th Golden Globes: film acting winners Michelle Yeoh, |
Colin Farrell, Cate Blanchett (did not attend),
Austin Butler, Angela Bassett and Ke Huy Quan
From this, as well as a series of zoom meetings, it was nice to see what a friendly group of people they are. They come from all over the world, so as a lifelong expat I immediately have common ground there. And being in a room with them, I could see that there's a family camaraderie between them, which I also recognise as someone who has lived most of my life as a foreigner. As far as I know, I am the only international voter that the members met at a screening.
|80th Golden Globes: host Jerrod Carmichael, |
Carol Burnett Award winner Ryan Murphy, TV actresses Jennifer Coolidge
and Quinta Brunson, and Cecil B DeMille Award winner Eddie Murphy
In the end, while I would have liked for the international voters to spark a more revolutionary set of nominees and winners, I am glad that I participated in this process. I am genuinely rooting for the HFPA to continue cleaning up its act, perhaps by more effectively highlighting its considerable charity work and further diversifying its voting base, perhaps with the inclusion of even more international voters. I don't know if I'll be invited to participate next year, but I'll always prefer to have a hand in change rather than complain that it's not happening quickly enough.