Hosted by British comedian Ricky Gervais, the glamorous red carpet and star-studded ceremony saw headline-making moments across the board.
From a reunion between former golden couple Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, to Olivia Colman admitting she was “boozy” during her Best Actress win, to Pitt’s self-depreciating acceptance speech and of course, Gervais’ infamous monologue which had the celebs squirming.
One of his best lines, to refresh your memory: “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, nearly three hours long. Leonardo DiCaprio attended the premiere and by the end his date was too old for him. Even Prince Andrew was like ‘Come on.’”
It had it all.
But fast forward just two years and the 79th annual Golden Globes this coming Monday will be host-less, red carpet-less and audience-less.
On Friday, things got even more dire when the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) – the body that governs the event – announced it would not even be streamed online and instead would be a completely private affair, with winners to be posted on its official Twitter page.
What the hell happened?
Oft-touted as the most rowdy event on the Hollywood calendar, the Globes has rapidly lost its shine in recent years with HFPA’s credibility called into question over diversity issues within its membership.
A Los Angeles Times investigation in February 2021 found that there were no black journalists among HFPA 80-strong members, leading to criticism that Black-led projects were not getting more recognition.
The HFPA confirmed to the outlet at the time that there were indeed no black members, but claimed it was an issue they’re “committed to addressing”.
Things escalated when nominations were released ahead of the awards show in March 2021, with notable snubs including widely acclaimed films such as Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods and Shaka King’s Judas And The Black Messiah for the top big-screen honours – though Judas star Daniel Kaluuya scored a nod for a “supporting role”.
The same went for the entire cast of HBO’s Lovecraft Country on the small screen: It was nominated for best TV drama, but the entire cast was overlooked for acting nods, while Michaela Coel’s brilliant drama I May Destroy You was also snubbed.
It saw a string of celebrities boycott last year’s ceremony – a scaled down event hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler – including Olivia Wilde, Ellen Pompeo, Alyssa Milano, America Ferrera, Lupita Nyong’o, Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington and Busy Phillips all taking a stand on their social media pages.
“Everybody is understandably upset at the HFPA and their choices,” Poehler said. “A lot of flashy garbage got nominated, but that happens. That’s it’s thing. A number of black actors and black projects got overlooked.”
Fey then said that awards shows were “stupid”, before saying: “The point is, even with stupid things, inclusivity is important.
“And there are no black members of the Hollywood Foreign Press. I realised, HFPA, maybe you guys didn’t get the memo because your workplace is the back booth of a French McDonald’s. You gotta change that. So, here’s to changing it.”
Five time Golden Globe nominee Scarlett Johansson said in a statement: “Unless there is necessary fundamental reform within the organisation, I would believe it is time that we take a step back from the HFPA”.
Winner Mark Ruffalo also took a stance, writing on Twitter: “Honestly, as a recent winner of a Golden Globe, I cannot feel proud or happy about being a recipient of this award.”
“We continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform. However, change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right,” the network said in a statement.
“As such, NBC will not air the 2022 Golden Globes. Assuming the organisation executes on its plan, we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023.”