The Golden Globes Don't Matter, And You Really Shouldn't Care About Them In The Slightest

If you're a big movie or TV fan, there are few greater joys in this world than kicking back with a hot pizza, a fizzy drink, and a big awards show to yell about. The Academy Awards are my Super Bowl. The Emmys are my World Series. For many years, the Golden Globes were sort of like the All-Star Game, where the outcome didn't really matter but a huge showing of superstars and a lot of fun, silly fan service were almost guaranteed. The Globes, hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), used to kick off the movie and TV awards show season with a boozy, occasionally unhinged bang, feeling more like a party than any other awards show. The problem, unfortunately, is that the party was a place where awards could be bought with bribes and diversity was in short supply: In 2021, the Los Angeles Times published an exposé on the HFPA which uncovered executive decisions that excluded people of color and kept membership uncomfortably exclusive, while the organization was also allegedly taking bribes from studios for nominations (or even awards).

After NBC refused to air the 2022 Golden Globes ceremony due to the controversies plaguing the HFPA, the Golden Globes are trying to make a comeback. The 2023 Golden Globes are tonight, and while in any other time I would be dying to ogle some gorgeous gowns and giggle at the more bonkers acceptance speeches, we really shouldn't pay them any attention. While they claim to have made some changes (at least enough for NBC to take them back), the Globes still have a lot to reckon with. Use that time to catch up on last year's movies before the Oscars. Trust me, we'll all be better for it. 

A popularity contest with no stakes

The HFPA and the Golden Globes have come under fire for their bad business practices, and it's important to note that even if the Globes had ever once carried weight, they're now essentially meaningless. The awards outcomes of things like the Oscars and the Emmys can have real influence on people's careers, while the Globes are truly just a popularity contest. Following the backlash after the release of the LA Times exposé, the HFPA announced a whole mess of changes that they were going to make to the Globes, including turning the HFPA's philanthropic arm into a non-profit and creating a separate corporate entity for the awards show. The company that now owns and runs the Golden Globes, Eldridge Industries, is a massive multimedia conglomerate with stakes in everything from The Hollywood Reporter to A24, which seems like a pretty massive conflict of interest. 

If the Golden Globes really want to separate themselves from potential scandal, there shouldn't be any connection to any other production company or studio. It's a simple matter of ethics, and no matter how many new voters the Globes add, the awards won't matter if there are worries about the integrity of the organization itself. They will have to be very careful to not look like they're playing favorites, and that's not a good look considering they've just gotten done rehabbing their image after being accused of accepting bribes.

A history of problems with diversity

While other awards shows have come under criticism for their lack of inclusivity in their nominees (remember #OscarsSoWhite?), the majority of them have been making attempts to fix their diversity problems. In response to the revelation that there wasn't a single Black person among their membership (and there hadn't been in over 20 years), the Globes promised to ensure that at least 13% of its members were Black. This year's awards ceremony will also be hosted by a Black man, comedian Jerrod Carmichael, who recently won an Emmy for his comedy special "Jerrod Carmichael: Rothaniel," now streaming on HBO Max. In September 2022, the team behind the Golden Globes announced that they had added 103 new voters for the Globes, though none are being added as members of the HFPA. The HFPA itself added 21 members between the damning LA Times article and now in an attempt to bolster appearances that they are now a more diverse crowd, but is that really enough?

Kelly Bush Novak, CEO and founder of ID, a top marketing and publicity firm in the entertainment realm, was one of the 100-plus publicists who petitioned for change in the HFPA, and she told NPR that she thinks the organization is making steps in the right direction: 

"They still have a long way to go there, but they have made significant strides. I'm optimistic about the road ahead, that the issues we faced historically are going to remain squarely in the rearview mirror."

Optimism is lovely, but the speed with which everyone seems to have forgotten the entirety of the allegations levied against the HFPA is a little disconcerting. One person who hasn't forgotten or forgiven is Brendan Fraser, and for very good reason. 

Brendan Fraser deserves better

Everyone loves Brendan Fraser, and he's been having a lovely renaissance thanks to shows like "Doom Patrol" and his moving performance in Darren Aronofsky's "The Whale." He was nominated for a Golden Globe for the latter, but previously told GQ that he would boycott the ceremony regardless of a possible nomination due to his history with the organization. Fraser referred to a 2003 incident in which he said former HFPA president Phillip Berk groped him during a luncheon, causing him significant trauma and contributing to his withdrawal from the spotlight for over a decade. Even after Fraser publicly condemned Berk and a formal investigation concluded that the event happened (though Berk alleged it was a joke), Berk was not suspended from the organization or reprimanded in any way. He was eventually ousted in 2021 for making racist remarks about the Black Lives Matter movement, but given that many of the same members that continued to support him after Fraser's allegations are still in the HFPA, a change in leadership doesn't mean all that much. 

Fraser's treatment isn't the only case of alleged harassment by members of the HFPA, as their private press conferences also came under fire. Novak told NPR:

"It was really problematic. We had clients experience homophobia during press conferences, blatantly racist remarks during press conferences, certainly a lot of sexist remarks. It's important to acknowledge the past and never forget the damage that was done because it was significant. But I really do encourage everyone to concentrate on the promise that they've made to continue to reform."

Promises for reform don't matter without genuine reflection and apologies, neither of which seem to have happened. Instead, the "new and improved" Golden Globes feels like it's simply sweeping the past under the rug. 

Watch something else instead

No matter how you slice it, there's just no good reason to watch the Golden Globes tonight. It's extremely unlikely that the evening's events will be a two-hour apology tour, followed by information on all of the new initiatives they are funding to make the industry a safer, more inclusive place, so why not watch anything else instead? I love a guilty pleasure or a hate-watch as much as the next person, but let's not. Part of the beauty of the streaming era is that we have limitless options at our fingertips. Watch "Rothaniel" if you want to see Carmichael shine, or watch "Doom Patrol" if you feel like enjoying some contemporary Fraser goodness. Both are streaming on HBO Max! If you're truly at a loss on what to watch, may I recommend "Old Enough!," a Japanese TV series that follows toddlers as they go on errands for their families? It's the most heartwarming, adorable thing I've possibly ever seen, and these kids have better fashion sense than most of the red carpet goers tonight anyway. 

Instead of tuning into the Globes tonight, you could watch the world's cutest kids try to figure out how to shop for groceries or safely cross the street. Don't watch the Globes for ethical reasons, or for Fraser, or simply because there are a million better ways you could spend your time. Just don't watch.