Golden Globes 2022: The controversy around the event and why it's taking place behind closed doors

The 2022 Golden Globes is due to take place at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles. Credit: AP

The annual Golden Globe awards has traditionally been a star-studded event recognising the biggest names in the TV and film industries.

But the artistic achievements of last year's winners were overshadowed as the ceremony, already disrupted by Covid, became dogged by questions over a lack of diversity and claims about ethics.

Days before the 2022 ceremony, the Globes' talent bookers are said to have not been able to persuade any major Hollywood names to attend the awards, taking place behind closed doors amid Covid precautions.

So, why was the prestigious awards ceremony tainted in controversy and what will the event look like this year given the pandemic?

What will the 2022 ceremony look like?

This year's ceremony won't be televised, an unusual sight for the highest-profile awards (except from the Oscars).

The 78th edition of the annual awards, which announced its winners in March 2021, was largely virtual, without a red carpet and with hosts on separate coasts of the US.

Similarly, there will be no red carpet and no media credentials for this year's event, which is due to take place on Sunday at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles.

No host has yet been confirmed.

The winners will be announced in real time on the Golden Globes website and social media.

A full list of winners will be put out via press release following the ceremony’s conclusion, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) - the Globes' organisers - added in a statement.

Audience members will be required to wear masks, and follow strict coronavirus guidelines, including proof of vaccination and negative tests.

Only select members of the HFPA and grandees will attend in person.

A HFPA spokesperson described this year's ceremony as a "private event".

What controversies surrounded the 2021 awards ceremony?

The 2021 Golden Globes ceremony was marred by controversy, which still follows it today.

The HFPA were criticised over a lack of diversity after an investigation by the Los Angeles Times revealed there were no black people among the organisation's 87 members who vote for the awards.

It was thought that the lack of representation meant that people from ethnic backgrounds may have been overlooked for awards.

This was vocally expressed by fans of BBC TV drama I May Destroy You, starring and co-directed by Michaela Coel, which did not receive a single nomination, despite its critical acclaim.

The much-mocked comedy-drama Emily in Paris, however, received a nomination for best television series, prompting Deborah Copaken, one of the show's own writers, to question why Coel's series was seemingly snubbed.

The HFPA’s ethics were also called into question over alleged shady practices, including accepting inappropriate “freebies” following an investigation by the Los Angeles Times.

Some of the organisation's members - comprised of journalists - were said to have been flown to France to stay at a five-star hotel to visit the set of Emily In Paris.

It has been suggested over the years that the HFPA's small membership pool means the choices of nominees and winners can be influenced by promotions from production companies.

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How intense was the backlash to the 2021 controversies?

In a major blow to the Golden Globes, the broadcast of the award ceremony for 2022 was dropped by US network NBC, which usually pays millions of dollars to air it each year.

"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," NBC said in a statement.

Tom Cruise returned his three Golden Globes in protest of the allegations in 2021.

Tom Cruise returned his Golden Globe awards amid criticism over its organisers’ lack of diversity. Credit: AP

The Hollywood star handed back awards won for Jerry Maguire, Magnolia and Born on the Fourth of July.

Scarlett Johansson, who was nominated for five Golden Globes, said she had been subjected to “sexist questions” by "certain HFPA members".

The actress called on others in the film industry to boycott the organisation unless it made meaningful internal reforms.

Johansson recalled facing "sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on sexual harassment". Credit: AP

Meanwhile, Dan Levy, star and creator of hit comedy Schitt’s Creek, said in his acceptance speech he hoped this year’s ceremony would be voted for by a more inclusive HFPA.

Adding to the calls for greater diversity, veteran actress Jane Fonda appealed to the wider Hollywood community to broaden its tent in a powerful acceptance speech.

In March 2021, over 100 public relations firms announced they would withdraw cooperation with the Globes.

Major Hollywood players, including Netflix, Amazon and WarnerMedia, also urged for change.

Sky News reported that Netflix still does not believe the HFPA has gone far enough in its reforms.

The streaming giant is said to have not entered any of its content for submission, despite the numerous nominations.

Hollywood stars have been largely silent on the nominations this year.

How has the organisation responded to the criticism - and have they honoured their commitments?

With several studios threatening to pull out of the awards last year, organisers vowed to broaden its membership and recruit black members and hire diversity advisers.

The backlash has led to the association admitting a raft of new members, overhauling its bylaws and implementing changes addressing ethics and inclusion.

The organisation recently said the 2022 event would feature a discussion of a new five-year diversity initiative.

The project aims to ensure “visibility of projects from artists of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds” and to increase “diverse representation in the industry”.

In October, the Golden Globes invited six black members and banned its journalists from accepting freebies in an attempt to salvage its reputation.

The HFPA has also confirmed that members are banned from accepting gifts from “studios, publicists, actors, directors, or others associated with motion pictures and television programs” and must pay for their own trips.

Who is nominated for this year's Golden Globe awards?

Benedict Cumberbatch, Olivia Colman and Sir Kenneth Branagh are among the British stars in the running for the 2022 Golden Globe awards.

Olivia Colman is among some of the stars nominated in this year's acting categories. Credit: AP

Cumberbatch is in the running for the best actor in a drama prize for his role in Jane Campion’s film, The Power Of The Dog.

The Sherlock star is nominated alongside: Mahershala Ali for Swan Song; Will Smith for King Richard; Denzel Washington for The Tragedy of Macbeth and Javier Bardem for Being The Ricardos.

Colman is nominated for her role in Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut, The Lost Daughter.

Elsewhere, Sir Kenneth is nominated in the best director category for his autobiographical film, Belfast, about his childhood in Northern Ireland.

Other stars getting nods include Andrew Garfield for Tick, Tick… Boom and Irish actress Ruth Negga for Passing.

The winners will be announced on January 9.