Ah, the Golden Globes.
It’s the film and television awards show where the winners always thank that group, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, that — does what, exactly? Other than put on the Golden Globes?
The investigation found ethical lapses and a pattern of improper payments to its members. In one anecdote, more than 30 of the organization’s members were treated to a two-night stay at a five-star, $1,400-a-night Paris hotel so they could visit the set of “Emily in Paris,” which earned a pair of nominations this year that surprised critics.
The organization has also been criticized for a lack of diversity: None of the 87 members of the insular group of international journalists are Black.
So what is the deal with the Golden Globes? Why do we keep talking about them? I asked my colleague Kyle Buchanan, The Times’s Hollywood columnist, to explain.
Here’s our conversation:
It seems like it’s been an open secret for a very long time that the H.F.P.A. wields outsize power over the entertainment industry, and the Golden Globes are the mechanism for that. So why do we keep paying attention to the Golden Globes?
In part, it’s because of a very successful makeover that pitched the televised show as Oscar’s looser, funnier cousin. That gave the show an identity and some ratings oomph, and the sense that “anything could happen” inevitably produced a lot of media attention when anything, well, did.
Can you explain a little bit why the Globes have power? How much do Golden Globe wins specifically translate into green lights for projects? Or future opportunities?
The Globes happen every year right around the time that voting begins for the Academy Awards, so the thinking goes that if you’re seen on television accepting a major award, it can only help your campaign for the more prestigious trophy. At the same time, if you’ve never made it to the Oscars’ inner circle, at least the trailers can still tout you as a Golden Globe nominee (or winner), in the hopes of conflating those honors.
Do you think this year — given the uprisings over systemic racism, the pandemic and now the new light on the association’s self-dealing — could be the end of the Golden Globes in any real way? Do you think the H.F.P.A. will be able to adapt its practices?
I don’t think the influence of the Globes will end — it would require a concerted, industrywide boycott, and too few A-listers are willing to do that. (They want the trophies!) But it may lead to changes within the association, a notoriously tight-knit organization with members of questionable provenance. Could they become more transparent and inclusive, in much the same way as the Academy has done? We’ll have to see.
What are you going to be watching most closely during the show itself? (How many wins different streaming services rack up? What the hosts say — if they make jokes about their bosses? Is there any way they can atone for ignoring “I May Destroy You?”)
All of the above, and I’ll also be watching to see if they can pull off those things the ceremony is known for while the pandemic still limits a crush of celebrities mingling in a Beverly Hills ballroom. No one is quite sure what the Oscars will look like at the end of April, and maybe the Globes will serve as a high-profile test case along the way.
Here’s the full investigation. [The Los Angeles Times]
This week, in response to the findings, the H.F.P.A. vowed to “bring in Black members.” [The Los Angeles Times]
Here’s more about the history of the H.F.P.A. and the scrutiny it’s facing now. [The New York Times]
Podcasting is booming. And that could affect Hollywood. [The New York Times]
Find all of The Times’s awards season coverage here, including full lists of nominees and how to stream the best movies. [The New York Times]
Here’s what else to know today
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday released a plan for getting the 10 percent of the state’s vaccines allocated for education workers to those workers. (Single-use codes, distributed to county offices of education.) [Desert Sun]
The governor also recently vowed to make changes to a system for getting vaccines to harder hit communities that involved codes. Wealthy people who weren’t yet eligible were using them to cut the line. [The Los Angeles Times]
Track the vaccine rollout. [The New York Times]
Across the state, Californians speak more than 200 languages. That means not everybody is getting the pandemic information they need. [The Sacramento Bee]
Bay Area transit systems would get a big boost from congressional Democrats’ $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill. But Republicans have portrayed the funds for a planned BART extension as a giveaway. [The San Francisco Chronicle]
Read more about the president’s stimulus plan, which a sizable number of Trump voters support. [The New York Times]
On the edge of the Salton Sea, officials and investors see an opportunity to extract lithium, “white gold,” a critical element for batteries. A state lawmaker wants to create a “Lithium Valley.” But environmental justice advocates fear that communities of color will bear the brunt of any negative effects. [CalMatters]
A federal judge cleared the way this week for California to enforce its net neutrality law. [The New York Times]
Twitter has been pretty much the same for years. In recent months, though, the company has signaled an itch for change. [The New York Times]
Some restaurants in Los Angeles are struggling with a new, digital form of dine and dash. One beloved spot, Spoon by H, said losses from fraud pushed the restaurant to close. [The Los Angeles Times]
But thanks to an outpouring of support, Spoon by H is planning “a new beginning.” [Eater Los Angeles]
The same coyote has bitten five people in the Lafayette and Moraga areas. [The San Francisco Chronicle]
Lady Gaga’s dog walker was shot Wednesday night in Los Angeles, and two of her dogs were stolen. The man who was shot is in critical condition. Gaga has offered a $500,000 reward for information about the whereabouts of the missing French bulldogs. Anyone with information should email KojiandGustav@gmail.com. [The New York Times]
You know that picture of a rolling, verdant hill under a brilliant blue sky that was the default background for Windows XP? It’s one of the most viewed images in history, and the hill is in Sonoma, off Highway 12. [SFGate]
“Sometimes we leave messages in our work for others to find for that purpose,” said the NASA engineer in charge of the Perseverance Mars rover’s landing system. “So we invite you all to give it a shot and show your work.” [The New York Times]
California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com. Were you forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here and read every edition online here.
Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from U.C. Berkeley and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles — but she always wants to see more. Follow along here or on Twitter.
California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.