Without a TV show, starry red carpet, host, press or even a livestream, the Golden Globe Awards were in chaos last year after scandal broke over lack of diversity, accusations of sexism, and ethical and financial lapses among members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Once known as Hollywood’s biggest, booziest party that regularly drew 18 million television viewers, the doling out of statues was reduced to a 90-minute private event with no celebrities present at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
Winners were announced on Twitter, often without specifying what project a person had actually won for.
What a difference a year can make.
After dumping the telecast in the aftermath of a damaging expose by the Los Angeles Times, NBC will put the battered 80-year-old Globes back on the air Tuesday under a one-year deal, as opposed to multi-year contracts of the past worth tens of millions of dollars.
A wave of celebrities plan to attend, along with star presenters and funnyman host Jerrod Carmichael after the embattled controllers of the Globes dug deep into the work of implementing top-down reforms.
There’s now a strict code of conduct, refreshed bylaws, a ban on gifts and new rules on accepting travel and other perks from the industry. Contentious news conferences were dumped, and the pool of awards voters was expanded beyond the 87 Los Angeles-based foreign journalists who once ruled the organization.
But are the powerful publicists, studios and other stakeholders who boycotted in protest satisfied with the changes? And are those changes the beginning — or closer to the end?
“It’s, by far, not over,” said German journalist Helen Hoehne, who took over as president of the HFPA a year and a half ago. “We always said when we started this journey that it would be ongoing and that it would take some time.”
Kelly Bush Novak, CEO and founder of the A-list public relations firm ID, said more must be done, but she supports steps taken so far.
“We came together … to ensure the future of the Globes, in step with our culture and our shared values as an industry, and we see commendable and seismic progress,” she said. “I’m optimistic that the work will continue.”