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How differently Golden Globes and Oscars respond to change

How differently Golden Globes and Oscars respond to change

Posted May. 14, 2021 07:25,   

Updated May. 14, 2021 07:25


Top two U.S. film awards Golden Globes and Oscars have never been free of controversy over racism and gender inequalities because they have been exclusive to white men in membership and their ceremonies. However, the HFPA for the Golden Globes and the AMPAS for the Oscars showed a significant difference in how they respond to criticism about their identity. The former defied change but the AMPAS opened its heart to reform. Consequently, the Golden Globes has recently been met with fierce backlash across the Hollywood. U.S. broadcasting company NBC declared not to air next year's Golden Globes while Tom Cruise and other Hollywood stars boycotted the ceremony.  

By contrast, the Academy Awards has been commended for the very first step taken to change. The Oscars has been able to go ahead on the path to change because it came under fire earlier than the Golden Globes. Back in 2015, it was bombarded with heavy criticism across the media as African-American female lawyer April Reign posted #OscarsSoWhite after finding that all Oscar nominees then were all white people. As the Oscars in the following year went all white again, #OscarsSoWhite went viral across social media. Will Smith boycotted the Oscars. Film critic Ahn Soong-beom commented that the film industry expressed criticism of the Academy Awards earlier than the Golden Globes as the former has a higher level of dignity in terms of membership and history. Academy membership consists of more than 10,000 directors, actors, producers, etc. across the globe.  

With the Oscars at the center of harsh criticism, the Golden Globes was a few steps away. Not until the L.A. Times reported in February that the HFPA has no black person out of a total of 87 members, did U.S. directors, producers and actors call on it to change by sharing #TimesUpGlobes with the ceremony just around the corner.

The two most prestigious film awards showed different response. The AMPAS in 2016 announced that it will double the number of women and non-white people in membership by 2020. The share of women rose from 24 percent or 1,446 in 2016 to 32 percent or 3,179 last year while non-white people increased from 9 percent or 554 to 16 percent 1,787 during the same period. Out of 819 new members to the AMPAS last year from 68 countries, 45 percent are women and 36 percent goes to ethnic minorities. The Oscars attempted change by choosing “Moonlight” with the theme of black rights in 2017 and foreign-language film “Parasite” last year.

The Hollywood comments on the Academy Awards, saying that it strives to change the lopsided structure of the film industry. In contrast, the Golden Globes has got the cold shoulder in the Hollywood for its belatedness in accepting change and reform. All eyes in the global film industry are on the Golden Globes to see whether it reinvents itself for the better or it fades into the mists of history.

Jae-Hee Kim jetti@donga.com