Pandemic improvising was only part of the damage control for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which puts on the Golden Globes, the AP reports. After the Los Angeles Times revealed that there are no Black members in the 87-person voting body of the HFPA, the press association—which Ricky Gervais last year called “very, very racist” in his opening monologue—came under mounting pressure to overhaul itself and better reflect the industry it holds sway in. This year, none of the most acclaimed Black-led films—Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, One Night in Miami, Judas and the Black Messiah, Da 5 Bloods—were nominated for the Globes’ best picture award. With the HFPA potentially fighting for its Hollywood life, Sunday's Globes were part apology tour. Hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler started in quickly on the issue.
“Look, a lot of flashy garbage got nominated but that happens,” said Poehler. “That’s like their thing. But a number of Black actors and Black-led projects were overlooked.” Within the first half-hour of the NBC telecast, members of the press association also appeared on stage to pledge change. "We recognize we have our own work to do," said vice president Helen Hoehne. “We must have Black journalists in our organization.” Even if acceptance speeches sometimes lacked drama without Hollywood gathered in one place, representation was a common refrain. Pointedly referring to the diversity of the HFPA, presenter and previous winner Sterling K. Brown began, “Thank you. It is great to be Black at the Golden Globes,” he said. “Back.” Jane Fonda, the Cecil B. DeMille Award honoree, spoke passionately about expanding the big tent of entertainment for all. “Art has always been not just in step in history but has lead the way,” said Fonda. “So let’s be leaders.” (More on the ceremony here, or see the complete list of winners here.)