This Is How Netflix’s "Emily In Paris" Nominations Led To The Golden Globes Backlash
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has been under intense scrutiny since February. Here’s a look back at the timeline.
On Monday, NBC announced it will not be broadcasting the 2022 Golden Globe Awards after growing criticism of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's nominations in February. The controversy kicked off when the group nominated Netflix’s Emily in Paris but not Michaela Coel’s powerful I May Destroy You, angering critics who said a white-centric production received special treatment at the expense of a piece of Black art.
Here’s a look back at the timeline leading up to the Golden Globes being canceled:
Feb. 3: The Golden Globes announced its 2021 nominees, including two for Netflix’s Emily in Paris: Best Television Series — Musical or Comedy, and Lily Collins for Best Actress in a TV Series — Musical or Comedy. Many people were frustrated that shows like HBO’s Insecure, starring Issa Rae, and I May Destroy You received zero nominations.
Deborah Copaken, a writer on Emily in Paris, also wrote an essay for the Guardian about how I May Destroy You deserved to be nominated over the Netflix show. “Now, am I excited that Emily in Paris was nominated? Yes. Of course,” Copaken wrote. “I’ve never been remotely close to seeing a Golden Globe statue up close, let alone being nominated for one. But that excitement is now unfortunately tempered by my rage over Coel’s snub. That I May Destroy You did not get one Golden Globe nod is not only wrong, it’s what is wrong with everything."
Feb. 21: The Los Angeles Times published investigations into the inner workings of the HFPA, shedding light on an alleged culture of corruption and revealing that the organization includes no Black journalists. In addition to highlighting how the Golden Globe nominees and winners are overwhelmingly white, the report added that group meetings were notoriously contentious and that members “hurtled insults at one another during news conferences ... frequently engaging in personal feuds.” Members also allegedly sold their tickets to the awards show for $39,000.
A separate report revealed that in the fiscal year ending in June 2020, HFPA members collected nearly $2 million in payments from the group for being on different committees. It also revealed that in 2019, more than 30 members visited the set of Netflix’s Emily in Paris — the show that started the backlash surrounding the Golden Globes and HFPA’s lack of diversity — and were gifted a two-night stay at the five-star Peninsula Paris hotel by the Paramount Network.
Feb. 28: The 2021 Golden Globe Awards took place remotely because of COVID-19. Hosted by Tina Fey in New York City and Amy Poehler in Los Angeles, the comedians joked about the investigations into the HFPA in their opening monologue, saying, “Everybody is understandably upset at the HFPA and their choices. Look, a lot of flashy garbage got nominated, but that happens, OK? That’s, like, their thing, but a number of Black actors and Black-led projects were overlooked.”
“We all know that award shows are stupid. They’re all a scam invented by Big Red Carpet to sell more carpet,” the hosts continued. “The point is, even with stupid things, inclusivity is important, and there are no Black members of the Hollywood Foreign Press. I realized, HFPA, maybe you guys didn’t get the memo because your workplace is the back booth of a French McDonald’s, but you've gotta change that. So, here’s to changing it.”
Despite its initial role in the controversy surrounding the HFPA, Netflix’s Emily in Paris did not go home with any awards. Daniel Kaluuya, John Boyega, Catherine O’Hara, Mark Ruffalo, and Rosamund Pike walked away with acting awards. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Nomadland, Minari, and Soul were recognized in different film categories. Schitt’s Creek and The Crown won in the TV categories, with The Queen’s Gambit winning Best Miniseries or Television Film.
May 3: The HFPA introduced a plan to increase the number of people of color as well as restrict the gifts and payments that voters can accept. Variety reported that the HFPA board is aiming to admit 20 new members this year and increase membership by 50% over the next 18 months, focusing on admitting journalists from underrepresented groups.
“For the past 60 days we have worked hard to come up with a plan of action — culling ideas from the members as well as outside entities — to present a cohesive, comprehensive proposal,” the HFPA’s board wrote in a letter. “We have engaged in much-needed, deep introspection with the help and guidance of our outside advisors, experts in diversity and inclusion, and our media partners. Together, we have created a roadmap for transformational change in our organization.”
May 6: The vast majority of HFPA members — 75 out of 86 — voted in favor of a proposal to overhaul the organization. “Today’s overwhelming vote to reform the Association reaffirms our commitment to change,” HFPA President Ali Sar said in a statement. “That’s why we’ve already taken some action that will allow us to make swift progress. Because we understand the urgency and issue of transparency, we will be continuously updating the members as we move forward in making our organization more inclusive and diverse. Again, we understand that the hard work starts now. We remain dedicated to becoming a better organization and an example of diversity, transparency and accountability in the industry.”
May 6: Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos wrote a letter to the HFPA, saying the streamer was “stopping any activities with your organization until more meaningful changes are made.”
“We know that you have many well-intentioned members who want real change — and that all of us have more work to do to create an equitable and inclusive industry,” he wrote. “But Netflix and many of the talent and creators we work with cannot ignore the HFPA’s collective failure to address these crucial issues with urgency and rigor.”
May 7: Time’s Up CEO Tina Tchen spoke out against the HFPA’s proposed changes, saying in a statement, “Sadly, the list of ‘reforms’ adopted yesterday, and endorsed by NBCUniversal and Dick Clark Productions, are sorely lacking and hardly transformational. Instead, these measures ensure that the current membership of the HFPA will remain in the majority and that the next Golden Globe Awards will be decided with the same fundamental problems that have existed for years. The HFPA’s list of recommendations largely contains no specifics, no commitments to real accountability or change, and no real timeline to implement these changes.”
May 8: Amazon Studios joined Netflix in boycotting the HFPA. “We have not been working with the HFPA since these issues were first raised, and like the rest of the industry, we are awaiting a sincere and significant resolution before moving forward,” an Amazon Studios spokesperson said a statement.
Actors also started speaking out against the HFPA. Scarlett Johansson told Variety that she has avoided answering questions from members of the HFPA in press conferences because some of their inquiries and remarks “bordered on sexual harassment.”
May 10: WarnerMedia joined Netflix and Amazon Studios in boycotting the HFPA, addressing the organization in a letter signed by executives, including Ann Sarnoff, the CEO and chair of the corporation's studios and networks.
“While we commend the HFPA membership’s approval of the plan to move towards radical reform, we don’t believe the plan goes far enough in addressing the breadth of our concerns, nor does your timeline capture the immediate need by which these issues should be addressed," the letter stated.
NBC also announced it will not air the 2022 Golden Globe Awards.
“We continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform,” the network said in a statement from NBCUniversal. “However, change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right. As such, NBC will not air the 2022 Golden Globes. Assuming the organization executes on its plan, we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023.”
Tom Cruise reportedly returned his three Golden Globe trophies, which he won in 1990 (Born on the Fourth of July), 1997 (Jerry Maguire), and 2000 (Magnolia).