“Hollywoke” screamed the front page of the New York Post in all-capitals. Beneath the headline was this: “Stars and NBC boycott the Golden Globes over sexism, diversity.” This text was placed next to photos of Scarlett Johansson and Tom Cruise that managed to make both the actors look unattractive and part of the lunatic fringe.
Nice work by the Post, which tends to be to the right of the most paranoid, googly-eyed kooks on Fox News. The assertion, should you not get it, is that it’s “woke” for NBC to decide it will not air The Golden Globe Awards in 2022 after continued criticism of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, or HFPA. That’s the organization behind the ceremony, under scrutiny for its lack of racial diversity and multiple ethical concerns.
Woke, seriously? Like NBC had any choice, after Netflix, Amazon and WarnerMedia said they would boycott the Globes and the HFPA until they were assured that “real change” is coming to the organization. That’s not woke; that’s embracing a business reality.
Here’s the thing – this creates an opportunity in the awards racket, and it’s not a crushing blow. Inside the TV Critic’s arena an idea is being thrown around. It’s this: Perhaps NBC should replace the Globes in 2022 with an awards show anchored in some integrity. Specifically, awards handed out by the guilds that represent those who work in film and TV. Let’s say, the Writers Guild Awards. The WGA Awards cover movies and TV, including documentaries, children’s TV and news.
Now before you say, “I don’t want to look at a bunch of nerdy writers and their frumpy partners,” hear me out. NBC could invite all the stars from the movies and TV shows nominated to receive awards. Let there be a red carpet shindig. Let here be drinking, as writers are wont to do when obliged to leave their offices and homes. And especially wont to do in the presence of glamorous stars.
Listen, this is a one-time opportunity. NBC will probably return to airing the Golden Globes in 2023 after the codgers at the HFPA have made some changes. To completely abandon the Globes would be extreme, and mean nullifying the many existing Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Awards, which are nothing like as tainted as other Globes that have been awarded.
Besides, the public makes a kind of pact with all awards shows. It’s like a willing suspension of disbelief. We all know the Globes are weird. For the awards this year, Netflix’s Emily in Paris received two nominations, most significantly for Best TV Series: Comedy. The froth that is Emily in Paris only deserved a nomination for best beret-wearing scene by an American in Paris. Turns out the producers – not Netflix, the producers – had flown almost the entire HFPA to Paris to meet and interview the show’s stars and creators.
That’s digestible shenanigans because the Golden Globes is a ridiculous event and always has been. The important part is what I call the frock-opera that is the red-carpet parade. It’s an important ritual, this thing, a depth-of-winter January ritual for the viewers, many of whom are looking out at cold, gloomy skies. Watching celebrities parade around in pretty dresses and strut sockless in tuxedos is a pleasant, uncomplicated distraction. It’s a sign that a new year has dawned and, eventually we will all be sashaying around in the sunshine.
You know as well I do that the reason behind a ratings decline for awards shows in the pandemic period has been the absence of the frock-opera. We’ve been deprived of the sacred ritual of belittling the sartorially challenged, and we don’t like it one bit. The public doesn’t take awards season as seriously as the media or those involved with plugging movies and TV shows during the season. (Or people placing bets on the winners, which you can do in some places.) The audience at home, since time immemorial, sees awards season as a visual cue that the weather is picking up and fun is coming.
So, I leave it out there – replace the 2022 Golden Globes with one of the existing award shows that the guilds have been doing quietly for years. Perhaps even invite Ricky Gervais to host it. And give him a hint in advance that some scathing jokes about “Hollywood” and “woke” would be appreciated.
Not that NBC ever listens to TV critics. That’s why Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, Chicago P.D. and, for all, I know, Chicago Waste Disposal, keep airing week after week. My proposal is not woke nor coming from the lunatic fringe; it’s coming from concerned, public-minded TV critics everywhere.
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