If you’re a celebrity walking the red carpet of tonight’s Golden Globes, chances are pretty good that you’ll have to answer a few questions about why you decided to show up in the first place. Despite all the changes made by the HFPA in the last year — including boosting the racial and ethnic diversity of the membership and starting a hotline for folks to report malfeasance — distrust of the foreign press still remains.
So far, most folks — like Glass Onion writer/director Rian Johnson, for example — are saying they checked with their reps and decided improvements had been made before deciding to make the trek to the Beverly Hilton.
“I spoke with my publicist who was part of the group who talked with them and worked with them about some of the progress they have been trying to make … make sure they keep making that progress, that’s really important,” Johnson said.
Baz Luhrmann (Elvis) seemed confident about the HFPA’s progress. “They have walked the walk. I’ve seen the data. They’re for real,” he tells Deadline. “And we need them … when we all come together, it shows the audience that they can come together in the theater … they’ve showed the changes they’ve made. Theys showed the data, the percentage of diversity. Unless that data isn’t true, then they really really looked at themselves in the mirror , and said we have to be fundamentally different. And I believe them.”
Director/writer Sarah Polley (Women Talking) told Deadline that she talked to a lot of people and “did a lot of reading” before coming to the conclusion that attending the GGs wouldn’t be such a bad thing. “It certainly wasn’t a decision I took lightly. It seems to me that some steps have been made, some progress has been made, it seems to me there’s a lot more progress that has to be made, and we have to sort of see where it all goes. In the spirit of our film, which is an ongoing dialogue about these kinds of things, it felt okay to engage with it. And also, my composer (Hildur Guðnadóttir) is nominated tonight, and I very much wanted to be here to celebrate her. So, I don’t think it’s simple and anyone who claims it’s simple is taking an easy way out. But my inclination was to come tonight and sort of honor that there are some shifts being made and there is a process and there is further to go.”
Some HFPA members still receive salaries, which remains a sore spot for many in Hollywood. In an interview last month with Deadline, President Helen Hoehne said the “small stipends” were for those who work on HFPA committees.
“They’re journalists and they’re making their income as journalists,” she said. “Before, most foreign correspondents working in the U.S. were employed on retainers and operated bureaus here. But it all fell apart with the closure of outlets and mass layoffs. Most of those bureaus were lost and replaced with freelance work. So, finding alternative means to support journalists with other work was what we did. However, this is only a supplement to their journalistic income and by no means a full-time salary.”
Antonia Blyth contributed to this report.
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