Inside the Golden Globes’ Attempted Comeback: “Who Would Be Proud of Having a Golden Globe?”

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is ready to roll out the red carpet—but who is going to RSVP yes?

Over the past few weeks, as awards season has begun to heat up ahead of the fall festivals, buzz has been growing about a potential comeback for the Golden Globes. Formerly a crucial stop for any awards campaign, the show was not televised at all last year, following a maelstrom of controversy about the organization that hands them out, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. In March 2021, the organization promised to enact “transformational change,” including a substantial overhaul of its membership.

NBC, which has aired the Globes since 1996, has not yet officially announced their return, but sources confirm to Vanity Fair that the HFPA and NBC are deep in talks—though they warn that any news on an official date for the show is premature. (NBC and the HFPA had no comment when reached by Vanity Fair.)

Even though some of the A-list talent who publicly decried the Globes back in 2021 may still not be ready to return, opinion seems to have shifted enough to make the glitzy event possible again. “If they announce the awards are going on, you’ll get a couple of people that say, ‘I’m not gonna let my clients go,’” says a senior publicist. “But this is such a self-congratulatory town and people realize and recognize the impact of an awards show that’s broadcast globally.”

A lucrative broadcast deal is a make-or-break moment for the Hollywood Foreign Press, which was acquired by Eldridge Industries in July in an effort to shore up its financial future. But for an awards show to work, talent must attend. So the real question is if the talent and gatekeepers of Hollywood—agents, publicists, and studio executives—will support the event, both in participating in HFPA events leading up to the show and the show itself.

Through numerous conversations with talent as well as studio and awards publicists over the past few days, Vanity Fair has learned that the publicists have divided into three camps: those who are still unsatisfied with the HFPA and its changes, those who are ready for a comeback, and those still hoping to wait and see.

“My concern for the HFPA right now is that they don’t have enough consensus from the industry to announce the show and have it succeed in the way it deserves to,” says one senior publicist who has been involved with the conversations with the HFPA since the start.

But others feel that the humbled organization is worthy of a return. A studio publicist tells Vanity Fair, “Most of the studios have really been rooting for its return because it’s a really valuable marketing tool that was sorely missed, and because they actually have made some substantial changes and incorporated new members.”

While the general public may not understand the convoluted drama that’s gone on behind the scenes in the past year and a half, the HFPA scandal has been so widely covered and discussed in Hollywood that some believe the damage is permanent. “I feel like it’s so tainted,” says another personal publicist. “It makes me sad, but who would be proud of having a Golden Globe?”

The HFPA fall from grace began with a Los Angeles Times exposé in February 2021, which reported ethical lapses at the organization and revealed that it didn’t have a single Black member. In the days and months after, a coalition of more than 100 P.R. firms along with studios including Netflix, Amazon, and WarnerMedia announced they would not work with the group until significant changes were made. NBC announced it would not broadcast the 2021 show, the final nail in the coffin.

Since then, the HFPA has been trying to build back favor in the Hollywood community. The initial wave of reforms included new bylaws announced in August 2021, which banned members from receiving gifts, and the addition of 21 new members in October, including six Black members. More recently, the HFPA voted to approve a plan to create a for-profit entity owned by Eldridge Industries’ Todd Boehly—who became interim CEO of the HFPA last fall—that would manage its Golden Globes assets while maintaining a separate, nonprofit entity that would focus on the charitable and philanthropic endeavors of the group.

The contingency of publicists working to hold the HFPA accountable have in recent weeks been going back and forth with the organization via email, in a chain that has more than 100 people on it. There’s been frustration on both sides: Some publicists feel they can’t get clear, concise answers about which of their requests have been addressed, while others say the publicist group has been hostile and aggressive in their communications with HFPA president Helen Hoehne, who was just reelected to her post on August 12.

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