In an article about the 2022 Golden Globes, a scene from West Side Story

The 2022 Golden Globes Were Online and Embarrassing

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association drops the ball yet again in a lackluster 'awards ceremony' that took place entirely on Twitter.
January 21, 2022
8 mins read

The 2022 Golden Globes winners were announced on Sunday, Jan. 9, sans the traditional red carpet and star-studded ceremony. Instead, they were held on Twitter, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) opting to announce winners in 240 characters or less. This came after years of controversy surrounding the HFPA and the lack of diversity within its voting body and pool of nominees. In May of 2021, NBC announced that they would no longer air the Globes, after an exposé published by the Los Angeles Times revealed that out of the 87 members that were in the HFPA at the time, there were no Black journalists. On top of this, over 100 Hollywood publicity firms had stated that they would “continue to refrain from any HFPA sanctioned events” until significant changes were made.

While the HFPA did implement new bylaws in August to “codify measures that restructure the organization along the lines of inclusion, accountability and ethics, and greater responsiveness to the film industry and the diversity of world journalism,” they were still unable to secure celebrity guests or another way to broadcast the event amid the backlash. So, the 2022 Golden Globes took place solely on social media. As someone who tunes into the chaos of awards season yearly, bearing witness to the very public snubs, mistakes and overall cringeworthiness just to watch deserving performers and creators win only about half of the time (if they’re even nominated in the first place), I’ve never seen anything quite as uniquely messy as the Globes were this year.

Some of the tweets announcing the winners were fine, appearing to mimic the playful (yet, always kind of awkward) banter of celebrity presenters. “Kenneth Branagh has the write stuff,” one read. If you find yourself already wincing at this pun, brace yourself for the emojis to come. To reveal that Andrew Garfield had won best performance by an actor in a motion picture that was a musical or comedy for “Tick Tick Boom,” the Golden Globes tweeted, “It takes 43 muscles to smile. Thanks for the work out Andrew Garfield,” complete with a weightlifter emoji. The internet was quick to turn this strange statement into a meme, further poking fun at how bizarre the delivery was.

While the aforementioned tweets tried too hard to be funny, others simply didn’t try at all. For example, take a now-deleted tweet that announced that Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” won best motion picture (musical or comedy). “If laughter is the best medicine, @WestSideMovie is the cure for what ails you,” it read, because everyone goes to see “West Side Story” to have a good laugh, right? Wrong. They’ve since fixed the blunder and even poked fun at themselves, but the damage had been done and many were quick to note it. One has to question — if the HFPA can’t even get a tweet right about a movie they’ve supposedly watched and nominated, can they truly make the changes they’ve promised? It’s getting hard to tell.

Other tweets, such as the ones announcing Garfield, Will Smith, Jean Smart and Kate Winslet, failed to name the projects that each actor won for, leaving plenty of room for confusion. Anyone scrolling by could just assume that Garfield received the award for appearing in “Spider-Man: No Way Home” or that Smart was recognized for her performance in “Mare of Easttown” instead of “Hacks,” as she appeared in both this past year. It could definitely be argued that a simple press release would have sufficed instead of all of this odd and embarrassing chaos.

As for the reactions of the winners, Rachel Zegler, who won best performance by an actress in a musical or comedy, addressed both the controversy surrounding the Globes and the HPFA as well as her feelings about the win in an Instagram post, writing: “our industry has and continues to have so many important discussions about how to properly represent its audience, and i truly believe our movie did just that. i think i can speak for each incredible person involved with ‘west side story’ when saying we appreciate the support and recognition we’ve received. and here’s to the hope that we continue to talk to each other for meaningful change in a world that is constantly evolving.” Zegler’s “West Side Story” co-star Ariana DeBose expressed similar sentiments in a post of her own.

MJ Rodriguez, who won best performance by an actress in a television drama series for “Pose” and also became the first trans actress to win a Golden Globe, also reacted in an Instagram post. She celebrated her win, writing: “This is the door that is going to Open the door for many more young talented individuals. They will see that it is more than possible. They will see that a young Black Latina girl from Newark New Jersey who had a dream, to change the minds others would WITH LOVE. LOVE WINS. To my young LGBTQAI babies WE ARE HERE the door is now open now reach the stars!!!!!” Though the Globes were definitely lackluster, it is wonderful to see so many talented women get recognized for their great performances.

Those paying attention to the rollout of winners on the Globes Twitter feed were thoroughly entertained by the madness, already aware of the controversy surrounding the HFPA and ready to tease them relentlessly. Many chose to parody the format they used to construct each tweet, writing their own in a similar tone — “More like Best Direct-HER! Congratulations to Jane Campion, the winner of the #GoldenGlobe for Best Director!” — while others used photos from nominated shows such as “Succession” to make jokes at the HFPA’s expense.

While the group of Golden Globe recipients was certainly more diverse in comparison to previous years, the HFPA still has a long way to go to both improve itself as an organization and fix its crumbled reputation. We can only hope that the HFPA and many others in the entertainment industry will work to become more inclusive as we move forward. While it is currently unknown whether or not the Golden Globes will be broadcast in 2023, we do know that it takes 43 muscles to smile.

Mai Senser, Virginia Commonwealth University

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Mai Senser

Virginia Commonwealth University
English major, Media Studies minor

Mai Senser is a film student turned English major based in Richmond, Virginia. A lover of pop culture, both past and present, she’s always ready to join the conversation.

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