The Golden Globes was once the biggest party in Hollywood. The event was a critical date in the industry’s calendar as it kicked off the glittering awards season, paving the way for the Oscars, the BAFTAS, and the SAGs. The outfits, as well as the winners, the losers, the speeches and the backstage gossip all had the power to shape cultural perspectives and set the movie industry agenda for the year.
However, this year looked incredibly different. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) – the organisation who hosts the awards ceremony, came under criticism for failing to represent diversity in the film industry, and issues also surfaced about over how the winners were chosen. Consequently, NBC refused to broadcast the 2022 Golden Globes. Celebrities declined their invitations. There was no red carpet, no fancy outfits and no famous host. Instead, a small ceremony was held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, with winners being announced on the Golden Globes’ social media feed.
To find out how audiences responded to this, we collected Twitter data that specifically mentioned the Golden Globes in the week after the 2021 and 2022 awards ceremonies. We then uploaded this social listening data into the Relative Insight platform and compared tweets from both time periods against each other.
Relative Insight is a text analytics platform that pinpoints the linguistic differences that are unique to each data set, or in this case, each time period. This enables us to understand how both the 78th and 79th Golden Globe Awards were received by the public, revealing audience insights and overall feeling towards both events.
In 2021, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic meant that the 78th Golden Globe awards were held virtually. Even though hosting the awards over Zoom was the only way to combat COVID outbreaks, people on Twitter claimed that the virtual Golden Globes was simply awkward to watch. Viewers of the three-hour long zoom meeting were more likely to use words such as bored and unwatchable, highlighting the negative impact that hosting the show virtually had.
Audience insights analysis uncovered a key difference in 2021. Audiences were 9.7x more likely to be preoccupied with what virtual guests were wearing. It’s no surprise that words such as dress, hoodie and outfit appeared more in this data set, as the 2022 Golden Globes had no red carpet or attendees. However, what’s interesting is the mix of opinions on why celebrities felt the need to dress up at all whilst “attending” the awards from their living room. Twitter users praised the likes of Jeff Daniels and Jason Sudeikis for keeping it real by wearing casual clothes.
It’s no secret that the Golden Globes have witnessed a huge demotion this year, prompting audiences to claim that nobody cares anymore and declaring the 79th Golden Globes a flop. People on Twitter questioned whether the awards show had even gone ahead, asking: “Wait, the Golden Globes happened?”
The controversy around this year’s Golden Globes is a hot topic of conversation for audiences. Twitter users were 9.8x more likely to talk about the unethical nature of The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which caused people to boycott the ceremony. They spoke of how corrupt the show continues to be, and claimed that the Golden Globes has lost all credibility.
This comes after the HFPA was mired in scandal over lack of diversity and failure to answer questions about their finances. Calling the HFPA assholes (their words not mine), it’s clear to see how the continued exclusion of minorities being nominated for awards and a refusal to evolve with the times has led to the event’s demise.
Despite this controversy, people were 3x more likely to speak about the winners, competition and results of this year’s awards compared to last year. Although there was a noticeable lack of content and commentary around the awards, audiences surprisingly were engaged with the results. They expressed their frustration at the show not being televised, the one year that the Golden Globes had the most diverse winners.
Although the Globes have taken steps to diversify, with the HFPA heading in the right direction of reform, there is an overwhelming sense of it being too little too late. The harsh reality is – this all could be viewed an act of tokenism.
Can the Golden Globes reclaim their status as one of the most prestigious film awards in the industry? With a clear shift in public opinion, that remains doubtful. However continued audience research and audience insights analysis will help the HFPA and broadcasters understand the sentiment towards the organisation and awards ceremony that is currently tarnished.
The HFPA must continue to take action to right their wrongs. These audience insights prove that people want to see recognition of talented minorities at award shows that reflect a wider, inclusive world.