DuVernay, Regina King discuss new report that reveals zero Black members among the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

By Joey Nolfi
February 22, 2021 at 12:00 PM EST
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Ava DuVernay and Regina King have addressed a growing controversy surrounding a new report that claims the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's voting ranks contain zero Black members participating in the Golden Globes process.

Following a Los Angeles Times investigation that exposed a lack of Black perspectives among the HFPA's 87-strong membership, the Golden Globe-nominated Selma director responded to social media chatter about the piece, seemingly baffled by people "acting like this isn't already widely known? For YEARS?"

Though she didn't add commentary of her own, One Night in Miami... director and Oscar-winning actress King — a contender in the Globes race this year — responded to DuVernay's note with an image of Drake pointing directly into the camera with a smile on his face, to which DuVernay replied with a GIF with the text "those are the facts."

Representatives for the HFPA didn't immediately provide EW with a comment on the Times' reporting, though the piece quotes a rep with indicating the group is "committed to addressing" the lack of Black people among its membership.

Both filmmakers' tweets come amid a curious year for representation at the Golden Globes, the high profile awards season statuettes handed out by a small collective of predominantly foreign, Los Angeles-based journalists covering Hollywood for a variety of publications around the world.

Earlier this month, the group was both celebrated and derided for its 2021 nominations, as it recognized work by Black artists like Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday) and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom stars Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman, but failed to recognize presumed contenders in the Oscar race like Malcolm & Marie actress Zendaya, Da 5 Bloods star Delroy Lindo, and the latter Netflix film's director, Spike Lee, whose children will serve as the HFPA's Golden Globe ambassadors at Sunday's ceremony.

Still, King herself also helped make history among the 2021 Golden Globe nominees as one of three women (alongside Nomadland's Chloé Zhao and Promising Young Woman helmer Emerald Fennell) to be nominated for Best Director — the most number of female honorees the category has ever recognized in one year.

Despite King's nomination, Miami wasn't nominated for Best Picture at the Globes, nor were any of the major Black-led films in the overall conversation, such as Judas and the Black Messiah, Da 5 Bloods, and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Of the 10 films nominated for Best Picture across musical and drama categories, only Disney's Hamilton contains a lead cast comprised predominantly of people of color.

On the television side, the HFPA was also largely criticized for not nominating Michaela Coel's critically lauded HBO series I May Destroy You, though it did nominate the widely derided (yet commercially successful) comedy Emily in Paris — a freshman comedy series that falls in line with other newbie programs the HFPA has historically anointed early in their respective runs, and was projected to receive Golden Globe nods by several industry publications, including the L.A. Times.

The Times alleges that, in 2019, more than 30 HFPA members traveled to France to visit the series' set, and were treated to a two-night stay at the five-star Peninsula Paris hotel as well as a news conference and luncheon at the private Musée des Arts Forains museum — the show's set for the day.

Representatives for the HFPA didn't immediately provide EW with comment on the Emily in Paris trip, though individuals with knowledge of the situation told EW that "all the rules and guidelines" pertaining to campaigning were followed on the trip; the 33 members on the trip arranged travel on their own; the only gift that was given to them was a notebook, and that the hotel rooms were between $944 and $1,000 per night, not the $1,400 as indicated by the Times.

The L.A. Times also reports potentially troubling details about the Globes' internal processes, reporting that the group often rejects well-credentialed foreign journalists from joining, as members often allegedly accept lavish perks from studios and networks, who also, in turn, have allegedly lobbied members for votes for specific projects over the years. The piece cites an HFPA rep as saying, "We do not control the individual votes of our members," but that the group seeks "to build cultural understanding through film and TV and recognize how the power of creative storytelling can educate people around the world to issues of race, representation, and orientation."

EW will update this article with new information from representatives for the groups, studios, and networks involved as soon as it is received.

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