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The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has another problem to fix.

By Joey Nolfi
March 02, 2021 at 03:10 PM EST
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The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has yet another problem on its growing list of awards season issues.

Daniel Kaluuya's digital acceptance speech mishap served as a fitting metaphor for the 2021 Golden Globes, as viewers had a record disconnect from the HFPA's 78th annual ceremony.

Sunday night's telecast — a bicoastal presentation hosted by Tina Fey in New York City and Amy Poehler in Los Angeles — netted an average audience of 6.9 million viewers on NBC and a 2.1 rating, which is the lowest viewership tally in the Globes' 27-year history on the network, according to Nielsen ratings. The program finished the evening in fourth place, behind episodes of 60 Minutes, Equalizer, and Young Sheldon.

Compared to last year, the 2021 edition marks around a 62 percent decline from the January 2020 telecast, which drew 18.3 million viewers and a 4.7 rating in the 18-49 demographic.

The Globes' sinking viewership is in line with other pandemic-era awards shows, however, as the Emmys notched record-low viewership last year when 6.1 million people tuned in to watch the partially virtual ceremony.

Despite pulling in small audience numbers, Golden Globe statuettes went to several big-name, surprising contenders during the broadcast, including The United States vs. Billie Holiday star Andra Day, who pulled off a shocking upset for Best Actress — Drama (and became the category's first Black winner in 35 years). Nomadland helmer Chloé Zhao further made history as the first Asian woman to win Best Director, while her movie became the first Best Picture — Drama winner to be directed by a woman in Globes history.

Earlier, the HFPA became embroiled in controversy in the run-up to Sunday's presentation, after a Los Angeles Times investigation alleged controversial internal practices and a lack of diversity among the group's 87-strong voting ranks — including the revelation that the HFPA contained zero Black members.

"Tonight, while we celebrate the work of artists from around the globe, we recognize that we have our own work to do. Just like in film and televison, Black representation is vital. We must have Black journalists in our organization," said Helen Hoehne, an HFPA member from Germany, during the broadcast.

She was joined on stage by India's Meher Tatna, who added: "We must also ensure everyone from all underrepresented communities gets a seat at our table, and we're going to make that happen."

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