Arts & Entertainment

A Look at Sexism in the Awards Industry

The problem of misogyny in the award circuit has a long and disturbing history, especially at major functions like the Golden Globes. These awards have frequently been tainted by gender bias, even though they serve as a forum to honor artistic accomplishments. Critics have long drawn attention to the differences in nominations and awards received by male and female artists. The fact that there are comparatively fewer women nominated for Best Director than men is one prominent illustration of the underrepresentation of women in this category.

The Golden Globes’ governing body, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), has come under fire for maintaining gender disparities, which is a reflection of structural problems in the entertainment sector. According to the LA Times, Kjersti Flaa “accused the HFPA of institutionalizing a culture of corruption”. Flaa gets her point across by highlighting the conflict that members are accepting “thousands of dollars in emoluments from the very same studios, networks, and celebrities.” (Los Angeles Times, 2021). This was a huge setback for the HFPA, proving to the world what really conspires behind closed doors, leading to the belief that women are disproportionately underrepresented in front of and behind the camera in Hollywood, a gender imbalance that has existed for years.

As a premier awards show, the Golden Globes reflect these issues facing the whole industry. There has been continuous conversation regarding the urgent need for reform in the entertainment industry, as female directors, writers, and actresses have encountered structural obstacles to recognition. To ensure that the Golden Globes and other awards show the vast range of world film, the worldwide community has asked for more open and inclusive procedures. In 2021, Variety’s coverage brought gender representation to the attention of a global audience and emphasized how urgent it is that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association solve these issues. Under these bright lights, the HFPA posted a detailed Instagram post explaining how they would “be hiring an independent diversity and equity expert” (Saperstein, Variety, 2021), proving to show the years of neglect towards this issue.

A sexist comment made by comedian Jo Koy about Greta Gerwig, the well-known director of the Barbie movie, rocked the Golden Globes on Sunday night. Koy said, “Oppenheimer is based on a 721-page Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the Manhattan Project, and Barbie is just a plastic doll with big boobies.” The incident highlights how persistent gender insensitivity is in the industry. Koy’s inappropriate joke not only diminished Gerwig’s significant contributions but also highlighted the broader issue of sexism permeating prestigious events. According to Time Magazine, the joke was met with bothered faces, including Gerwig’s. The joke also received major backlash from people on Twitter, specifically Will Spencer’s response: “Do better, #GoldenGlobes” (Time, 2024).

However, there is hope for a revolutionary future as the award business works to overcome its past biases. A concerted effort towards significant change is seen in the demands for more openness in the nomination procedures, diversity in voting memberships, and an end to discriminatory behaviors. CNN’s insightful coverage this month focuses on the “sweeping changes” the Golden Globes have made. Starting off with them “phasing out” the HFPA and “establishing a revised and expanded voting group under new management, Dick Clark Productions”. (Lowry, CNN, 2024). Addressing ingrained prejudices in the industry is an indication of a promise to create a climate in which all artists, regardless of gender, will be recognized for their varied abilities and pursuits in the future. The Golden Globes’ future, along with other award shows, will be determined by its capacity to change, grow, and place a premium on diversity.