Diversity, equity, inclusion cornerstones of the HFPA, says Helen Hoehne

Next year’s Golden Globes promises a big restart for the troubled awards show as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) continues to look for ways to reinvent the event, according to President Helen Hoehne.

In his speech at the Zurich Film Festival on Saturday, Hoehne listed the changes the HFPA has made to address criticism that has led to a major industry boycott of the show this year.

Over the past year, the HFPA has “truly made diversity, equity and inclusion the cornerstone of our organization. We changed our governance because, as you know, a lot of awards shows have come under fire, not just because of diversity issues, but because of corruption, because of all sorts of other things. And we cleaned up.

“It’s taken a long time and we’re still working on getting better and making this a very transparent process and really getting people involved with award shows again and getting them excited to tune in.”

Hoehne reiterated the HFPA’s recent announcement that it had added 103 new international voters in addition to the 21 diverse members inducted last year, bringing the total voter count to 200, “which we are excited about.” Most of them are female, which makes me very happy. And the majority is diverse, which really makes our inaugural awards ceremony with the most women and diverse members.

“We are excited – this is just the beginning. I hope we can increase those numbers next year and the year after and really grow and get better as the awards show.”

Hoehne added, “We’re thinking of other ways to reinvent ourselves and make the show exciting, bring an exciting host and make it a really fun party.”

Alongside Hoehne at the festival’s Zurich Summit industry event, John Lesher, President of Le Grisbi Production, discussed the “award season of the future”; producer Greg Shapiro of Kingsgate Films; and Matthijs Wouter Knol, CEO of the European Film Academy.

In their conversation about the future of the Oscars, Shapiro, Lesher and Knol underscored the many challenges facing the awards format.

“I have ideas as a viewer, as a viewer because it’s long and slow and it’s difficult to watch at times,” Shapiro said. “On one hand, I know there are many categories that the public doesn’t necessarily understand, but they’re really important to the craft and they deserve to be recognized. In several years, the academy tried to remove her from the show and it always upset me greatly. For me it is part of the process and they deserve the recognition.”

At the same time, the many technical awards might be too much for an audience more interested in the top categories.

“That’s a really hard question to answer because the show would be more popular – more people would see it if it were shorter and focused on the awards that people actually appreciate, which is essentially the actors, the movie and the director are. But personally, I would be disappointed if the technical awards weren’t included.”

Lesher echoed the sentiment, noting the tricky balance of making the Oscars entertaining for viewers and TV viewers alike.

If you can make it exciting, interesting, and relevant to people, people will watch it. It must be a good show. I think they fail because they just do what they do and it’s a format and it’s long.

“It feels dated,” he added, noting that he often finds it “really cheesy, really cheesy.” I want to like it… but why does it look like this? I just cringe sometimes because I think it’s that bad.”

Knol emphasized that the original format of awards shows just doesn’t work anymore, as “regular linear television doesn’t work like that anymore.”

When discussing the goals of the European Film Academy and the European Film Awards, Knol flatly rejected the idea of ​​emulating American-style shows.

“The European Film Academy has a different goal. Although we also do an awards ceremony, that’s not the main thing we want to do.”

He noted that the European Film Awards show “was never designed to be a big TV show”.

“What worries us is the fact that they are doing exactly the same thing in Europe as they are doing here in Zurich: we are talking about the American infrastructure and we have to adapt to it. That’s not what I want, nor what the European Film Academy wants.”

In addition to its more low-key awards ceremony, the European Film Academy undertakes various initiatives to promote European film across the continent, such as its European Film Month, which runs from November to December, showcasing and celebrating the best pictures of the year across 35 countries associated with the European Film Awards, which will take place in Reykjavik on December 10th this year.

https://variety.com/2022/film/awards/zurich-film-festival-hfpa-helen-hoehne-1235383022/ Diversity, equity, inclusion cornerstones of the HFPA, says Helen Hoehne

Charles Jones

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