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Golden Globes 2021: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler call out the HFPA's lack of Black members in divisive opening

Ethan Alter
·Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
·4 min read
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Heading into the 78th Golden Globes, hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler previewed a politics-free monologue and, as promised, no shots were taken at either the current or former occupant of the Oval Office. Instead, the duo targeted the Globes' organizers, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association ... to mixed results.

Following a bombshell Los Angeles Times exposé that revealed the organization of international journalists that votes on the Globes had no Black members, the HFPA faced serious blowback from the industry at large. And Fey and Poehler — who emceed from New York and Los Angeles, respectively — used their platform to address their hosts directly. "The HFPA is made up of around 90 international no black journalists who attend movie junkets each year in search of a better life," Fey said early on in their bicoastal monologue, presaging additional condemnation to come. "A couple of them might be ghosts, and the German member is a sausage someone drew a face on."

Fey later took another dig at the HFPA's membership using her own nominated movie, Soul, as the setup. Observing that the plot of the Pixar hit involved a Black character (voiced by Jamie Foxx) who spends a sizable chunk of the movie in the body of a cat, the actress — who voiced Foxx's soul-ful sidekick, 22 — said, "The HFPA really responded to this movie because they do have five cat members." The duo also briefly addressed another eyebrow-raising detail contained in the L.A. Times report, involving a lavish Emily in Paris junket that Netflix threw for the HFPA. "Emily in Paris is nominated for Best Musical or Comedy — I can't wait to find out which it is," Fey said with obvious disdain, before going on to name-check another nominee, French Exit. "French Exit is what I did after watching the first episode of Emily in Paris."

Even though the HFPA is an easy target for jokes, Fey and Poehler made sure to emphasize that the group's exclusionary membership is no laughing matter. "A lot of flashy garbage got nominated — that's their thing," Poehler said, joking that awards shows were invented by "big red carpet." Fey then got serious: "There are no black members of the HFPA. I realize you didn't get the memo because your workplace is the back of a French McDonald's, but you've gotta change that." Continued Poehler: "I look forward to that change."

The duo's remarks met a mixed reaction on Twitter. While some — including twice-nominated actress Kerry Washington — praised them for speaking out, others felt they weren't the right messengers on this particular subject.

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It also didn't escape anyone's attention that the Globes followed up Fey and Poehler's monologue with two awards that went to Black nominees: Daniel Kaluuya and John Boyega won Best Supporting Actor trophies for their respective roles in Judas and the Black Messiah and Small Axe. But Kaluuya's win was immediately marred by a technical malfunction that nearly kept him from delivering a speech.

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