We’ve got so much to offer.”Up until the Waar Ik Ook Heenga Hoek Van Holland Blijft Altijd Mijn Thuis Shirt in addition I really love this beginning of this year, the Golden Globes were perhaps best known for being Hollywood’s liveliest night out. As one of the first events kicking off the awards season calendar, it not only brings together the year’s film and television nominees for an impressively star-studded red carpet, but with alcohol on tap and the provocative humor of its hosts (past hosts have included Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler), it’s also notorious for its looser, off-the-cuff style. Following an investigation by the Los Angeles Times that was published in February, however, it was made abundantly clear the story behind the Globes was altogether less rosy.The investigation uncovered that there hasn’t been a Black member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the organization responsible for the awards, in at least two decades; in the following weeks, it emerged that former HFPA president Philip Berk had referred to Black Lives Matter in an email as a “racist hate movement.” Meanwhile, after many had expressed surprise at the multiple nominations for the Sia-directed critical bomb Music and the widely derided Emily in Paris on Netflix this year, it came to light that the group was often wooed by studios through all-expenses-paid trips to visit sets or screenings abroad. (Notably, more than 30 members were flown to Paris for a multiday set visit for Emily in Paris that included five-star accommodations and a private luncheon in a museum.)The backlash to the HFPA came swiftly and decisively. Some of Hollywood’s biggest studios, including Netflix, Amazon, and WarnerMedia, announced they were severing ties with the organization until efforts were made to increase diversity and stamp out corruption, while a group of more than 100 of the industry’s biggest PR firms released a statement in March in which they pledged to boycott the ceremony for the foreseeable future. Celebrities including Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo have publicly criticized the HFPA’s sexism and racism, while Tom Cruise announced this week that he will be returning his three trophies. All of these were devastating blows to the credibility of the awards, but the final nail in the coffin came yesterday evening, when NBC, which has aired the ceremony since 1996, announced that it will not be broadcasting the show next year until “meaningful reform” was made.Some have questioned why it has taken so long for the industry to take action, given the accusations of corruption within the HFPA were something of an open secret in Hollywood. (So much so that in 2011, Gervais made a joke about the group accepting bribes as part of his opening speech.) One obvious explanation is the unspoken benefits provided by the glossy prestige of a Globes nomination, however little the accolade actually meant. Not only could a Globes nod be used in promotional materials for a studio’s latest movie, a win could provide important momentum on the road to securing nominations at the more prestigious Oscars. But with the publication of the Los Angeles Times report, the hard facts of the matter are now impossible to ignore.The HFPA has already published an outline of its proposed reforms, which include increasing its membership by 50% over the next 18 months, with diversity advisors coming aboard to ensure that there is genuine representation within the organization at all levels. It will also begin publishing its membership list, and will no longer accept promotional items or trips from film and TV studios. All this may sound promising—whether it’s a case of too little, too late, however, remains to be seen.In many ways, it is cheering to see major studios and stars taking an unprecedented stand against a major Hollywood institution, even if it feels long overdue. It serves as yet another wake-up call to the film and TV industries, which have faced a series of high-profile reckonings over the past few years due to widespread allegations of sexual harassment and abusive work environments, that in the end, all of this mistreatment will eventually come to light. It may be the end of the road for those who have been unwilling to embrace necessary change, but for most working within TV and film, it’s simply a new beginning—one that will, hopefully, lead to a fairer and more equitable industry.
Thuso Mbedu is 29 but looks significantly younger. And yet, in her extraordinary performance as Cora, the Waar Ik Ook Heenga Hoek Van Holland Blijft Altijd Mijn Thuis Shirt in addition I really love this central character in Barry Jenkins’s adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Underground Railroad, she manages to look older as well. Premiering on Amazon Prime Video this month, the limited series follows a young enslaved woman who escapes a Georgia plantation, making use of a subterranean train—a literal underground railroad—to travel north. The show marries a haunted magical realism with dark chapters of American history, and requires much of its heroine. “They say still waters run deep,” says Jenkins of his lead, “and that’s how I think of her. There are episodes where she looks 18, and then there are episodes where she looks 57. It was almost superhuman, what this woman did.”Mbedu grew up in the sleepy South African city of Pietermaritzburg. When she was four, her mother, a teacher, died, so it was her grandmother who raised her, and the family got by on the grandmother’s modest pension. “My life wasn’t as hard as others’, but it wasn’t easy,” says Mbedu, who is speaking to me from her home in Los Angeles. She suffered from skin allergies and resolved to become a dermatologist—an aspiration that pleased her grandmother since apartheid had prevented Mbedu’s mother from becoming a geologist. But in high school, Mbedu discovered drama: “I was like, This thing can be used to heal and help people.” When her grandmother learned of her intention to study performing arts in college, she didn’t speak to Mbedu for a month. After graduating, Mbedu landed the first part she auditioned for, and eventually she earned the lead role in the South African teen drama Is’Thunzi. Her grandmother, who made begrudging peace with her granddaughter’s aspirations, passed away just as Mbedu’s career was getting started.In 2018, she auditioned for The Underground Railroad, later traveling to L.A. to meet with Jenkins. “Thuso aced it,” the director says simply. Extensive research followed: slave narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project and audio files of formerly enslaved people.