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In a private ceremony Sunday, the 79th annual Golden Globes were handed out

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

While the Grammy Awards and other entertainment shows have been postponed during the pandemic's omicron surge, the annual Golden Globes did happen in person in Beverly Hills last night. Now, if you missed it, you weren't the only one. It wasn't on TV. It wasn't even streamed online. NPR arts correspondent Mandalit del Barco covers the event every year. She's here now to explain what happened. Mandalit, what happened?

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Well, in the before times, the Globes was the fun party that kicked off the Hollywood awards season, and there were glamorous stars boozing it up at tables and getting awards, hosts like Ricky Gervais or Tina Fey and Amy Poehler making fun of everybody, including the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the HFPA, which began hosting the ceremony in 1944. But this time, the Golden Globes was a very private party for HFPA members. There was no red carpet, no major TV, film stars in fancy gowns or suits, no acceptance speeches. I wasn't there in the press area. Nobody was there. There was no press area. And there was no red carpet. NBC didn't broadcast it as it usually does, and we had to find out who the winners were on the Golden Globes website and a rather helter-skelter Twitter feed. Those changes to the Globes ceremony happened in response to scandals that rocked the HFPA and tarnished the Golden Globes.

MARTINEZ: So remind us about those scandals because this all seems to have changed so quickly.

DEL BARCO: Yes. So for many years, critics accused the HFPA members of getting wined and dined in advance of the Golden Globes. The legitimacy as journalists came into question, and this small group of people, fewer than 100, seemed to hold a lot of power in Hollywood. But then things started unraveling. There were lawsuits by some journalists who say they were not allowed to join the group. And just before the ceremony last year, you might remember, the LA Times published investigations where members and former members accused the organization of corruption. The HFPA denied many of those allegations, but they couldn't deny something else that the LA Times reported. And that was that the organization had zero members who were Black. It was that lack of diversity that seemed to kick off a backlash. Studios, publicists and even major celebrities protested, and they said they would no longer participate with the Golden Globes.

MARTINEZ: But then the Hollywood Foreign Press Association made some changes. What were those changes?

DEL BARCO: So over the last year, the HFPA invited 21 new members, six of whom are Black, and they also hired a new diversity and inclusion officer. The organization also signed a five-year partnership with the NAACP and in addition, the HFPA changed its bylaws and had its members all sign a new code of conduct.

MARTINEZ: One thing I do know, Mandalit, that in Hollywood, if there is an award to be given out, somebody is taking it home. So what happened at the Golden Globes last night?

DEL BARCO: (Laughter) Well, they were awarded. This is who won - Steven Spielberg's reimagined "West Side Story" won for best motion picture, comedy or drama. Rachel Zegler and Ariana DeBose, who played Maria and Anita in the film, they also won Golden Globes. "The Power Of The Dog" won for best motion picture drama, and its director, Jane Campion, won the globe. On the TV side, winners included the series "Succession," "Hacks" and "The Underground Railroad." MJ Rodriguez from "Pose" made history as the first trans actress to win a Golden Globe, and she accepted her award on Instagram Live.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MJ RODRIGUEZ: This is for the LGBTQAI Black, Latino, Asian, the many multi-beautiful colors of the rainbow around the freakin' world.

DEL BARCO: But none of the winners were at the party to pick up their awards in person. The HFPA focused on their charity efforts, and only two genuine celebrities, Jamie Lee Curtis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, made cameos in prerecorded videos shown online.

MARTINEZ: That's NPR arts correspondent Mandalit del Barco. Thanks a lot.

DEL BARCO: Thanks, A. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Rachel Martin is a host of Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Alt.latino, and npr.org.