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Tom Cruise hands back his awards. NBC pulls out. Is it all over for the Golden Globes?

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The cinematic establishment looks to be preparing for a shift in the industrial awards complex (for a while at least). “A world without the Globes. How will we ever survive such a place?” Clayton Davis, Variety’s awards editor, writes in that trade paper. “Don’t worry. I suspect we’ll get along just fine, if not better.”

The Golden Globes have not ceased to exist, but, following yet another tranche of scandals involving the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, or HFPA, the body that runs the awards, NBC has announced that it will not air the next ceremony.

The decision reflected the broadcaster’s view that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, reeling from a recent exposé in the Los Angeles Times, would be unable to enact significant changes in time for the upcoming awards season.

The most famous controversy concerns the awarding of ‘best newcomer’ to Pia Zadora in 1981 after her husband flew certain voting members to his hotel in Las Vegas

“We continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform,” NBC says. “However, change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right. As such, NBC will not air the 2022 Golden Globes. Assuming the organisation executes on its plan, we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023.”

The HFPA has a long history of controversy, but the current kerfuffle is on a different scale. The Los Angeles Times reported that the organisation, a nonprofit, was paying its members to be on committees and that it had not a single black member. In February, a few weeks after that piece landed, the Globes battered their way through a shaky online ceremony that featured more than a few snipes from hosts and attendees.

“Hold on, Donald Trump is contesting the result,” Sacha Baron Cohen said after winning an award. “He’s claiming that a lot of dead people voted, which is a very rude thing to say about the HFPA.”

The organisation has just 87 members, few of whom are household names in even the households of dedicated film enthusiasts.

Things got worse in April when Philip Berk, a past president, was, following 44 years in the body, expelled after emailing an article to other members that described Black Lives Matter as a “racist hate movement”. Berk, an octogenarian from South Africa, had earlier been accused of groping the actor Brendan Fraser at an event in 2003.

The HFPA, which sent three members out to address the controversies at this year’s Globes, was already in the process of constructing a plan to correct its perceived lack of diversity. The scheme proposed adding a minimum of 20 new members in 2021 “with a specific focus on recruiting Black members”.

More complaints followed. A collection of powerful Hollywood publicists wrote a public letter threatening to advise their clients to stay away unless meaningful change took place. “To reflect how urgent and necessary we feel this work is, we cannot advocate for our clients to participate in HFPA events or interviews as we await your explicit plans and timeline for transformational change,” the letter read.

Scarlett Johansson: the actor has complained about ‘facing sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on sexual harassment’. Photograph: Amy Sussman/Getty
Scarlett Johansson: the actor has complained about ‘facing sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on sexual harassment’. Photograph: Amy Sussman/Getty

Scarlett Johansson popped up to complain about “facing sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on sexual harassment”. She added: “It is the exact reason why I, for many years, refused to participate in their conferences. The HFPA is an organisation that was legitimized by the likes of Harvey Weinstein to amass momentum for Academy [of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences] recognition and the industry followed suit.”

Netflix announced that it would be “stopping any activities” with the organisation. Amazon confirmed that it has “not been working with the HFPA since these issues were first raised”. Yesterday Tom Cruise returned his three Globes.

Then the NBC bombshell landed.

Trade journalists seem unsure of the precise details of the contract between the network and the HFPA, but, as recently as 2018, NBC signed a broadcast licence to air the Globes for $60 million a year. That noted, Variety speculated that the announcement could “could very well serve as a permanent break between the Globes and NBC”.

The rush to disassociate from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association reflects an unease in the industry that goes back decades. As long ago as the 1960s, an investigation by the Federal Communications Commission concluded that the Globes TV show “substantially misleads the public as to how the winners were chosen and the procedures followed in choosing them”.

The most famous controversy – still sniggered about whenever the HFPA is mentioned – concerns the awarding of “best newcomer” to Pia Zadora in 1981 after her husband flew certain voting members to his hotel in Las Vegas. This year, attention turned to the surprising nomination of the much-derided Emily in Paris as best comedy series.

For all the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ flaws, the Oscar body took the fight for diversity seriously and added thousands of members to create a younger, more international, less white voting body

So why have the Globes retained their place in the awards calendar? They got in there early. The first ceremony happened in 1943, and, ever since, they have – in theory at least – offered early pointers as to contenders at the imminent Academy Awards. In their defence, the HFPA has, in recent years, managed to organise an informal, unfussy ceremony that, often lubricated by alcohol, offers a racy contrast to the more buttoned-up Oscars.

Inertia is a powerful force in entertainment politics. They were deemed important because they had long been deemed important. The words “Golden Globe winner” shouldn’t mean much on a poster, but that supposed significance encouraged the studios to seek such recognition.

More than a few influential players believe that, rather than adding a few dozen new members here and there, the HFPA needs to tear up its systems and start again from scratch. For all the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ flaws, the Oscar body took the fight for diversity seriously and, over the past few years, has added thousands of members to create a younger, more international, less white voting body.

Clayton Davis laid out the case baldly in Variety. “It’s time for NBC to step in and ask for resignations of all its current 87 members,” he writes. “The name is tainted. There is nothing ‘golden’ about the group.”

The Globes could well come back. But it will require some nifty footwork and a sincere commitment to change.

Never mind, Amazon. Never mind, NBC. Tom Cruise sent his Globes back. You don’t easily recover from that. It’s a wonder he knew where the statuettes were. “I think I saw one at the back of the garage between the Swingball and the broken leaf-blower, darling.”

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Census 2022 – what difference does it make?

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Next Sunday, April 3rd, is Census night. Millions of people in homes countrywide will fill in page after page of questions, some of which are deeply personal and many of which might be unfamiliar.

But what it is it all about?

At a basic level, Census 2022 will be used to inform planning of public policy and services in the years ahead, according to the Central Statistics Office.

The questions will cover a range of environmental, employment and lifestyle issues, including the use of renewable energy sources in homes.

The questions will help inform policy development in the areas of energy and climate action, and the prevalence of internet access, to understand the availability of and need for internet connections and range of devices used to access the internet.

Questions also focus on changes in work patterns and will include the trend of working from home and childcare issues, while questions are also asked about the times individuals usually leave work, education or childcare, to help identify and plan for transport pattern needs locally and nationally.

Other topics covered include volunteering and the type of organisations volunteers choose to support, tobacco usage and the prevalence of smoke alarms in the home.

And of course there is a time capsule – the chance to write something which will be sealed for the next 100 years.

In this episode of In The News, the head of census administration Eileen Murphy and statistician Kevin Cunningham about what it all means for us.

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Oscars 2022: Will Smith makes Oscar history after slapping Chris Rock over joke about wife Jada Pinkett Smith | Culture

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Will Smith took the Oscar for Best Actor at last night’s 94th Academy Awards, but he also became the protagonist of the ceremony for other reasons. The night was following the script, until Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on the stage after the latter made a joke about the shaved head of the former’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Rock had quipped that he was “looking forward to GI Jane 2,” in reference to her look. Pinkett Smith has revealed publicly that she has alopecia. It looked as if the moment had been planned, until Smith went back to his seat and shouted: “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”

The moment, which immediately became Oscar history but for all the wrong reasons, left the attendees with frozen smiles, and asking themselves whether it was possible that a veteran such as Smith could have lost his cool in front of tens of millions of people. After taking the prize for Best Actor, the superstar actor made a tearful apology, saying that he hoped the Academy “will invite me back.” Later on, actor Anthony Hopkins called for “peace and love,” but it was already too late. The incident overshadowed the success of CODA, which took the Oscar for Best Picture. Just like the time when Warren Beatty mistakenly named La La Land as the big winner of the night, no one will speak about anything else from last night’s awards.

At first sight, Smith’s actions looked as if they were scripted. When he first heard Rock’s joke, he laughed. But his wife was seen on camera rolling her eyes, and it was then that the actor got up onto the stage and hit Rock. When he returned to his seat he raised his voice twice to shout “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth,” sending a wave of unease and shock through the attending audience. The fact that he used the f-word, which is prohibited on US television, set alarm bells ringing that this was real and not a planned moment. In fact, the curse word was censored by the broadcaster, ABC, in the United States.

During a break, Smith’s PR manager approached him to speak. In the press room, which the actor skipped after collecting his prize, instructions were given to the journalists not to ask questions about the incident, Luis Pablo Beauregard reports. The next presenter, Sean “Diddy” Combs, tried to calm the situation. “Will and Chris, we’re going to solve this – but right now we’re moving on with love,” the rapper said.

When Smith took to the stage to collect his Best Actor award for his role as Richard Williams – the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena – in King Richard, he referred to the character as “a fierce defender of his family.” He continued: “I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people. I know to do what we do you’ve got to be able to take abuse, and have people talk crazy about you and have people disrespecting you and you’ve got to smile and pretend it’s OK.”

He explained that fellow actor Denzel Washington, who also spoke to Smith during a break, had told him: “At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.”

“I want to be a vessel for love,” Smith continued. “I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love and care and concern. I want to apologize to the Academy and all my fellow nominees. […] I look like the crazy father just like they said about Richard Williams, but love will make you do crazy things,” he said. He then joked about his mother, who had not wanted to come to the ceremony because she had a date with her crochet group.

The Los Angeles Police Department released a statement last night saying that Chris Rock would not be filing any charges for assault against Smith. “LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program,” the statement read. “The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”

On December 28, Pinkett Smith spoke on social media about her problems with alopecia. She stated that she would be keeping her head shaved and would be dealing with the condition with humor. “Me and this alopecia are going to be friends… Period!” she wrote on Instagram.



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House-price inflation set to stay double digit for much of 2022

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House-price inflation is expected to remain at double-digit levels for much of 2022 as the mismatch between what is for sale and what buyers want continues.

Two new reports on the housing market paint a picture of a sector under strain due to a lack of supply and increased demand driven by Covid-related factors such as remote working.

The two quarterly reports, one each from rival property websites myhome.ie and daft.ie, suggest asking prices accelerated again in the first quarter of 2022 as the stock of homes available for sale slumped to a new record low.

Myhome, which is owned by The Irish Times, said annual asking-price inflation was now running at 12.3 per cent.

Price

This put the median or typical asking price for a home nationally at €295,000, and at €385,000 in Dublin.

MyHome said the number of available properties for sale on its website fell to a record low of 11,200 in March, down from a pre-pandemic level of 19,000. The squeeze on supply, it said, was most acute outside Dublin, with the number of properties listed for sale down almost 50 per cent compared with pre-pandemic levels.

It said impaired supply and robust demand meant double-digit inflation is likely until at least mid-2022.

“Housing market conditions have continued to tighten,” said author of the myhome report, Davy chief economist Conall Mac Coille.

“The broad picture of the market in early 2022 remains similar to last year: impaired supply coupled with robust demand due to Ireland’s strong labour market,” he said.

Soure: MyHome.ie

“One chink of light is that new instructions to sell of 7,500 in the first 11 weeks of 2022 are well up from 4,800 in 2021, albeit still below the 9,250 in 2019. The flow of new properties therefore remains impaired,” said Mr Mac Coille.

“Whatever new supply is emerging is being met by more than ample demand. Hence, transaction volumes in January and February were up 13 per cent on the year but pushed the market into ever tighter territory,” he said.

He said Davy was now predicting property-price inflation to average 7 per cent this year, up from a previous forecast of 4.5 per cent, buoyed strong employment growth.

Homes

Daft, meanwhile, said house asking prices indicated the average listed price nationwide in the first quarter of 2022 was €299,093, up 8.4 per cent on the same period in 2021 and and just 19 per cent below the Celtic Tiger peak, while noting increases remain smaller in urban areas, compared to rural.

Just 10,000 homes were listed for sale on its website as of March 1st, an all-time low. In Dublin, Cork and Galway cities, prices in the first quarter of 2022 were roughly 4 per cent higher on average than a year previously, while in Limerick and Waterford cities the increases were 7.6 per cent and 9.3 per cent respectively.

The report’s author, Trinity College Dublin economist Ronan Lyons, said: “Inflation in housing prices remains stubbornly high – with Covid-19 disturbing an equilibrium of sorts that had emerged, with prices largely stable in 2019 but increasing since.

“As has been the case consistently over the last decade, increasing prices – initially in Dublin and then elsewhere – reflect a combination of strong demand and very weak supply.”


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