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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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Nphet proposes cap on households mixing over Christmas period

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The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) has recommended that no more than four households should mix over the Christmas period.

Nphet met on Thursday to consider advice for the Government on the latest pandemic situation, at a time when Covid-19 case numbers have stabilised at a high level and further information on the Omicron variant is being awaited.

It last night sent a letter to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly which recommends a maximum of six people at a table in bars and restaurants, the closure of nightclubs and limits on households mixing.

The contents of the letter are expected to be discussed by Ministers and senior officials at a Cabinet sub-committee meeting on Friday.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said the Government would move “as quickly as it can” to examine the latest recommendations from Nphet and to decide if further restrictions will be introduced. She said the Cabinet would need to be given time to “look at this advice and take it on board”.

During an interview on RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland, Ms McEntee said the Government had to ensure it was clear about about what it would do in terms of restrictions and why before anything was announced.

“Of course if there are impacts on businesses at any stage of this…I hope people would agree that we haven’t left people wanting,” she said. “We have always responded where business has needed additional income. Where individuals have lost their jobs. We have always provided that support. This won’t be any different.”

Tests for travellers

Separately, the Government has notified airlines that the introduction of a system of PCR and antigen testing for passengers arriving into Ireland has been delayed by 48 hours.





Confirmed cases in hospital Confirmed cases in ICU


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The measure was due to come into force on Friday, but Aer Lingus said airlines had been informed on Thursday night that the regulations would now begin on Sunday. All arrivals into the State – whether vaccinated or not – will need a negative Covid-19 test result from then onwards.

Those travelling with an antigen test result will need to have obtained it within 48 hours of arrival into Ireland, and it will have to be a professionally administered test.

No self-administered tests will be accepted under rules approved by Cabinet. Those with a PCR test result will have a longer pre-travel window of 72 hours before arrival. Persons arriving into the State from overseas who have been vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19 will be required also to have a certified negative test.

Hospitality sector meeting

Meanwhile, Government members are due to meet representatives of the hospitality industry on Friday. Ministers have said there will be supports for the sector if new pandemic measures will impact on their ability to trade.

Ms McEntee said she was particularly conscious that people had been asked to pull back and to reduce their social contacts.

“I am talking to businesses particularly in the hospitality sector and I know the impact that is having on them. This should be their busiest time and it’s not. We are taking this on board. We are going to support all of these businesses as we have always done during the pandemic,” she said.

The Minister dismissed suggestions that the Government was flip flopping or that there was confusion behind the scenes, saying the State is in a “fluid situation” because of the nature of Covid-19.

“What we have seen with the antigen test is that the market has corrected itself. That wasn’t a matter of flip flops or changing. We simply saw the market adjust itself. It is not about Government changing direction. We have to change direction sometimes because of the nature of this pandemic. Everybody is doing their best here,” she said.

‘Random and arbitrary’

Earlier, Maynooth University professor of immunology Paul Moynagh said the latest restrictions reportedly proposed by Nphet could lead to some benefits but seem ed “random and arbitrary”.

He told Newstalk Breakfast that “big mistakes” have been made with regard to messaging to the public.

“Back in September contact tracing was stood down the reason being that children were missing too much school. But we had the option of keeping contact tracing and using antigen testing. And there has been a resistance over the last year from Nphet in terms of using antigen testing,” he said.

“We saw over the last number of days the reluctance of Nphet again to impress advice from experts in the area of ventilation and air filtration. There seems to be this reluctance to accept scientific advice from outside.”

Prof Moynagh said there was a need to look at this reluctance and “learn from our mistakes”.

“Whereas at the moment it seems that mistakes are made and that narrative is defended. And again we end up now with new restrictions that I am not convinced are going to be very impactful,” he said.

“We know they are going to be highly impactful in terms of the sectors for example. I am not convinced by the strategy that is being used at the moment.”


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Senior figures in Washington stand behind Belfast Agreement and protocol, McDonald says

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Senior figures in United States politics have made it clear that the government of Boris Johnson in the UK will face negative consequences internationally if it attempts to rupture or dispense with the Northern Ireland protocol, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said.

In a presentation at the National Press Club in Washington DC on Thursday she said the protocol was “necessary, operable and going nowhere, despite what Boris Johnson might wish to believe”.

She said she had met with “people of considerable influence” in the US Congress and in the Biden administration on her visit to the US this week and they all stood four square behind the Belfast Agreement and the protocol.

“I heard yesterday on the Hill the clearest possible articulation across the board that any notion of walking away from the protocol would not be acceptable to the United States.”

Asked about a report in the Financial Timed that Washington had delayed lifting tariffs on UK steel and aluminium products amid concerns about threats by the UK to invoke article 16 of the protocol, Ms McDonald said this was a matter for the Biden administration.

However, she said: “There is no doubt where the US stands. If Johnson believes he can walk away from the protocol, he is wrong and there will be consequences for Britain if he chooses that course of action.”

Tariffs

Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beattie, who was also in Washington DC on Thursday, said if the lifting of tariffs was being delayed due to concerns about the protocol, he would argue at a meeting with the US state department that it had “got it wrong” in its view on what article 16 was about.

“If people say we have to adhere to the protocol and article 16 is part of the protocol then it becomes a legitimate thing you can use.”

“It is not about whether you should or should not use it. It is about how you should use it.

“You should use it in a narrow sense of a particular issue that is causing economic or societal harm in Northern Ireland, for example, medicines .”

“If the medicine issue has not been fixed and is starting to affect the people of Northern Ireland, it would be right to instigate article 16 to focus minds on that issue.”

Ms McDonald also told the press club event that she expected the United States would “be on the right side” on the controversy over British plans for an amnesty in relation to killings during the Troubles.

She said the British government was going to the ultimate point to keep the truth from the people about its war in Ireland.

She said the Johnson government’s plans would mean “in effect no possibility of criminal action, civil actions or even inquests into killings in the past”.

Ms McDonald also forecast that a point was coming over the coming five or 10 years where referenda would be held on the reunification of Ireland. She urged the Irish government to establish a citizen’s assembly to consider preparation for unity.

She also said “there will be need for international support and international intervention to support Ireland as we move to transition from partition to reunification”.

Separately, asked about a recent Sinn Féin golf fundraising event that was held in New York, Ms McDonald said the money that was raised would be spent on campaigning and lobbying in the US.

She described it as a patriotic expression by people in the US who had a deep interest in Ireland and the peace process.

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Drop in cancer diagnoses as high as 14 per cent during pandemic, early data shows

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The drop in the number of cancers detected during the Covid-19 pandemic could be as high as 14 per cent, preliminary data has suggested.

A report from the National Cancer Registry said it was still too early to provide “definitive answers” on whether pandemic hospital restrictions last year led to a reduction in the number of cancers diagnosed.

The registry’s annual report said an estimated decrease of 14 per cent in detections pointed to the “potential scale” of Covid-19’s impact on other healthcare.

A separate analysis of data on microscopically verified cancers diagnosed last year showed a reduction of between 10 and 13 per cent, the report said.

The drop in confirmed cancer cases, when compared with previous years, could be partly accounted for by “incomplete registration of cases already diagnosed”, it said.

Prof Deirdre Murray, director of the National Cancer Registry, said there were “clear signals that, as expected in Ireland, the number of cancer diagnoses in 2020 will be lower than in previous years”.

‘Very worried’

Averil Power, chief executive of the Irish Cancer Society, said the organisation was “very worried” over the significant drop in cancers diagnosed last year.

The shortfall in cancers being diagnosed would present a “major challenge” in the coming years, with lengthy waiting lists and disruptions to screening services “all too commonplace” already, she said.

Ms Power said it was frightening to think of the people who were living with cancer but did not know it yet. She added that existing cancer patients were “terrified” of having treatments delayed due to the recent rise in Covid-19 cases.

The registry’s report said there were about 44,000 tumours identified each year between 2017 and 2019.

Not counting non-melanoma skin cancer, the most common cancer diagnoses were for breast and prostate cancer, which made up almost a third of invasive cancers found in women and men respectively.

For men this was followed by bowel and lung cancer, and melanoma of the skin. Lung cancer was the second most common cancer for women, followed by colorectal cancer and melanoma of skin.

Nearly a third of deaths in 2018 were attributed to cancer, with lung cancer the leading cause of death from cancer, the report said.

The second, third and fourth most common cancers to die from in men were bowel, prostate and oesophagus cancer. For women breast, bowel and ovarian cancers were the most common fatal cancers.

The report said there were almost 200,000 cancer survivors in Ireland at the end of 2019, with breast cancer patients making up more than a fifth of the total.

Mortality rates

The research found cancer rates among men had dropped between 2010 and 2019, with mortality rates decreasing or remaining the same across nearly every type of cancer. Rates of cancer detected among women had increased between 2008 and 2019, with mortality rates for most cancers decreasing.

The report said the five-year survival rate from cancer had increased to 65 per cent for the period 2014 to 2018, compared with 42 per cent two decades previous.

There had been “major improvement” in survival rates for most major cancers, however, the research noted the chances of survival varied significantly depending on the type of cancer.

Prostate, melanoma of the skin and testis cancer had survival rates of more than 90 per cent, followed closely by breast and thyroid cancer, and Hodgkin lymphoma. Pancreas, liver, oesophagus and lung cancers had much lower five-year survival rates on average, the report said.

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