The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s nominations for the annual Golden Globes are usually unpredictable and often questionable—the only surprising thing about The Good Doctor’s Freddie Highmore earning a nom this year is that it wasn’t that surprising. But Monday’s nominations for next month’s awards notably excluded people of color who both made and starred in critically praised films like Get Out, The Big Sick, and Girls Trip—and once again sparked the conversation surrounding Hollywood’s systemic lack of representation that has defined the past several awards seasons.
These frustrations were best encapsulated Tuesday by Jada Pinkett Smith, who voiced her disappointment on Twitter over the HFPA’s dismissal of her movie Girls Trip, particularly the work of her hilarious costar Tiffany Haddish. Haddish was the film’s breakout star, and her performance has so far garnered a Best Supporting Actress win from the New York Film Critics Circle, as well as very serious Oscar buzz. But as Pinkett Smith claims, the HFPA didn’t even watch their film.
“[Haddish] was hands down the funniest person on screen in 2017 and we couldn't get eyes on the film or a press conference,” she tweeted. “How could a nom happen & how much more critical acclaim must a movie have to simply get a screening?”
Pointing out that Kumail Nanjiani's The Big Sick—which didn’t get a single nomination—and Jordan Peele’s Get Out were similarly disregarded by the HFPA, Pinkett Smith urged the entertainment industry to do a better job of recognizing art from people of color.
“Hollywood has systems in place that must learn to expand its concepts of race, gender equality and inclusion in regard to its perceptions of art across the board. … Moments like this occur so that we have an opportunity to discuss, recreate and regenerate old paradigms,” she writes. “It's all about growth.”
Pinkett Smith has aired these grievances before, boycotting the 2016 Oscars with husband Will Smith, Spike Lee, and others as the #OscarsSoWhite movement gained steam. In response to the movement, the Academy made strides to improve diversity among its members; the following year, Moonlight—written and directed by black men, and primarily starring people of color—won Best Picture.
What Pinkett Smith is arguing for now is less about results and more about process. The way the HFPA’s voting process is currently set up, a film’s chances can be predetermined based on how aggressively it is brought to the attention of those who cast the nominations. As it stands right now, Pinkett Smith points out, films with POC-led casts like Girls Trip are the ones that end up at a disadvantage. If the Globes’ nominations are ever going to be a better representation of everything in a given year, Pinkett Smith’s right: something fundamental will have to change.