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Jourdan Bennett-Begaye
Indian Country Today

Even though “Reservation Dogs” didn’t walk away with a Golden Globe Sunday night, the show still makes history and Indian Country is proud.

The creators, cast, and all who were part of the show did something Indigenous people all knew was possible: creating a show that captured the world, using Indian humor, Indigenous stories, and Indigenous talent.

This nomination (plus other wins like the Gotham Awards and American Film Institute honoring) prove to Hollywood and the entertainment industry that Indigenous stories can be told in a beautiful, modern context.

“Reservation Dogs” was one of five nominees for “Best Musical/Comedy Series” for the 79th Golden Globe Awards hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Other shows nominated for the category were “Hacks,” “The Great,” “Only Murders in the Building,” and “Ted Lasso.” HBO’s “Hacks” starring Jean Smart won the award.

Disney’s “Encanto,” an animated film about an Indigenous family living in the mountains of Colombia, won for “Best Motion Picture — Animated.”

The animated film was also nominated for “Best Original Score — Motion Picture” and “Best Original Song — Motion Picture.”

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced the 2022 winners on social media and its website due to the COVID-19 surge. Special emphasis, they say, will be given to their charitable efforts over the years. A small 90-minute ceremony with association members and some recipients of the group’s philanthropic grants was held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where the event is typically held.

(Related: ‘Reservation Dogs’ nominated for a Golden Globe)

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Many were not happy with how the winners were announced, including those in Indian Country. One tweeted, “Oh good can't wait to turn on my TV and root for the first ever Native show nominated for Best TV Series................................. OH WAIT I CAN'T! WHY NOT THIS ISN'T FAIR!”

The four main characters of the show and director Sterlin Harjo presented an award at the 73rd Emmy Awards in September 2021. A televised event that Native people boasted about on social media. Posts filled the social times with the Golden Globe announcement. However, social media was quiet Sunday night.

That the Hollywood Foreign Press Association proceeded with any kind of event came as a surprise to many in Hollywood. The organization came under fire after a Los Angeles Times investigation revealed in February ethical lapses and a stunning lack of diversity — there was not a single Black journalist in the 87-person group. Studios and PR firms threatened to boycott. Tom Cruise even returned his three Golden Globes, while other A-listers condemned the group on social media.

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They pledged reform last year, but even after a public declaration during the 78th show, their longtime broadcast partner NBC announced in May that it would not air the 2022 Golden Globes because, “Change of this magnitude takes time and work.” The broadcaster typically pays some $60 million for the rights to air the show, which ranks among the most-watched awards shows behind the Oscars and the Grammys.

Though often ridiculed, Hollywood had come to accept the Golden Globes as a legitimate and helpful stop in a competitive awards season. And for audiences around the world, it was a reasonably lively night, with glamorous fashion, major stars, the promise of champagne-fueled speeches, and hosts — from Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to Ricky Gervais — that regularly poked fun at the HFPA.

After the NBC blow, it was widely expected that the HFPA would simply sit the year out. Hollywood studios and publicists also largely opted out from engaging with the group as they had in years past, with some declining to provide screeners of films for consideration. When nominees were announced last month, few celebrated publicly.

The press association claims that in the months since its 2021 show, it has remade itself. The group has added a chief diversity officer; overhauled its board; inducted 21 new members, including six Black journalists; brought in the NAACP on a five-year partnership; and updated its code of conduct.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.