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Congressional Black Caucus Members Call For IRS Investigation Into Golden Globes’s Tax Exempt Status, New Censorship Law In Russia, Continued Oscars Backlash, Update on Responses to Russian Invasion, Awards Recap, Johnny Brown Remembered

The Golden Globes’s tax exempt status is under question by Congressional Black Caucus members, multiple media outlets curb Russian broadcasts amid new censorship law, continued backlash against the Oscars, additional actions against Russia in response to invasion, winners announced for the Spirit Awards, Ace Eddie Awards and Art Directors Guild Awards, and Johnny Brown is remembered. 

By Lauren Cali 
March 11, 2022 

Congressional Black Caucus Members Call For IRS Investigation Into Golden Globes Organization’s Tax Exempt Status
The HFPA (Hollywood Foreign Press Association) is ‘extremely disappointed’ in Congressional Black Caucus’s call for the IRS to investigate the Golden Globes organization- The Wrap reports .

Joyce Beatty and Brenda L. Lawrence sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig on Monday. “We believe at minimum, HFPA’s current leadership has colluded to benefit themselves, either directly or indirectly and therefore violated the IRS statute,” which bars the organization from operating for the benefit of private interests.”

In a statement: 
“The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is extremely disappointed to have read about the concerns from Representatives Beatty and Lawrence in the media. Though the Association still hasn’t received any letter or other forms of communication, it has reached out to their offices to discuss their concerns, provide answers to their questions, and make them aware of the significant changes and reforms the Association has already undertaken. Unfortunately, it seems their letter is taken largely from previous news accounts that have misrepresented or omitted the significant and thorough progress made in bringing on diverse members at all levels and the imposition of strict new guidelines banning all gifts and implementation new ethics and conduct rules. We look forward to the opportunity to sharing our progress with the Representatives and their staff soon.”

New Censorship Law In Russia
CBS News, ABC News, and CNN have all curbed their broadcasts in Russia in response to a new censorship law there, Deadline reports . The law threatens prison terms for “fake news” about the war in Ukraine, and various news organizations are assessing the situation. 

CBS said, “CBS News is not currently broadcasting from Russia as we monitor the circumstances for our team on the ground given the new media laws passed today.” 

ABC News’ foreign correspondent James Longman and crew have been reporting from Moscow and have paused their broadcasting. 

CNN’s current update for news broadcasting involves correspondents Nic Robertson, Jill Dougherty and Fred Pleitgen who are currently in Russia along with staffers in the Moscow bureau. CNN is keeping correspondents in Russia, but, “will stop broadcasting in Russia while we continue to evaluate the situation and our next steps moving forward.” 

The British Broadcasting Company, who halted news coverage, has resumed broadcasting from Russia - The Wrap reports. “We will tell this crucial part of the story independently and impartially, adhering to the BBC’s strict editorial standards. The safety of our staff in Russia remains our number one priority.”

As updates continue to happen, you can monitor the story here

Update on Oscars Backlash
Since The Academy’s decision to remove several awards categories from its live broadcast, backlash continues, including from filmmakers Jane Campion and Denis Villeneuve and from  professionals in the categories cut from the show.  

Campion, Oscar nominee this year, spoke out at the ADG Awards: 

“I want to take this moment to express particularly how important production designers [are] to create any good film. I don’t know what their reasons were, it’s hard for any directors to understand that choice. I would definitely have included design in the main body of the awards because the designer is one of the very first people I bring onto a team. All the work that you do as designers is so vital, and it is really deeply valued by myself and your peers.” 

Denis Villeneuve, filmmaker for Dune , said: 
“The thing is that filmmaking is about teamwork. It’s like a football team. It’s like you have different kinds of jobs that everyone needs to be at the top of their game; otherwise the movie collapses, you know? It’s a team effort. In the media it’s all about the directors, and of course, all about the actors. All the people that are working in the shadows, they need to be seen and to be recognized, and these award shows are made for them. I think that the Oscars are going through an identity crisis.” 

The American Cinema Editors at the 2022 Ace Awards spoke out as well - Deadline reports . Andrew Weisblum, editor of the film Tik Tik Boom said “I don’t think that [cutting the editing category is] … the answer to the ratings problem. I’m happy that I’m at a place tonight that understands the mission and the integrity of supporting our craft and celebrating its value.”

Notably, Tom Fleischman resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences resigned in response to the organization’s plan to reformat and pre-tape eight categories and weave them into live broadcast of the 2022 Academy Awards  - Variety reports .  An industry veteran, Fleischman is a 5-time Oscar nominee for rerecording mixing with almost 200 credits to his name. He won the Academy Award for best sound mixing in 2012 for his work on Martin Scorsese’s family period piece Hugo after being nominated four times before, for Reds , The Silence of the Lambs , Gangs of New York ” and The Aviator . Fleischman also serves on the board of directors of the Cinema Audio Society. That organization released a statement regarding the Academy’s widely criticized decision earlier this week.

Update on Responses to Russian Invasion
As the invasion on Ukraine continues, Netflix and TikTok have suspended service in Russia, and a coalition of songwriters has expressed a desire for music licensing to be halted - Variety reports. 

Netflix initially paused several projects, and has now suspended its service completely in Russia. Netflix is also refusing to carry 20 Russian free-to-air propaganda channels that it could be required to host under a new law that is not yet fully implemented. The streaming service is  currently streaming the 2015 documentary “ Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom ,” and is providing free access to people in the U.S with Netflix accounts. 

Russian TikTok users can no longer post videos as a result of the censorship law. “In light of Russia’s new ‘fake news’ law, we have no choice but to suspend live streaming and new content to our video service while we review the safety implications of this law.  We will continue to evaluate the evolving circumstances in Russia to determine when we might fully resume our services with safety as our top priority.”

Musicians have joined in on the activism. Songwriter Ross Golan started a petition asking the music community to stop licensing songs in Russia for as long as the nation wages war on Ukraine. In his podcast, he stated “The global songwriting business stands with Ukraine. I refuse to have my songs licensed in Russia while their government invades Ukraine.” Thus far, 94 songwriters have signed the petition. 

Awards Recap
Multiple awards shows occurred this weekend:

The Film Independent Spirit Awards celebrated a diversity-focused ceremony on March 6th- Variety reports . The film and television business has been under pressure to offer more opportunities to underrepresented creators and people of color and that push to diversify was amplified at several points during the show. The Lost Daughter, a psychological drama that marked the directing debut of Maggie Gyllenhaal, won best feature. Gyllenhaal said she had been the beneficiary of the push to “make space for different perspectives and voices” and noted that it was rare to see a film like hers that was told from a female perspective.  Reservation Dogs, a film created by Sterlin Harjo, a citizen of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, won Best Ensemble Cast in a New Scripted Series and Best New Scripted Series. The comedy about four Indigenous teenagers growing up in Oklahoma was the most honored television show, with two awards.The full list of winners can be found here

At the ACE Eddie Awards, The Oscars were referenced throughout. ACE President Kevin Tent said, “There might be some setbacks and slights at times which can sting. Today is about us…. We know our value. Any director, producer of any consequence knows that as well.” King Richard took home the big win for Best Edited Feature Film (Dramatic). The full list of winners can be found here

The full list of winners for the Art Directors Guild Awards can be found here

In Memoriam 

Actor, Broadway actor and musician Johnny Brown passed away on March 2nd. Most famous for his role as building superintendent Bookman on the 1907s sitcom “Good Times”, Brown also starred in “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In ”, and more

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Lauren Cali writes the weekly entertainment industry news blog for She’s a Social Media Specialist and a graduate of Elmhurst College.