Queer, Israeli, Jewish: Ynetnews film critic who joined Golden Globes judge panel

Facing corruption and diversity issues, Golden Globes revamped its voting members, adding global journalists like Ynetnews’ Amir Kaminer; he shares insights on Oscars' chances and notes Israel's war overlooked, unlike Ukraine

Nir (Shoko) Cohen, Sharon Kidon|
Hollywood's award season kicked off overnight Monday with the Golden Globe Awards ceremony. The big winners were Oppenheimer, which took home five awards, and the series Successors, scooping up four awards.
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The 81st annual ceremony underwent a facelift after the Foreign Press Association, which had managed the Golden Globes for many decades, was dissolved in June 2023 following years of scandals related to lack of representation and sexual harassment.
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אמיר קמינר בריאיון ל-ynet Live
Amir Kaminer
(Photo: Shmulik Davidpur)
Nowadays, the ceremony is overseen by its new owners: Dick Clark Productions along with Eldridge Industries.
They announced last October the expansion of the voting journalist pool for the prestigious award to 300. Among them Ynetnews’ and Yedioth Ahronoth’s film critic Amir Kaminer.
"The Foreign Press Association in Hollywood, which voted at the Golden Globes for many years - the second most prestigious award in the Hollywood hierarchy after the Oscars, was considered in the past to be corrupt, problematic, and marred with conflicts of interest," Kaminer told Ynet.
"It also lacked gender and, primarily, racial diversity. So, they decided to wave off various problematic journalists and open up to a more global and diverse voter base. And who is better for that than me? Queer, Israeli, Jewish and from the Middle East - it doesn't get any better than that. I've also been covering the ceremony for four decades.”
Did you apply or were you approached? "An Italian colleague recommended me, and I had to fill out numerous forms and sign several conflict of interest declarations. They are very careful now to prevent the corruption that was there before.”
Did you have to watch all the series and movies to participate? "No, I skipped the series because I knew I couldn't manage that. But I watched a lot of movies - they sent me links from India, the Philippines and wherever else you can imagine - I worked very hard. Since I also attend international festivals, it was easier for me because I had seen those movies there."
Did any of the movies you voted for win? "I think I'm sworn to secrecy about my choices," he says humorously, "but some did. The outcomes were very predictable in most cases. For instance, in the competition between Oppenheimer and Barbie, which were in separate categories - unlike the Oscars, here they are divided into drama and comedy-musical - Oppenheimer won 5-2.
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רוברט דאוני ג'וניור וקיליאן מרפי
רוברט דאוני ג'וניור וקיליאן מרפי
Cillian Murphy and Robert Downey Jr. at the Golden Globes
(Photo: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)
“Remember last summer when both movies were released on the same day and became a global phenomenon, and everyone made a big deal out of it, and the audience finally returned to cinemas, and they made a lot of money? So, Barbie only won for the most profitable film, a new category introduced this year, and for the theme song by Billie Eilish. Oppenheimer bagged the top prizes; Best Director, Best Dramatic Film, and Cillian Murphy won Best Actor."
"I assume that at the Oscars, Oppenheimer will be a prime contender, and some of the winners here will also win Oscars," he answered when asked if the Golden Globes predict Oscars results.
And what about the mentions, or rather the lack thereof, of the Israel-Hamas war at the ceremony? "When the war in Ukraine broke out, everyone talked about it at the ceremony, in speeches, the opening, and so on. This time there was a glaring omission," he says.
"I was sure some of the winners would speak out against us. For instance, I was glad Brian Cox from Succession didn’t win, but I hoped Natalie Portman, who had met with families of hostages in Paris, would wear the yellow ribbon.
“She didn't come, but there was one righteous among the wicked - J. Smith-Cameron (a Succession star nominated for an award at the ceremony), who was seen with the yellow ribbon calling for the return of the hostages."
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