Hollywood has long been in love with the Golden Globes. It’s a close relationship. And nobody wants to resolve it, except for the journalists, who complain about the lack of ethics in their cozy partnership.
From time to time a publication (this week it was the Los Angeles Times) reports on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. People are « shocked, shocked! » to find out how much this coterie is celebrated and spoiled and bribed with booty by 87 Hollywood correspondents from all over the world.
And: how white they are. This Sunday will show if this group (which has no black members) voted for people of color. On Friday, # Time’sUp launched a protest campaign calling for the globes two days before the awards ceremony on February 28th.
Among those who answered the call was Globes winner Sterling K. Brown, who Won a globes in 2018 for appearing on NBC’s « This Is Us ». In an Instagram post he wrote:
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To be nominated for a Golden Globe is an enormous honor. Winning one is a dream come true. It can affect an individual’s career … it certainly has to mine. I’m presenting on TV this weekend to honor all of the storytellers, especially those of the color who achieved this extraordinary moment in their careers … AND I have my criticism of the # HFPA 87 people who wield an enormous amount of power. The lack of proxy voting on a board of directors at a recent Hollywood awards show shows a level of irresponsibility that should not be ignored.
An HFPA spokesperson asked for comment on the LA Times article named him « a gross misrepresentation of our organization » and noted that members write for respected publications such as Der Spiegel, Vogue Paris, Rolling Stone, BBC and The Guardian. They described the admission and reaccreditation process as « robust, » with a review by Ernst & Young; Members have to reapply every year. The idea that press junkets influence Globes voters was described as “absurd” by the spokeswoman.
« Our members attend numerous set visits, premieres and press conferences for movies and television programs that have not been nominated for Golden Globes are still winning this, « they said. “We’d also like to make it clear that non-HFPA members, including many major publications in the US and abroad, receive fully paid attendance from Studios in Junkets. The HFPA, on the other hand, pays its own members’ airfare. “
The group was formed in 1943 to gain more access to interviews. In 1947 she held her first award ceremony. It grew organically over time, with a major boost from Dick Clark Productions. Where ratings of other awards are falling, the Globes remain stable, although this may not be the case this Sunday as Tina Fey in New York and Amy Poehler in Los Angeles co-host a pandemic. It’s also about how a frivolous award company behaves during a pandemic. (This year’s trio of Oscar producers is taking notes.)
A year before the pandemic, these seasoned correspondents would be wading through a plethora of live-action, foreign language, and animated films and TV series. They would attend junkets, roundtables, and around 300 press conferences set up just for them. (Documentaries, they don’t have time to assimilate.) They fly (after round of protests at their own expense) to places like London, Paris, and Hawaii and are housed in fancy hotels while interviewing celebrities. Junket invites go to a lot of other media outside of the awards show as well, but anyone who submits a negative story or asks an outrageous question may not be re-invited.
This is nothing new. Most media organizations, including the HFPA, have rules designed to prevent the appearance of inappropriateness or a conflict of interest. However, many writers learn to enjoy the benefits that come in their way. Some are invited to one or the other premiere, get dressed, listen to the speeches, and attend the after-party in hopes of working up the space a bit. You could have lunch at a junket buffet at the Four Seasons Hotel between interviews. During the pandemic, studios and streamers held virtual premier screenings at home with Q&As and free food delivery.
One element that makes the HFPA a particular target for publicist manipulation is its limited and accessible membership. While the academy consists of 9,000 world-famous actors, filmmakers and producers, the Golden Globes are determined by only 87 journalists. Unlike their academy counterparts, they are not highly paid, and their jobs are not necessarily associated with attention, flattery, and a sense of importance … until they become not only a path to a Golden Globe, but an Oscar too. Then people get very, very nice. « They think they’re special, » said an award specialist, who added that SAG nomination committees and academics can be just as eligible.
You can see the growing influence of the Critics Choice Association – 400 national radio, television and online critics, who are giving awards on their own show next month – measured by the increasing amount of loot sent to them. (I saw an HFPA member’s garage piled high with studio loot on the ceiling.) Harvey Weinstein made films for the Globes voters: in 2011, he helped turn My Week with Marilyn into a musical Michelle Williams as the singing Monroe (she received a Comedy / Musical Globes and an Oscar nod). Netflix hired John Legend and Diane Warren to write songs for Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey or The Life Ahead, knowing they had a good chance of earning a Globe nomination that could lead to an Oscar .
When asked why the membership is so low, the HFPA spokesman said there is no limit to the number of members.
« Current membership numbers reflect normal wear and tear and the number of applicants », said the speaker. “In many cases, members move away, drop out or unfortunately die. New members are coming in at roughly the same pace, so membership has been stable. As with any other association, there is an application process for membership. The notion that the HFPA should simply allow or be required to approve any applicant is unrealistic. However, the number of members is unlimited. Active members must be re-accredited every year. “
The real source of the Golden Globes’ clout is that it polishes competitors heading for the show that really matters: the Oscars. What producers like Lynda Obst (who tweeted her support for the HFPA this week) really want is to pile nominations and wins on their ads, from palm fronds in Cannes to gold statuettes. That sells tickets. (Or it will when the theaters reopen.)
I want to make it clear as a bell that as a producer I love the Golden Globes and that the HFPA is full of my friends from around the world who I love and who I do For decades I want to continue to eat and eat For all eternity! 😄
It’s a lot harder to influence 17 branches of Oscar voters, although publicists certainly try. The rules of the academy are being controlled more and more strictly. For years there had been internal complaints about the Academy’s Foreign Language Committee, a small group of Academy members in Los Angeles who had grown accustomed to being treated like royalty and often asked for perks on food and wine. This year the rules were changed and members of the global membership are able to vote as the academy made foreign language films available online. The recent shortlist of 15 international feature films was exemplary.
From talented actors and filmmakers to vulnerable members of the press, Hollywood can make monsters. Some HFPA members submit stories for reputable news organizations. Many are self-employed as employee positions continue to shrink. There are some who sign up for the HFPA website and want to partake of the sizable millions generated by the globes.
This is where the HFPA falls off. They see themselves as a family or an association that needs to be protected. They have become insular and hidden. They’ve given $ 29 million to charities and more in 30 years for scholarships and other programs, but they’re also paying off, fighting for their small power base, and not prioritizing membership growth.
The globes are allowed to move never evade criticism. On this last point, however, diversity can play a role in forcing the hand of its membership. On February 25, the HFPA responded to the LA Times’ allegation that they lack diversity: “We are fully committed to ensuring that our membership reflects communities around the world, including film, television and the world Love artists who inspire and train them. We understand that we need to involve black members as well as members from other underrepresented backgrounds and we will work immediately to implement a plan of action to meet these goals as soon as possible. “
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This article relates to: Awards and tagged Golden Globes, HFPA, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Oscars
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