The Golden Globe Awards Don’t Need Our Attention

Pictured: "2020 Golden Globe Awards" Logo (Photo by: NBC)

Last week’s Los Angeles Times expose into the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and the Golden Globe Awards was pretty damning.

The only reason why the Golden Globe Awards get so much attention is because of the fact that it’s on NBC.  Well, the open bar makes for a laid atmosphere, too.  Take both away and they are no different than other groups of journalists voting for awards.  Oh, wait.  Can we even call them journalists?

“Lots of members aren’t serious journalists,” one member said. “We admit people that are not real journalists because they are not a threat to anyone.”

When you look at the body of awards-voting critics groups, members are typically required to write no less than 50 reviews of 400 words or more on an annual basis.  This is the professional standard.  The HFPA hold to different standards but they get way more attention than regional critics groups.  I’m finding myself having to explain this every year.  I’m in critics groups with way more members.  But because these groups aren’t on NBC, you don’t have the same attention across the country!

I mean, look at the perks of being in the HFPA!

Its members — relatively few of whom work full time for major overseas outlets — are routinely granted exclusive access to Hollywood power players, invited to junkets in exotic locales, put up in five-star hotels and, as Globes nominations near, lavished with gifts, dinners and star-studded parties.

I am in 100% agreement with this:

Given the negative attention the HFPA has so often received, one might ask why Hollywood continues to not only tolerate the organization but actively empower and celebrate it.

If we stop covering them, they will not have the same attention.  I no longer publish the nominations or offer any analysis.  Nor do I make any predictions because there is no way of knowing how the HFPA will vote.  Neither Green Book nor Bohemian Rhapsody were the Best Pictures of 2018.

The LA Times articles told us some information that we already knew.  However, they also went further when it comes to the current membership of 87 journalists.  When you look at the HFPA membership, there is not a single Black member.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nadda.  On top of that, there’s this damning piece of information that may also help explain why Emily in Paris received nominations instead of I May Destroy You.

In 2019, more than 30 HFPA members flew to France to visit the set of the new series “Emily in Paris.” While there, Paramount Network treated the group to a two-night stay at the five-star Peninsula Paris hotel, where rooms currently start at about $1,400 a night, and a news conference and lunch at the Musée des Arts Forains, a private museum filled with amusement rides dating to 1850 where the show was shooting

Look at this line.  When it comes to interview opportunities and all that fun stuff, there’s typically a lot of vetting involved.  But if you’re not writing for a major outlet, you won’t be approved more often than not.  But membership in the HFPA?  It’s apparently automatic approval even if you’ve never even heard of the outlet.  Unfortunately, there’s already so much gatekeeping in the industry when it comes to minorities trying to gain access to these opportunities.  I know Black film journalists who aren’t able to get the access that they deserve.

“A lot of them work with outlets I’ve never heard of,” said a longtime publicist who worked until recently with a major studio but declined to be named because the person was not authorized to speak about clients’ business. “We give them amazing access. We are forced to do that because of who they are.”

It gets worse from there.  If you’re a foreign journalist but not a member of HFPA, you are shit out of luck with access to talent.  Look at British journalist Gillian Pringle and her attempts to start up another foreign press association.  Pringle told The Times that “the HFPA would retaliate against any publicist who granted us access to interview talent and therefore no publicist would.”  This is my big shocked face (sarcasm).

Similarly, there are the longtime gifts that come with being awards voters.

Presented with gifts from studios and celebrities, some have turned around and sold them online to make extra money, said the former studio publicist.

Come on, now!  It’s fine if you want to give something away to friends or family as a present.  But to turn around and make money on something you receive for free?  That’s just wrong in my book.  With a pandemic going on, I thought this year would be different.  I thought studios would have turned around to make more donations than spend on nice gifts.  Getting swag for attending a world premiere or participating in the press junket probably won’t be changing.  I know I’m as guilty of posting photos as the next critic/reporter but it’s something I’m trying to improve.

The HFPA released a statement to The Times on Thursday committing to making changes. We’ll see if this actually happens. Until then, we should not–as a collective–give them so much attention.

Until the HFPA commits itself to making noticeable change, Hollywood and film lovers need to stop giving the organization so much power.  They do not deserve it.

The 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards air February 28 at 4-7 PM ET/PT on NBC but I won’t be watching.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.