The secrets of the elite group that rule the Golden Globes

Behind the Golden Globes is a small non-profit organization that once served a noble cause. It was founded in 1943 by a group of foreign journalists and photographers working in the United States. It is meant to serve to gain power and access in Hollywood.

Almost 80 years later, they are the target of all jokes and attacks. Even movie stars are gradually turning against the restricted (and elitist) group of 87 people who vote for the winners of the Golden Globes each year.

The wave of criticism has brought news, especially since some of the world’s most famous actors decided to allay retaliation concerns and put a finger on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA).

Mark Ruffalo was one of those actors. “It is disheartening to see that HFPA, known and benefiting from its engagement among actors and filmmakers, continues to oppose the change that many of the groups wronged because of their culture of secrecy and marginalization continue to demand” , He wrote on social media.

“This is the time to correct the mistakes of the past. And frankly, as a Golden Globes winner, I can’t be proud or happy to have received it. “

Tom Cruise went further and this Monday, May 10th, decided to return three statuettes that had been given to him by HFPA.

The scandal is now reaching global proportions, but the controversy erupted weeks before the March 1 ceremony with an investigative article in the Los Angeles Times that exposed the darker side of the HFPA.

A diversity problem

Almost always regarded as the gala that is the poor relative of the Oscars, the Golden Globes have almost always been the target of jokes, even by the presenters themselves. Ricky Gervais, perhaps the most famous presenter of the ceremony, who repeated his presence despite several controversies, said the globes were “to the Oscars what Kim Kardashian was to Kate Middleton”.

HFPA would earn a bad rap among actors and filmmakers for the choices it had made over the years. More recently, he skipped several critically acclaimed films from the nominees and was spearheaded by cast members with black protagonists – when those films were directly added to the list of the best drawn up by other groups and associations.

According to the Los Angeles Times investigation, the HFPA membership list – which is not publicly known – has 87 names and little or no diversity. Not a single black person is admitted to the group who rarely has the opportunity to add new members. The last one was Meher Tatna, former president, who left in 2002. And there are very few cases where new submissions are accepted.

The court recently upheld the HFPA in a case by Norwegian journalist Kjersti Flaa, whose application was denied. Flaa accused them of promoting “a culture of corruption”, acting as a kind of cartel that monopolizes access to the press while promoting connections without money to studios without independence.

This lack of diversity and representativeness was pointed out by critics as one of the reasons for the strange decisions. But it won’t be the only one, as is evident not only from Flaa’s allegations and the conclusions of the investigation article in the Los Angeles Times.

Doubtful connections

One of the stories revealed by the American newspaper reported about the trip of 30 HFPA members to Paris to see the recordings of the Netflix series “Emily In Paris”. They were “treated like kings and queens,” according to a member who was on the trip and wanted to remain anonymous.

They stayed two nights in a five-star hotel in the city center, where their stay can cost more than a thousand euros a night. Interestingly, “Emily In Paris” was even nominated twice for the Golden Globes when no one predicted it – not least because the critical reception of the series was lukewarm despite its success on the platform. A fact that raised the suspicion of a possible preferential treatment in order to repay the perks.

An anonymous source linked to Amazon confessed to the LA Times that HFPA members “live for events rather than live for the love of movies – the way they are treated is more important.” “You always have to have good receptions in elegant places. If you don’t, you will hear a lot of complaints. They make a point of telling everyone. “

Doubts have also been expressed about who the HFPA members are. In 2015, Vulture magazine attempted to reveal the identity of several elements, noting that “although some are legitimate and critical journalists [de cinema]”Many are just people who jump from event to event and are” more interested in taking a picture with the respondent than in asking them specific questions “.

While all HFPA members are expected to produce several journalistic works – to justify keeping them as active members – the truth is that the majority produce very little. In addition to a small elite group, “Geier” says, most of them can “write four or five articles a year”.

The status of a not-for-profit organization and the aura of independence it expects were also questioned. According to the Los Angeles Times, the HFPA paid around 1.5 million euros to its members in the fiscal year that ended in June 2020. Values ​​justified not only by written articles but also by various activities such as watching foreign films or moderating events. The payment policy is in contrast to other academies and organizations whose members do not receive such benefits.

According to the American newspaper, which quoted an anonymous member who dared to accept any kind of unpaid activity, this was frowned upon within the HFPA. “Doing something without getting paid makes it harder for others to get paid for their work,” he will have heard from a colleague.

The reaction

In the face of mounting criticism, HFPA was forced to act. Also in February, she put forward a plan to ensure members of other races and backgrounds are included in order to diversify the cast. This plan would also include a 50 percent membership increase to take effect over the next 18 months. They also promised to create new posts such as the Director for Diversity, Equality and Inclusion.

The change was clearly not enough. To the criticism of the various actors who have been silent for many years – although they weren’t the Oscars, the Golden Globes were seen as an opportunity for many actors and filmmakers to gain recognition; and that ambition could be limited if they criticize the organization – names like Amazon and Netflix, which announced in May that they would end all activities planned with HFPA, have been added.

“Netflix does not believe that these new guidelines can solve the systemic problem of diversity and inclusion problems affecting HFPA,” said Ted Sarandos, CEO of Netflix.

One of the worst blows came this Monday, May 10th, with NBC’s announcement that it would not broadcast the Golden Globes planned for 2022 for exactly the same reason. “We continue to believe that HFPA is determined to make a serious change. However, changes of this magnitude take time and labor. We believe HFPA takes time to do well. That way, NBC won’t be broadcasting the Golden Globes in 2022. Assuming the organization goes ahead with its plan, we hope to get back to the broadcasts in January 2023. “

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