Gift nominations: New spotlight on Golden Globes


 The  focus of interest is once again the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the foreign press association in Hollywood. This is a group of only 87 film journalists. ©

 The y come from different countries, work in Hollywood and publish their articles in media outside the United States. This small body, which sees itself as a non-profit organization, has an exceptionally large influence.


 The  members not only get regular access to the big players of the dream factory, they are also ensnared by the studios, invited to star-studded parties and showered with small and large gifts. You decide about the weal and woe of productions that should be the cultural and social image of their time.

“Disconnected from the zeitgeist”

This year, however, the aftertaste should be pale – the prices are under a glaring spotlight. ©

 The  selection of the nominees has been criticized for a long time, “it seems to be disconnected from the zeitgeist in Hollywood and the cultural landscape as a whole”, as the industry journal “Deadline” described it. ©

 The  barrel overflowed with it.

Because “Black Lives Matter” and “#MeToo” apparently passed the HFPA without a trace. Instead, “Emily In Paris” was nominated for best TV series in the “Comedy” category, a production that, according to critics, was bursting with clichés. ©

 The  series was not only torn apart in the press, there was also a great outcry on social networks. Even a writer on the series “Emily In Paris” spoke up in public, ashamed of the nomination, and expressed regret that non-socially relevant productions got the chance to win the award.

Exclusive trip to Paris


 The  fact that the jury members are often attracted by the production studios with incentives such as hotel stays or dinners is nothing new. But now it came out how the HFPA got to know “Emily in Paris”. ©

 The  “Los Angeles Times” devoted itself to the events surrounding the nominations on Sunday in a detailed article for which it interviewed around 50 press agents from studios, managers and HFPA members.

In the case of “Emily In Paris”, Paramount Network, the studio that later sold the series to Netflix, invited around 30 HFPA members to Paris for a lavish set visit in 2019. It included two nights in a five-star hotel and an exclusive lunch at the Musee des Arts Forains, a private museum with historical rides that appears in the series. “©

 The y treated us like kings and queens,” one participant was quoted anonymously as saying.

“Culture of corruption”


 The  newspaper concludes that there is “the widespread assumption that members can be comforted and influenced by special attentions”. ©

 The  committee is so small that it is a good target for studios, but this year there were even more questions than usual about its legitimacy, its qualifications and its ethical claims. In view of the public debates about discrimination, racism and sexism in society, changes are essential. Many interviewed members of the HFPA would see it that way. But they had asked for anonymity out of concern about discrimination in the association, according to the “LA Times”.

Actress Lily Collins in a scene from Collection/Netflix

“Emily In Paris” has a chance of winning a trophy. ©

 The  series is not the favorite of the critics.

Displeasure with the influence and composition of the board also became apparent when a court case against the HFPA was dropped last November. A US federal judge had thus saved the association from great adversity. Norwegian journalist Kjersti Flaa sued the HFPA after being denied membership. Flaa had argued in the indictment that the organization institutionalized a “culture of corruption”. It is a kind of cartel that excludes qualified applicants and also subsidizes its members inappropriately. ©

 The y accepted “thousands of dollars in earnings” from the studios, networks, and celebrities they award trophies to. All of this is hidden behind a “code of silence”.


 The  subject returns


 The  proceedings were discontinued because Flaa did not suffer any financial or professional disadvantages by rejecting her application, it said. In the meantime, the Norwegian has been joined by other journalists who want to force changes to the important price through legal channels. Another complaint has been filed, the case is pending. “It has been like this for many years, and it continues to do so,” Flaa told the LA Times. “It is time for you to realize that you need to change.”

It wasn’t the first incident that ended up in court. In the past, the HFPA was repeatedly confronted with scandals, allegations of marketability and serious criticism of the content. In 1999, for example, the former members had to return expensive watches that they had received from a film studio. ©

 The  gifts were part of a PR campaign for the Sharon Stone film “©

 The  Muse”. But the incident did not result in more than embarrassing headlines. Similarly, in 2011, when former HFPA employee Michael Russell sued the association on charges that his former colleagues had accepted money, vacations and countless gifts “in exchange for support or votes for certain films.” A counterclaim and great attention followed. Both cases were finally settled in 2013 without causing any major fuss.

Image problems remain

What was left was a bad image, the Globes sometimes turned into a laughing stock, even on the stage of the ceremony itself. In 2016, the comedian Ricky Gervais described the awards as “worthless”, “a piece of metal that has a few nice, old, confused journalists want to give you personally so that they can meet you and take a selfie with you ”.

To polish up its image and that of the Golden Globe, the HFPA has taken several steps in recent years. Millions have been spent on philanthropic causes and in support of artists. Money also went to universities and journalist organizations. ©

 The  award ceremony was also gradually made more serious. ©

 The  association was also aware of the lack of diversity in the committee and wanted to work on it, after promising series with socially critical elements came up empty-handed this year. At least for this year, efforts will come too late in view of the award ceremony on February 28th.

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Gift nominations spotlight Golden Globes


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