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The Golden Globe Awards are American awards for motion pictures and television programs, given out each year during a formal dinner. Run since 1944 by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the awards are often regarded as the third most publicized awards for movies and television, after the Academy Awards (for film) and Emmy Awards (for television). This is particularly true since 1996, when the HFPA signed a new television broadcast contract.
The Golden Globes are awarded early in the year, based on votes from (as of 2003) 96 mostly part-time journalists living in Hollywood, California and associated with the media outside of the United States. Until 2003, the awards dinner had been scheduled so that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sent out their ballots for their awards only days after the Golden Globe award winners are announced.
The Golden Globe Awards were limited to motion pictures until 1956, when awards for television were added.
Motion picture awards:
The significance of the Golden Globes is sometimes tainted by criticism of the HFPA:
- Membership in the HFPA is not based on journalism credentials and continuing accomplishments. Members are only required to be paid for four published works each year, with the only penalty for not meeting that minimal level is being moved to "inactive" status for that year. Many live on their pensions rather than their work as journalists; as of 2004, some are in their nineties, several others in their eighties. Perhaps only two dozen are working foreign journalists; a larger number are longtime members who freelance infrequently for small overseas publications. Many members make their living at other professions, including teaching, real estate, automobile sales, and film promotion. Duncan Campbell, a correspondent for The Guardian, cites a well-known comment from Groucho Marx: "If they were willing to have me in it, I wouldn't want to join. I've always considered that joining [the HFPA] comes at a dreadful price — your credibility."
- The number of members is arbitrarily restrictive; it has historically been limited to around 90 members, and can grow by no more than five members a year. Membership requires the sponsorship of two existing members, and an applicant can be blackballed by a single member.
- Members appear at times to be more motivated or influenced by the perks and attention they receive than the quality of the work they are evaluating. Movie studios annually arrange elaborate meals where HFPA members can mingle with directors and actors. In 1975, during a media get-together in Dallas, Texas, several members admitted that they "always remember which studios are extra nice to us." In 1981, Pia Zadora received an award after her husband, Meshulam Riklis , flew the HFPA to Las Vegas. Even into the 21st century, studio-run screenings for the HFPA usually feature cocktails or dinner or both, which is not the case for other media screenings. Its members are invited to every premiere, which is not the case for other journalists.
- A disproportionate number of members are photographers. Anita Weber, thirty-year veteran of the organization, noted that "everyone comes in as a writer but many eventually become photographers as well, because there's more money in photos." Studios require actors to pose for individual photos with every HFPA member who attends, access which makes such a career shift more lucrative.
In 1996, a former HFPA president founded the International Press Academy as a more open, broader-based, "less easily manipulated" operation than the HFPA.
In recent years the HFPA have made an effort to reform their association and address some of the criticisms. Gifts are now limited to bottles of champagne, flowers and movie trinkets. A recent HFPA president, Dagmar Dunlevy, was a bona fide journalist, rather than an occasional freelancer. With the income from the NBC broadcasting deal, the association has been making substantial donations to film-oriented charities. As an L.A. Weekly film critic noted in the documentary : "Even though the Golden Globe people are by and large idiots, they often make better choices than the Oscars."
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