HFPA has room for many views

Org's tastes are somewhat heterogeneous

The ranks of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. are relatively small, but they’re hardly closed when it comes to awards voting.

Indeed, for an organization with only 83 active members voting on awards — compared with thousands for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Screen Actors Guild — tastes are somewhat heterogeneous.

Take “Babel,” a film one Globe voter called “a real HFPA film — a truly international movie.” Nominated for seven awards, including best dramatic picture, among org members this opinion would seem consensus … to a point.

One dissonant member says she was baffled by what she thought were foolish characters in the film: “Don’t go on vacation in Morocco after your baby dies; don’t take other people’s kids across the border; don’t shoot at cars.”

“That’s the unique thing about the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. compared to the Academy or the SAG Awards,” remarks an org colleague. “You have so many different sensibilities, so many different world views and ages.”

This Globes voter cites the comedy/musical actor nomination of Chiwetel Ejiofor (“Kinky Boots”) — a thesp with little or no awards-season promo push going in — as evidence of the eclectic taste of the org … and the flexibility needed to manifest that.

“It’s not like (Ejiofor) is a star and somebody worked on him, and he got a lot of promotion,” he says. “It could be one vote that made the difference.”

That broad organizational makeup isn’t offset by a lot of collaboration — in other words, members who appreciate Leonardo DiCaprio’s work in “Blood Diamond” won’t necessarily try to get on the same page with those who are partial to the thesp’s “Departed” performance (both are tapped this year for the dramatic feature trophy and could cancel each other out). “We actually don’t see that much of each other until the Golden Globes,” adds another HFPA member.

Profiles of the Golden Globe nominees in the major film categories start on page 11. Each capsule contains comments from a panel of HFPA members, each of whom spoke to Variety on the condition that their names are withheld, since the org has a policy about members tipping their hand regarding their voting.

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