As the award season gets into full swing and kudos campaigns dominate industry papers, the top officials at the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. are quick to put the group’s Golden Globes into perspective.
“The Golden Globes are just one event for us that happen once a year … the Hollywood Foreign Press provides and does lots of other stuff,” says Lorenzo Soria, HFPA vice president. “The reason why we joined the association, and the business we need the (HFPA) to deal with, is our journalistic activity.”
That activity (primarily the conducting of exclusive press conferences putting HFPA’s 89 members in touch with top talent) is stressed repeatedly by Soria and prexy Mahfouz Doss, both named to four-year terms in June. Speaking during a lunch at Morton’s in L.A. on Dec. 20, the day before Golden Globes nominations came out, Doss said he wants to continue to expand the group while at the same time lengthening Hollywood’s global reach. The 41-year reporting vet, who writes for Egypt’s weekly Watani, sees the org as having played a major role in cultivating overseas markets for U.S. films.
“The (HFPA) really helps the industry. When we write to cover the whole world, we are opening Hollywood to the four corners of the world,” Doss says. “In the last few years, the overseas box office for the majority of the films made in Hollywood has been greater than the box office here in the States. .”
Despite the Golden Globes being a once-a-year event, both Doss and Soria know the event has served to increase the association’s Hollywood clout and expand its reputation, a rep the two men feel is unfairly criticized by those envious of the award ceremony’s increasingly high profile.
“When you are in the limelight, you are going to find more than a couple of people who don’t like you,” Doss says. “The integrity of our members and of the voting is above any discussion, above any reproach.”
Adds Soria, who write for Italian daily La Stampa: “It’s the nature of awards not to be perfect, it’s a matter of taste. The Nobel Prize is criticized, the Pulitzer Prize, the Olympics; wherever you have competition and someone is first and someone else is second or last, somebody is not going to like it.”
So as the 58th edition of the Golden Globes is set to arrive — and quickly pass — the two men keep in mind the broader goals of the Hollywood Foreign Press, which Doss calls “the Hollywood window to the world.”
“We understand the Golden Globes help the marketing of movies,” Soria says. “But my intention is to serve my readers; that’s what I’m paid for.”