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Golden Globes Rules Tweaked, Will Factor in Netflix

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. has clarified a dozen points in the Golden Globe rules without any major shakeups — but the rules for film, and especially TV, offer evidence of changes in the entertainment industry.

Highlights of the tweaks:

  • If a project is released simultaneously in theaters and on Netflix, it will be considered a motion picture, rather than a TV show.
  • A TV series must have a minimum running time of 150 minutes, a rule that overrides the previous dictum of six episodes. This applies for both series and acting considerations.
  • Lead actors in a series are defined as those who “drive the narrative of the program.”
  • Producers will receive the Globes for best picture and best TV series, with the Producers Guild defining who’s eligible. The HFPA has been following this practice, but it was never explicitly outlined in the rules.
  • The exception to this is the foreign-language award, which goes to the director.
  • The rules delete any references to press conferences. The mention of these in earlier rules had confused some publicists, who mistakenly thought a press conference was a criterion for eligibility.
  • Officially ineligible: voice-only performances and cameos in which an individual portrays him/herself.

There are 14 film categories and 11 for the TV races.

Some of the changes are trying to keep up with developments in the market, since TV series have offered many variations in the number of episodes or retained the title while changing characters and plot from one season to another. This caused confusion as to what was a series or limited series.

And as digital releases become a part of film distribution, the previous rule had only specified that the classification was based on which platform (e.g. bigscreen or online) hosted the first release.

The organization tweaks its rules annually to clarify key points. Rules changes are recommended by a reminders-list committee, then submitted to the board, with final approval going to all members.

Many rules remain intact, such as in animated film, where 75% of main character action must be animated, and these films will not qualify as best film (either comedy/musical or drama) or foreign-language film.

Lorenzo Soria is the new HFPA president.

Eligibility period is the calendar year, with ballots tallied by Ernst & Young. The 73rd annual Golden Globe nominations will be announced on December 10 and the ceremony will be held January 10.

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