×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Golden Globes: It’s Time to Pay Respect to Hollywood’s Foreign Press

It’s become an annual awards-season tradition to mock the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. and the Golden Globes. But when xenophobia is on the rise and journalists are considered the “enemy of the people,” this is a good time to give a pat on the back to the HFPA.

For one, philanthropy: the organization has given $3.25 million to 80 nonprofits this year; $29 million over past three decades.

Second, the show on NBC is fun, which is no minor accomplishment.

Third, the HFPA has saluted TV and film work that “highbrow” voting groups ignored, from Gene Wilder in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” to Hugh Jackman in “The Greatest Showman,” while the organization’s voters awarded “The X-Files” and “Mad Men” before anybody else did.

But mainstream media have been sniping for decades. Journalists love to write about other journalists, especially negative stories. The HFPA is an easy target because no other group of reporters has a multi-million-dollar TV deal. (Every year, there is griping: “How did this small group get to be so powerful?”)

Full disclosure: I was paid in 2017 to help the HFPA with its 75th anniversary book. I found the officers and most members, led by president Meher Tatna, honorable and hardworking.

Yes, there are a few members who are real lulus. But that’s true with any group of media members. (We all know some wack jobs in the New York and L.A. critics voting groups, but they get a free pass from fellow journalists.)

Working on the anniversary book, I found out a lot about the HFPA, including that members have been shrugging off the criticism for decades. But at one point, they struck back.

After the 1992 movie “Scent of a Woman” won three Golden Globes, including best picture, the New York Times wrote another in its long line of sneering articles, implying something was fishy, since HFPA members had been flown from L.A. to N.Y. for a press junket on the film. (Junkets are standard in the industry and Al Pacino was unable to come to L.A. for the film. But then, New Yorkers love to blast anything connected to Hollywood, particularly awards shows.)

The HFPA took out an ad in the Feb. 17, 1993, issue of Variety in the form of an open letter. It said the Times article was not only insulting to the HFPA, it was insulting to all Globes honorees.

The ad stated, in part, “It has always been easy for some of our colleagues in the domestic press to dismiss our work … We urge them to take a long, hard look at their attitudes toward the foreign press, an attitude that we find at best condescending and at worst xenophobic.”

In January 2017, Meryl Streep won the HFPA’s Cecil B. DeMille Award and her galvanizing acceptance speech focused on politics and the growing culture of bullying in America. Streep said, “All of us in this room belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now. Think about it: Hollywood, foreigners and the press.”

There are some dangerous people in the world, so it’s counter-productive to take potshots at each other instead of focusing on real problems.

It’s hard to paint the HFPA as victims or underdogs. They have more power than most other journalists; studios court them for their international coverage and for the influence of the Globes.

However, these things are mentioned far less than Pia Zadora or an NBC scandal from the 1960s. But it’s a reminder of an old Hollywood truism: When you get a reputation, it’s hard to shake.

Especially if you’re a journalist or have an accent.

More Film

  • Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be Home

    Film News Roundup: Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be Home for Christmas'

    In today’s film news roundup, “I Won’t Be Home for Christmas” is in the works, the NFL has made a documentary about female team owners and D Street Pictures has signed Kenny Gage and Devon Downs to direct the dance feature “Move.” HOLIDAY PROJECT Miramax has acquired film rights to Lauren Iungerich’s holiday-themed screenplay “I [...]

  • Michael B. Jordan arrives at the

    Michael B. Jordan to Star in Warner Bros.' 'Methuselah' Movie

    Michael B. Jordan will produce and star in a “Methuselah” movie for Warner Bros., based on the Biblical story of a man who lived to be 969 years old. Jordan will produce through his Outlier Society production company along with Heyday’s David Heyman and Jeffrey Clifford. Warner Bros. has been developing the project for many [...]

  • Davids Chief Piera Detassis on Revamping

    Davids Chief Piera Detassis on Revamping Italy's Top Film Awards

    Piera Detassis recently became the first woman to head the David di Donatello Awards, Italy’s equivalent of the Oscars. Since then she’s been busy overhauling the inner workings of the prizes that will be awarded on Wednesday. Detassis, also the editor of Italian film publication Ciak, spoke exclusively to Variety about the challenges she’s faced [...]

  • Matteo Garrone's 'Dogman' Leads Davids Awards

    Matteo Garrone's 'Dogman' Leads Davids Awards Race

    With 15 nominations Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman” leads the pack of contenders for Italy’s David di Donatello Awards in a watershed year for the country’s top film nods that sees highbrow auteur titles reaping most of the David love just as local box-office grosses hit an all-time low. Garrone’s gritty revenge drama is followed closely with [...]

  • steven spielberg Apple TV Plus

    Steven Spielberg's Apple Appearance Riles Up Social Media: 'Big Old Mixed Message'

    Many Hollywood heavyweights flocked to Apple’s Cupertino, Calif. headquarters to help reveal the tech giant’s revamped steaming service Apple TV+ on Monday — but one such legend was so polarizing he became a national trending topic on Twitter for simply showing his face. Steven Spielberg was the first to appear in a dramatic short film [...]

  • Michael Lynne

    Former New Line Co-Chairman Michael Lynne Dies at 77

    Michael Lynne, the former co-chairman of New Line Cinema who played a key role in shepherding “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, has died at his New York home. He was 77. Lynne’s death was confirmed Monday by longtime business partner Robert Shaye, who told Variety that Lynne’s family had informed him of Lynne’s passing [...]

  • Marisa Liston

    Sony Veteran Marisa Liston to Lead Lionsgate Movie Publicity

    Lionsgate has named Sony Pictures veteran executive Marisa Liston to lead all feature film and motion picture group publicity and communications strategy. Liston, who departed Sony in late 2018 after 17 years, has been assigned the newly created title of head of global earned media and communications. She will oversee domestic and international feature film [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content