The Golden Globes are completely meaningless from “a scandal-riddled organization aired by a production company desperate for money on a network praying for ratings,” charges Hollywood’s ultimate insider, Nikki Finke. But the real crime is Hollywood’s blind eye to the shenanigans year after year.
Finke’s annual screed against The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which oversees the Globes, has become as much a feature of awards season as Meryl Streep’s lock on an annual Globe nomination.
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Finke is so disgusted with the organization, she won’t even cover the show. The behind-the-scenes machinations have long been one of Hollywood’s dirty little secrets. In fact, “the entire entertainment industry ridicules the awards,” she asserts in a column published today (Dec 13).
Yet, come Jan. 13 when the curtain rises on the two-hour NBC special, A-list celebrities, studio moguls, media bigwigs and Hollywood’s players will all be there. Stars will graciously accept awards, thank their hosts dearly and give heart-felt acceptance speeches.
And that may be the real scandal. The Globes have become a form of pure corruption. So many facets of the industry have bought into the HFPA over the years, nobody is willing to do anything about it. Its a Perfect Storm of money, power and greed.
Even A-list actors (supposedly with “integrity”) show up every year because of the national television exposure. No small thing, when “out-of-sight, out of mind” is the kiss of death in Hollywood. The nominations and awards also make great resume stuffers.
Sweating the stinkers your studio cranked out this year? No problem; rub the HFPA the right way (usually by the palm) and you can maybe buy a nomination, or even an award, according to Finke. What fat cat wouldn’t want that lifeline in a bad year.
What’s more, HFPA members apparently come pretty cheap. A few cocktail parties, some celebrity schmoozing, exclusive access for interviews and an occasional lavish gift or two, and the fix is as good as in.
Keeping the network on board also seems to be no problem. Award shows are relatively cheap to produce and the talent usually works for free, or at most a swag bag filled with sponsor-provided goodies.
As long as the Globes guarantees A-list talent in the audience, the show will go on. Viewers dying to see their favorite stars will always watch, making it easier for the network to jack up advertising rates. So what if the host ridicules the show; that only adds to the fun.
At last count, the association had only 85 members, nearly all free-lancers. They refuse to let in the real Hollywood press from legitimate foreign news outlets. And for good reason. The HFPA gets its payoff through as much as $30 million in broadcast fees, Finke asserts.
Despite the occasional documentary, media expose and Finke’s annual rants, nothing much has changed in the organization’s 68-year history. And, Finke fears things are only going to get worse.
Dick Clark Productions, which put on the show for years, is now owned by Guggenheim Partners, which also owns Finke’s nemesis, The Hollywood Reporter. The hardline money guys are focused on one thing–the bottom line.
“They could clean up the HFPA but choose not to. (In fact Guggenheim is using THR to propagandize the Globes more than ever.),” she writes.
The Golden Globes are as well known as the Oscars because of their longevity; they’ve been around since 1944 and have closely coat-tailed the Academy Awards for years. Just keep in mind while you’re watching: The Globes may honor distinction, but they represent Hollywood at its worst.