Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Ahead of the Golden Globes, we ask: Why the hell do we give the HFPA so much power?

Lady Gaga embracing her Golden Globe in 2019.
Lady Gaga embracing her Golden Globe in 2019.
Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

Every winter, the Golden Globes serve as the kickoff for Awards Season. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual awards are not included on the list of accolades necessary to obtain EGOT status, but those in the film and TV industry still vie for a coveted nomination and campaign hard to take home a trophy.

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So who exactly is in the HFPA? And how do they decide on the list of nominees? Well, the organization is small yet somehow mighty: Variety reports that just 87 people were members in 2019; the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which votes on the Oscars, has a membership more than 10 times that size. The HFPA only accepts a few new members each year, but the eligibility criteria is basically just proof that you’re a Southern California-based journalist who cover Hollywood for news outlets in 55 countries (including nations in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East) and has been paid for at least four articles published in the previous year.

This means an extremely small group of people are responsible for deciding the nominees and winners of one of Hollywood’s most high-profile honors. This also means that it’s easy to sway a few votes in your direction after a lavish cocktail party with a pricey swag bag. The latter observation has been the subject of such frequent industry scrutiny that it’s even been acknowledged in opening monologue jokes made by various Golden Globes hosts throughout the years.

So why, exactly, do we give the HFPA so much power and hold the Golden Globes in such high regard? That’s the topic of conversation on this week’s episode of The A.V. Club’s podcast Push The Envelope.

Check out the episode above to hear editor-in-chief Patrick Gomez and senior writer Katie Rife’s full conversation about the 2020 Golden Globe nominations and how they compare to the recent SAG Awards nominations—as well as interviews with Golden Globe nominees Daniel Kaluuya (Judas And The Messiah) and Rosamund Pike (I Care A Lot)—or read a short excerpt below.

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Patrick Gomez: As much as the Golden Globes are a good time—you know, everyone loves to see a good drunken celebrity because they are able to drink to the ceremony, which is rare compared to some of the othersand the hosts are usually pretty fantastic. I’m very excited for Tina Fey and Amy Poehler this year. But other than that, the Globes can be a little bit of a running joke because it is a very small pool of journalists who make these decisions, and make these nominations, be they what they are, which can be a little puzzling sometimes.

Katie Rife: I feel like every year we all have this moment where we just reflect as to why these few dozen people have so much power, when no one’s even really sure who they are. Oh, Hollywood Foreign Press. I really do think that a big part of the appeal is because these are like the loose and fun award shows. That’s one of the reasons why it became a big deal. And the other one is it’s serendipitous timing coming right before the Oscars....

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To hear Gomez and Rife dig into the actual nominations and how they stack up against the SAG nominations—as well as the interviews with Daniel Kaluuya and Rosamund Pike—check out this week’s episode of Push The Envelope. And remember to subscribe, like, and comment to support future episodes of the podcast.

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