The Golden Globes–aka the Hollywood Foreign Press Association– must be going crazy at this point. They lost their intiial case against Dick Clark Productions. The court ruled that DCP has the right to keep producing the Golden Globes show for NBC and negotiating with them–without the greedy HFPA’s involvement. So the HFPA has filed a motion for a final judgement, saying they can’t wait for an appeal to come through–thinking that the court will reverse itself and give them back control of the show. Buried in the HFPA’s latest filing are a couple of interesting items. First, the group spent $3.7 million on legal fees last year–half of what they get from NBC for licensing their name. That alone must be sending them over the wall.
But second–is this little assertion: .“…HFPA’s members work without pay throughout the year to put the Golden Globes together and the production and broadcast of the television show requires close cooperation between HFPA’s members and dcp. There is no assurance that HFPA’s members will be able to cooperate with dcp on future Golden Globe Awards Shows, given dcp’s deceitful and devious conduct towards its supposed “partner.”
Well, that part about “members work without pay” is not exactly true. On its annual Form 990, the HFPA lists a bunch of salaries for its officers. In 2010, the total was up to $191,000 spread over 11 people. Phil Berk, who’s not even the president anymore, gets $61,000 a year. Not only that, the HFPA spent over $671,000 on travel expenses in 2010-2011 to go in luxury to film festivals around the world–although they are often subsidized in junkets by the studios. They paid $26,000 for rent of the building they occupy in West Hollywood–their clubhouse, so to speak. On the most recent Form 990 they also list $200,000 for unspecified “outside services” and $122,000 for “meetings and press conferences” and another $96,000 to run their website.
Of course, the ironic thing about all of this is that HFPA does no more than other critics group in any other city. They see all the movies and TV shows that come out in a year, and then make judgements about who should get which prizes. The New York and Los Angeles Film Critics Circles do the same thing, put on modest dinners, and hand out awards. The difference is that the HFPA–with members of questionable credentials–does the same thing while spending millions of dollars. It will be interesting to see how lawyers for DCP–which its parent company, Red Zone, apparently wants to sell–will respond to this latest motion.