We’re just hours away from the Golden Globes on NBC. And maybe for the first time, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association will get some respect, and not the jokes that have trailed them for years.
Readers of this column know that in past years I was very critical of the Globes, and I wasn’t alone. Past mistakes plagued the HFPA as it seemed the group was easily swayed by gifts and campaigning. They also didn’t seem to care if movies were bad as long as their stars showed up. Hence, Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp getting nods for a terrible film like “The Tourist” didn’t do much for the HFPA’s legacy.
And while some quibble about the categories that the Globes place movies in (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is a comedy by their measure) the Globes seem to have gotten it right this year. The only real complaint I’ve heard is the inclusion of the usually great Cate Blanchett in Best Actress, Comedy for the incoherent “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?”
Of course the Globes — which consist of around 90 voting members– did have a number of snubs this year. They were not kind to or didn’t get Clint Eastwood’s “Richard Jewell” or Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women.” They also ignored “Just Mercy.” All three are excellent films, but they are also very American stories. And after all, this is the Hollywood Foreign Press.
Even so, the HFPA kept the Korean blockbuster “Parasite” in foreign film only, even as other awards groups have named it best film of the year. This is to their credit, I think. And they also included “The Farewell” as a foreign film, even though the Oscars aren’t since that film was made by an American company.
Tonight the HFPA will have to withstand jokes from their chosen host, Ricky Gervais, who’s gotten into trouble in the past for lampooning the members of the group who hired him. But the HFPA may be impervious to the criticism at this point, since they feel they’ve grown up.
The big question is whether they will be a bellwether for the Oscars. In past seasons, the Academy has veered away from Globes winners and made other choices. But last year the HFPA gave “Green Book” Best Comedy and resurrected its Oscar chances. Peter Farrelly’s movie wound up winning Best Picture. For once the Globes had to be credited with changing the game. They could be doing that again this year.