The Hollywood Foreign Press and Golden Globes were rocked this morning by an explosive story in the LA Times. Writers Stacy Perman and Josh Rottenberg are to be commended. They have done an exhaustive job examining the inner workings of this awards group. Someone on the inside was an effective source for them, and it shows.
The story reveals the rift between the old regime of grifters within the group and the newer or younger members who take it seriously and want change.
When I saw the story this morning, for a minute I thought I wrote it. I reported on the Globes’ crazy finances and malfeasance for years. And nothing changed. NBC kept paying them millions, they accepted it tax free thanks to 501 3 c status, and life went on. When a colleague spotted the then-president of the HFPA getting fitted on Rodeo Drive for a free, very expensive suit to wear on Golden Globe night, in exchange for a promotional credit at the end of the show, I never heard the end of it.
And yet, over the years, the HFPA did try to change. An effort was made by many members to turn the place around despite lawsuits and scandals– which I covered and are now included in the LA Times story. There were always rumors of one member, in particular, selling tickets to the Golden Globes show for huge mark ups. What the LA Times didn’t get was the saga of former president Phil Berk, who wrote a crazy book about the Globes inadvertently revealing their worst inner workings. He was banned from the group for a couple of years.
The Globes used to be shown on CBS, which people forget. Then CBS caught wind of their shenanigans and they were bounced. NBC has never cared because they needed a counterbalance to the Oscars, on ABC, and figured it’s not an election of public officials, they do bring out movie stars, so who cares how they do it? They may be right. The Globes air next Sunday, with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosting and making jokes about all of this. There won’t be anyone in a live audience, so they can just riff away. I, for one, will be watching.
PS Regarding the HFPA’s omitting several Black films this year: Really few remember this, but I wrote in 2005 that Leonardo DiCaprio beat Don Cheadle for Best Actor in a Drama because, as I reported, Jamie Foxx was the winner in Musical/Comedy for “Ray” and, to quote my piece, “they couldn’t have two Black actors win.” So Cheadle, whose work in “Hotel Rwanda” was excellent, lost to DiCaprio, for “The Aviator.” I can still remember being told this while the show as on the air.