How the Golden Globes Went From Laughingstock to Power Player


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The HFPA also took advantage of its new notoriety and strengthened its reputation by hiring the savvy PR firm Sunshine Sachs a decade ago. It has also increased its philanthropic contributions significantly. Its website states that it has awarded $ 45 million over the past 28 years. The money went to entertainment nonprofits, college scholarships, and classic movie restoration.

The strange accolades like Mrs. Zadora’s in 1982, which used to be commonplace, have been kept to a minimum. The last really bizarre moment came in 2010 when voters nominated “The Tourist” for best comedy or best musical. (It wasn’t either. But it got the stars of the movie, Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, to the show.) And the members started making fun of themselves too. Ricky Gervais, a frequent host of the Globes, said during the 2016 show that the awards were “a piece of metal that some nice old, confused journalists wanted to give you in person so they could meet you and take a selfie with you.”

Nevertheless everyone got their cut. Publicists were paid to drive customers down the preshow red carpet. Price strategists began tasking studios with advice on manipulating Globes voters. The Los Angeles Times reported in February that an HFPA consultant can receive a fee of $ 45,000 for their work, a bonus of $ 20,000 if the film receives a nomination for Best Picture, and $ 30,000 if the film wins. The fees went to an army of stylists, limo drivers, spray tanners, banquet servers, and red carpet shifts, as well as trade magazines and newspapers that benefited from the additional advertising revenue.

Mainstream news outlets, including the New York Times, covered the Globes ceremony more extensively, generated tremendous online interest and gave the process an aura of legitimacy, even if the awards did not yet compete with the Oscars as a sign of artistic achievement.

“Basically, everyone who was able to be critical enough to have an impact was part of the system: the trade press, the big newspapers, the actors and directors,” said Galloway. “Anyone who could legitimately stand up and say, ‘I don’t believe in it, I don’t,’ had an incentive to keep going until eventually the potential damage to their own image caused them to turn the other way. ”



Robert Dunfee