The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the presenters of the 65th annual Golden Globe awards will announce this year’s winners at a news conference this evening at the International Ballroom of The Beverly Hilton – instead of on television. The TV telecast of the very public awards ceremony — which lets TV viewers share in the anything-goes celebration of Hollywood’s elite — is gone this year, canceled because of the Screenwriters Guild strike. The strike, since November 5th, against film and TV producers, has the Writers Guild of America refusing to let its members work on the show. Even though the international TV audience will not see awards being presented, the coveted awards will be manufactured and handed out to this year’s winners individually, without the public fanfare.
Manufacturing the Globes
The Golden Globe statue is produced using a combination of metals. The globe is made from one mold through a hot metal casting process. The globe is then plated with 24-karat gold. The 24-karat Golden Globe is …
…encircled with a strip of motion picture film. The award stands about 10 inches high, with the actual globe measuring 4 inches. The yellowish, fabricated faux-marble base takes up the largest portion of the overall award height, at 6 inches high. The monetary value of the trophy is a few hundred dollars, while the sentimental and promotional value can not be measured! Because the Golden Globe winners remain a secret, all the engraving takes place after the awards are announced. A couple of hundred Golden Globe statuettes are produced every three years-creating a three-year supply. Today, the Golden Globes recognize achievements in 25 categories; 14 in motion pictures and 11 in television.
The Golden Globe award has remained virtually unchanged since its debut in 1945. Only the base has been modified a number of years ago. The base was enlarged to its current size to give the statue more balance and height.
For the Greater Good
The Golden Globe Awards are American awards for motion pictures and TV programs, given out each year during a formal dinner. The ceremony has been run as a fundraiser since 1944 by the HFPA.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual Golden Globe Awards have enabled the non-profit organization to donate more than $7.7 million in the past thirteen years to entertainment-related charities, as well as funding scholarships and other programs for future film and television professionals. In the year 2007 the donation was more than 1.2 million dollars, the largest tally ever distributed in the organization’s history. Due to this year’s strike and subsequent loss of TV revenues, the donation for 2008 will unfortunately be much less.
The History of the Award
The Golden Globes, one of the motion picture entertainment industry’s most prestigious awards were once handed out on a piece of paper. The first Golden Globe awards were not golden globes at all-they were scrolls, and they were presented in just five categories: Best Motion Picture, Best Motion Picture Actress, Best Motion Picture Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor. In an informal ceremony held at the production company 20th Century Fox, the best movie award went to “The Song of Bernadette.” This was in 1944, a year after, a group of foreign correspondents decided to create a non-profit organization comprised solely of foreign press representatives. They called themselves the Hollywood Foreign Correspondents Association (HFCA).
In 1945 the members of the new group held a contest to find the best design for an award trophy that would symbolize the goals of the organization and that could be used to officially recognize the outstanding achievements of industry entertainers. The members chose a creation by Marina Cisternas, the association’s president from 1945 to 1946, which became the iconic Golden Globe design of today. The current and final design was and is a “Golden Globe” encircled with a Strip of Motion Picture Film.
The Globes could have been called the “Henrietta’s”?
Some philosophical disagreements among members of the HFCA resulted in a 1950 split into two different entities. The original group continued to present its Golden Globes, while the separate Foreign Press Association of Hollywood created its own award called the Henrietta, named for the group’s president, Henry Gris.
In 1951, the association doubled the number of film categories by dividing them into drama and comedy/musical. The following year added the Cecil B. DeMille Award to the list to recognize notable contributions to the entertainment field. DeMille himself, a prominent U.S. producer and director, was the award’s first recipient.
In 1955 the two groups were reunited as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), and the Golden Globe awards prevailed over the lesser-known Henrietta’s. It wasn’t until 1961 that the television award recipients also included specific actors and actresses.
The HFPA set the Globes apart from the Academy Awards, which first presented its awards in 1927, in two ways: First, the HFPA distinguishes between drama and comedy/musical; and second, it bestows awards for television as well as film. Traditionally a number of the Best Motion Picture Golden Globe winners have gone on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actresses. Thus, the Globes have evolved into somewhat of an indicator for the Oscar winners. In the late 1980s, the Golden Globe Awards Ceremony began being televised, thus adding to its popularity and clout.
The Golden Globe’s similar British equivalent, considered equal in prestige, is the BAFTA.
The Broadcast Presentation
As representatives of the world press, the group’s members felt it was incumbent upon them to give their audience their judgments as to Hollywood’s finest productions. The organization’s first awards presentation for distinguished achievements in the film industry took place in early 1944 with an informal ceremony at 20th Century Fox. There, Jennifer Jones was awarded Best Actress honors for “The Song of Bernadette,” which also won for Best Film, while Paul Lukas took home Best Actor laurels for “Watch on the Rhine.” Awards were presented in the form of scrolls.
The group’s first special event was a luncheon in December 1947, at which a meritorious plaque was awarded to Henry M. Warner, president of Warner Bros., in recognition of his humanitarian work as the principal sponsor of the “Friendship Train,” which left Hollywood with food, clothing and medical supplies for the needy of Europe.
In conjunction with the Golden Globes presentation, the Hollywood Foreign Correspondents Association held its first gala social event in 1945 with a formal banquet at the Beverly Hills Hotel. “Going My Way” won for Best Picture, while Ingrid Bergman and Alexander Knox were named Best Actress and Best Actor for their performances in “The Bells of St. Mary” and “President Wilson,” respectively.
The awards at the ceremony had typically been presented by journalists who were part of the association. However at the 1958 Golden Globes which was the first year of local telecast, in an impromptu action, “The Rat Pack” (aka Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis, Jr.) took to the stage, allegedly taking over the presenting with whiskey and cigarettes in hand. The action was met with great delight of the audience. The next year the association asked them to present the awards. The celebrity presentation tradition exists to this day.
The broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards generally ranks as the third most-watched awards show each year, behind only the Oscars and the Grammy’s. The Golden Globes has grown to one of the highest honors for actors and actresses.
Voting for the Globes
The Golden Globes are awarded early in the year, based on votes from 86 mostly part-time journalists living in Hollywood and affiliated with media outside of the United States. The journalists cover approximately 200 print, radio and television outlets in more than 50 countries.
Some critics of the association argue that some members possess questionable credentials and that technically their work could be anything from a long, analytical article to a short blurb written from the transcript of a celebrity interview. Other people have accused association members of receiving substantial gifts and incentives in exchange for voting for the gift-giver’s choice for winner. Perhaps the most extreme example took place when the 1982 Golden Globe for Newcomer of the Year went to Pia Zadora. This came after members of the HFPA were treated to food and drinks at a Las Vegas show starring Zadora and paid for by her husband.
Each year HFPA members interview more than 250 actors, directors, writers and producers, as well as reporting from film sets and seeing more than 300 films. Members also attend film festivals in other countries in order to seek out interesting and innovative foreign language films and establish cultural bonds with directors, actors, jurors and fellow journalists around the world.
Membership meetings are held monthly and the officers and directors are elected annually. A maximum of five journalists are admitted to the organization each year. All members are accredited by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Despite any faultfinders, the Golden Globe Awards have staked out a significant place for themselves in the hearts and minds of millions of fans and industry insiders across the globe.
Unlike the Academy Awards, for which the eligibility period begins January 1, the eligibility period for the Golden Globe Awards begins October 1.
For more information please visit http://www.goldenglobes.org/