Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Hollywood Foreign Press...Fun Facts

By my count, there are 93 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press, the group that awards the Golden Globes to TV and movies.

It's easy to make fun of an award that is voted on by less than 100 people.  But the incredible thing is that this event has grown to be second in importance to the Academy Awards, (which boasts over five thousand members).

National TV exposure since its modest beginnings in the 1940's has given the Globe Ceremony an aura of importance.  Has Hollywood capitalized on the results of the Golden Globes to sell more movie tickets?  Of course.  Oscar Nominees are now timed to be announced soon after the Globes are awarded.

Even the stars who come out to recognize their fellow artists, or be recognized, seem to take it all in stride. They are less inhibited, not as buttoned-down as they are at the more formal, tradition-laden Oscar ceremony.  The jokes are more ribald, the drinks flow more freely, and the campaigning seems to be less intense.  While a Golden Globe win is a "nice" recognition, and a boon to the business, I'd guess that few ticket-buyers really care if a film has won a Golden Globe.  But many of us still take these very seriously.

I did too, for a long time...ever since I was allowed to stay up past my bedtime to see my then-favorites, Joel Grey, Liza Minnelli and "Cabaret" all win Globes.   Then and there I was hooked, and the Globes became my best barometer in my fevered, obsessive predictions for Oscars.

Now, I just relax and enjoy the show.  Not being a TV watcher, I usually do something useful during the TV awards, and return for the film categories.

Before Sunday's broadcast, have a look at the HFPA web site, to read the history of the Organization and the origins of the Awards. (Read here).

The Hollywood Foreign Press is also known for its philanthropic efforts, so there is a good cause attached to our support of the Globes.

Here are a few bits of trivia and other items I enjoy about the Golden Globe Awards through the years:

--The first Best-Picture Winner was "The Song of Bernadette".  (That should make Ben at Runs Like a Gay smile!)

--The all-time Globe-nominated film was "Nashville" (a favorite of mine, as well as Walter of The Silver Screening Room).  Of its total 11 noms, it had 4 nominations for Supporting Actress alone (Ronee Blakely, Lily Tomlin, Barbara Harris, and Geraldine Chaplin).  It also boasted 2 in a category (since discontinued) called New Star of the Year (Tomlin and Blakely, who both lost to the ever-popular Marilyn Hassett for "The Other Side of the Mountain")

--There was a tie for Best Picture for 1948, between "Treasure of the Sierra Madre" and "Johnny Belinda".  Olivier's "Hamlet", the Oscar-winner that year, scored a Best Actor Globe.

--"The Lion in Winter" won for Best Dramatic Picture in 1968, but Kate Hepburn lost that year to Joanne Woodward in "Rachel. Rachel". (Sorry Andrew, at Encore's World of Film and TV...)

--Most Globes won by a film: five, shared by five winners: "Doctor Zhivago"(1966), "Love Story" (1971), "The Godfather" (1973), "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1976), and "A Star is Born" (1977).

--Perfect records: "Doctor Zhivago", "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", and "A Star is Born" all received five nominations and won five Globes.

--"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" is the only film to win the Globe in all five major categories (Best Motion Picture, Actor, Actress, Director, Screenplay).

--Most nominated performers: Meryl Streep 25, Jack Lemmon 22 (This also includes TV performances)

--Most "Globed" stars: Meryl Streep, (7) Jack Nicholson (6), Francis Ford Coppola, Shirley MacLaine, Rosalind Russell, and Oliver Stone. (5 each)

The Globe/Oscar connection is fairly accurate.  Most of the time, an Oscar-winning Best Picture has won, or at least been nominated, for a Globe.  Two notable exceptions:  Neither "The Sting" (1973) nor "Crash" (2005) were Globe Best Picture nominees.

(Don't get me started again on the impossibility of "Brokeback Mountain'"s loss at the Oscars; at least the Globes got it right).

Loyal readers, I must confess a seismic change in my attitude: a sign that re-invention is occurring... I don't care too strongly about who or what wins the Globes this year.  There are 3-4 movies and performances I truly love, and I hold them dear, like special friends, whether they win or lose.  It is a feeling of comfort I have finally come to know, gradually.  Ask anyone who knew me growing up: I used to be a fanatic, too, and became manic-depressive as "my" movies won or lost. 

It's fun to see my fellow bloggers prognosticate, debate, and identify so closely with their favorite artists and films.  I recognize a lot of my formative years in your exuberance.

Have fun...root for your favorites...but don't let it get you down if other names are called.  It doesn't make you less of a film critic if you guess wrong.  A win doesn't make a film you love any better.  More important, a loss doesn't make that film any less worthy of your love.  


  1. When I think of the Globes, I think of Goldie Hawn shrieking petulantly in The First Wives Club: "This is a Golden Globe! It's SACRED!" Love that movie, though strangely it was completely ignored at the Globes (!).

    Nashville! Globes were savvy enough to nominate Henry Gibson for Best Supporting Actor. At times, I really do like them more than the Oscars.

  2. You know, Walter?...To be honest, I sometimes like the Globes better than Oscar, too!

    Hope you enjoy your Sunday at the Globes!

    (Your Goldie Hawn remark gave me an idea for a post: movies that have won (or lost) Oscars that have actually mentioned Oscar (or any show-biz award)in the film....)

  3. Thanks for those Globes tidbits - it reminds me that despite its horrendous choices this year, the HFPA used to make uniquely wonderful choices. Let's hope they rebound next year. Also, Walter - I officially adore you for mentioning that fantastic scene in that glorious movie. I'm a sucker for anything First Wives Club. :)

  4. Luke,
    It's terrific to see you here...hope you'll visit often!
    You are right, the Globes have often been interesting and have gone against the mainstream...sort of makes up for some of their gaffes!

  5. Great post, Tom, with some fascinating stuff.

    Totally agree with your final statement. What we like, and don't like, as individuals is far more important than what the critics/award bodies or general population like. That's what makes films worth watching.

  6. Ben, thank you. I appreciate your good words.