A member of the elusive group behind the Golden Globes has publicly stated how the organization works – following a series of accusations that votes can easily be swayed and bar new members from joining.
BBC Cinematic presenter Husam Asi is a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), which organizes and votes for the awards.
He told Sky News the claims were unfounded and “stem mainly from jealousy” among journalists who do not have the same access to stars, or travel and party invitations as members of the. HFPA.
Last week, an LA Times investigation claimed that HFPA members were “regularly granted exclusive access to powerful Hollywood players, invited to junkets in exotic venues, lodged in five-star hotels and, with the approach of nominations to the Globes, lavished with gifts, dinners and starry evenings “.
When asked if such access to top Hollywood talent and invitations to glamorous parties and dinners swayed HFPA members or colored their votes, Mr Asi told Sky News: “I don’t. have personally never been affected by these. “
Mr Asi, who works in Los Angeles as a presenter and producer, acknowledged that there was a need for more transparency around the organization, its members and the selection process.
But he said the issue is industry-wide – and wondered why Oscar members aren’t being criticized for receiving similar benefits.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has less than 90 members, and critics say this facilitates its influence.
Members are known to be difficult to reach, with only a handful willing to speak anonymously to the LA Times when the latest allegations emerged.
Kjersti Flaa, a Norwegian entertainment journalist denied membership in the HFPA, has a pending lawsuit accusing him of “institutionalizing a culture of corruption”.
She told Sky News that her case involved two areas: “anti-competition” and how the HFPA had “monopolized entertainment journalism” in Los Angeles.
Ms Flaa also contests them with regard to the “fair procedure” for appointing journalists.
She said the HFPA tried to portray her as “a bad person and a disgruntled journalist” – but since the lawsuit was filed, she says other journalists have had similar experiences.
“It’s a bit of a relief for me to see that it’s not just me and my colleagues who have been abused, it’s everywhere,” she said.
Ms Flaa added that “everyone is afraid of retaliation” which is why he has been kept “under cover for so long”.
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The Golden Globes ceremony, though sometimes mocked for its self-congratulatory and alcohol ceremonies, has grown into one of the most influential in the world.
As the first event of the annual awards season, it sets the tone for the highly prestigious BAFTAs and Oscars that follow. Yet each year the nominations seem to cause a stir – with eyebrows raised in the face of seemingly unpredictable and left-wing choices and omissions.
Last year, we didn’t believe any female director reached the cup. Although three women have been nominated this year, allegations that the Globes are disconnected on other fronts have been raised once again.
It was revealed that the HFPA had no black members – a point the organization vowed to change immediately. He told the LA Times this week: “We are fully committed to ensuring that our members reflect the communities around the world who love film, television and the artists who inspire and educate them.”
In a statement to Sky News, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association said it was common for entertainment journalists around the world to be invited to host tours, premieres and the press. However, he also said that “the notion that these visits influence the nominees for the Golden Globes is absurd and is strictly prohibited by our policies.”
Critic and BAFTA member Jason Solomons has experience running award ceremonies and said Sky News’s award systems are “playable” and “open to strategy” – adding: “They are political. They can be influenced quite easily. “
Mr Solomons ran the Critics’ Circle Awards in London and said there was always “an element of trading at this time of the years to get big names to come to your red carpet or your big awards ceremonies. price”.
He also told Sky News that reports of studios trying to win over voters weren’t new and were an integral part of the industry: “If you’re a big entertainment company with a big budget that can sway these things, you will try and do it if it follows the rules. “
The Golden Globes itself will be quite different this year due to the pandemic. The festive atmosphere will be replaced by a bicoastal Zoom fest presented by Tina Fey in New York and Amy Poehler in LA.