The biggest winner of the Golden Globes could be their hand holding group

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has been widely viewed as colorful, usually harmless, perhaps venal and not necessarily journalistic producer. But because the group puts on the Golden Globes, assuming the favor of its members – there are only 87 – has become a ritual Tinseltown pursuit.

Celebrities send them handwritten holiday cards. The studio placed them in five-star hotels. Champagne, expensive wine, signed art, cashmere blankets, slippers, record players, cakes, headphones and speakers are among the gifts that have come to his door, he says.

Suicides – studios, production companies, strategists and campaigners – are all pursuing the same thing: members’ votes. Every one matters. A Golden Globe nomination, and of course a win, is a publicity boon that can boost careers, boost box office earnings and win an Academy Award.

Boozy, irreverent and generally jolly good fun, the Glims is the third most-watched award show after the Grammys and the highest number of Academy Awards. The show holds a keen place in the entertainment industry. Making fun of the girls and their occasional nomination and pix, As irrelevant Hollywood has become an annual blood sport in the press, covering them anyway, and members of the association, many of whom work for obscure outlets, are regularly portrayed as doddering, out of touch. And unconsciously corrupt.

“What Kim Kardashian Doing for Kate Middleton at the Golden Globes Oscar” Ricky Gervais, Who has hosted him several times, said at the ceremony in 2012. “Bit Lauder.” Bit Trashier. drunker. Bought more easily, reportedly. Nothing has been proved. “

But on the eve of the February 28 show, a recent lawsuit and a series of interviews and financial records are providing a more explicit look at the group, which does not publicly list its roster, leaving very few applicants Acknowledges, and, despite being a media association, there are some members who say they are afraid to speak to the press. The group is also under scrutiny from news organizations Los Angeles Times, Which recently delayed its finances; One of Its conclusion that there is no black member in the group, Was made Headlines.

The latest exam resumed when three-year-old Kersti Fla, a Northern journalist, refused to enter the group last year, and whose romantic partner is a member, sued the organization, stating it as a monopoly Works, even if it caters to prized interviews, some of its members actively worked as journalists. As the value of students’ votes decreased, the studios started ingratiating themselves.

“It’s very clear who is important to the studio and who isn’t,” Flaa said in an interview. “And the thing is, nobody has said anything about it before. It is just accepted. “

Members are ready to welcome regional and contestants. Flaa pointed Uproar Including a Russian member, who in 2015 was accused of demanding that a Ukrainian applicant not write to any Russian outlet and hand over the stamps of his extra Golden Globes – and in a notarized letter of promise Guarantees – In return being considered for admission.

Flaa said outsiders had a nickname for the association: “Cartel.”

The association would not comment specifically on the 2015 incident, but Gregory Goeckner, the organization’s chief operating officer and general counsel, said such actions were prohibited, and in 2018 its board voted “void and inaccessible.” The policy confirming the letter was approved. Goeckner also described Flaa’s allegations as “outrageous”, saying it was the studio, not the association, that made decisions about press access.

A judge threw out the majority of Flaw’s lawsuit, but he has recently amended it, and another journalist, who has also been denied entry into the association, joined his complaint.

Several current and former association members said the changes within Flea were correct, but requested anonymity because they said they feared retaliation from the group.

Hollywood Foreign Press Association was Born in ’40S, when foreign correspondents covering Hollywood stars band together to gain access to film stars. The Globes recognize films and television, and chocoblock with stars, a snoozy category with Nary – no sound editing awards here. As the awards industry intricately mushrooms – it is now a near-annual venture shaped by strategists and closely tracked by reporters – the relative power of members also grew.

After the show was picked up by television, it became a golden goose. In 2018, NBC agreed to pay $ 60 million per year for broadcast rights, about triple the previous license fee. While the Academy Awards and Emmis have lost millions of viewers in recent years, the Golden Globes audience has Kept steady 18 million to 20 million, which is why NBC was willing to fork out.

“It’s a big tent network television show, and as such, is invaluable for film campaigns hoping for an Oscar nomination and a win,” said campaigner Tony Angelotti, who ran the award campaign in an email. “And the HFPA track record for identifying worthy films is undisputed. It is nothing. “

To be able to vote for the Globe, members must publish at least six times a year, and attend the association’s 25 news conferences, where celebrities and newsmakers are invited, with many members to be confirmed. If members wish to travel to film festivals during the tenure of the association, they will have to attend even more news conferences, according to a copy of the travel policies reviewed by the New York Times. The rules say that if they have to make five or fewer trips then they will not have to make any press clippings related to their journey.

Because the organization is a nonprofit, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is also tax-free. Filing from the tax year ending in June 2019 shows that the group was sitting on about $ 55 million in cash. It donated nearly $ 5 million to mixed causes, including $ 500,000 to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and $ 500,000 to environmental site Inside Climate News.

“Funding was very important,” David Sassoon, founder and publisher Inside Climate News, Said in an email. “It strengthened our finances and helped us get through the 2020 nightmares.”

According to the tax filing, the tax-exempt nonprofit company paid more than $ 3 million in salary and other compensation to members and employees. The tax filing also showed $ 1.3 million in travel costs for that year; The association has stated that it generally pays the expenses of members who wish to travel to film festivals and the like.

There is also compensation for the performance of duties that many members say were done for free. According to the treasurer’s report from the association’s January general meeting, the association’s TV viewing committee pays $ 1,000 per month. The committee members watching the foreign film have pockets of $ 3,465. Two dozen people sit on that committee by the minute, which meant that the cost to watch international movies is $ 83,160 a month to the association.

The association has an advisory committee, a history committee, a welfare committee, a travel committee, a film festival committee, a financial committee and an organizing committee – all of which come with a stipend as per the treasurer’s report.

Some members said that the number of paid committees has exploded in recent years, with members holding multiple positions and being loyally rewarded with committee appointments. This has enraged some people, who want to see the association fall below the punchline around the city. One member was concerned that the group would overtake those members who derive the majority of their income from the organization and not journalism.

Goeckner said the association only redirects members when they do additional work and basically work as employees, performing tasks that do the work of paid employees elsewhere. Compensation, he said, is what “similar orders of magnitude” pay similar organizations. And he noted that the group was “not a charity,” and its accumulated capital was put to the planned upgrade of its West Hollywood headquarters.

Nevertheless, there is a debate on how much the Sangh should earn.

Flaa’s attorney, David Quinto, said that by virtue of its tax-exempt status, the association should benefit foreign art journalists more broadly, not the group’s people. He said the association believes that “it is above the law” and called its conduct “grossly inappropriate”.

But Ofer Lion, a Los Angeles lawyer with expertise on tax-exempt organizations, said that mutual benefit corporations such as associations only need to take advantage of a common purpose of their members, and 501 (c) (6) tax-exempt organizations As, just make sure that they benefit their industry in some way. It is legal for the organization to pay members for their work, he said, as long as they are considered appropriate.

“There are some healthy numbers there,” Singh said, after reviewing the organization’s tax returns, “but not really beyond.”

The group’s stated mission is essentially to help enhance relations between the United States and abroad by covering its culture and entertainment industry. But it has come under continuous scrutiny The puzzling award decisions are given below, The most infamous in 1982, when Piya Zadora named Best New Star Kathleen Turner and Elizabeth McGovern on. It was later revealed that Zadora’s producer, who was also her husband, had flown the group to Las Vegas before the vote. CBS, which was airing the show, stopped its airing, and it would be the year before it returned to network television.

In 2014, a former association president published a memoir He suggested that he might be prevented from doing business in favor of his colleagues.

The association has tried to rehabilitate its image in recent years. Sent back in 1999 $ 400 Coach Watches Was given to members of a film company and asked the members to return part of it in 2016 Tom Ford-Branded Fragrance gifts were sent to each of the producers of “Noctural Animals”.

Nowadays, members must not accept gifts in excess of $ 125. (The group says it has adopted a “more robust” gift policy.) Still, it can be done to entice them. For some, little surprise when “Emily Paris in the series” – which was found Definitely mixed reviews Raised two Golden Globe nominations this year – from critics. In September 2019, dozens of association members flew to Paris to visit the “Emily” set and are housed at the Five Star Peninsula Hotel by the Paramount Network.

And although there are reportedly waves of reforms going on, the group’s liberal membership list remains largely the same over the years.

A review of the 2020 roster shows that its members include a woman Yola Cieserska-Hayek Known as the “Polish First Lady” of Hollywood; Alexander Nevsky, a Former Mr. Universe And the bodybuilder who has Starred in films like “Moscow Heat”“; And Judy Solomon, Veteran of an organization Over 60 years that have garnered attention for his role The Daily Beast calls it “The Golden Globes Seating Arbiter”, “Is of no small importance when it comes to the ceremony without rubbing the wings of celebrities.

In statements to The New York Times, two longtime members of the organization expressed pride in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and its work. One of the members, Meher Tatna, the current board chair, deferred the group’s philanthropic initiatives, saying that you received a letter of thanks throughout the year.

Czaderska-Hayek echoed that pride A video posted on YouTube by the Polish government in 2010, But also noted that membership demands could be taxed.

“It’s incredibly difficult work,” according to the video’s English subtitle, Czaderska-Hayek said. “We should see at least 300 American films every year.”

Alain Delaquérière and Kitty Bennett contributed to the research.

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