The Golden Globes are tonight, and though Ricky Gervais’ divisive tenure as host finally seems to be over, the show is still likely to be the most relaxed and entertaining of the six months of the year we now know as awards season. What’s less well known than the actual broadcast, however, is who exactly the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is. Here’s a brief rundown.
THE HFPA is a group of approximately 90 journalists hailing from around the world and now based in Southern California, mostly near Los Angeles and the film industry itself. Though the Golden Globes have risen to become the most highly watched movie awards other than the Oscars, most members of the HFPA are not individually well known — though some of their controversies are.
In 2011, for instance, the HFPA saw fit to nominate the widely panned “The Tourist” in three high-profile categories (Best Picture — Musical or Comedy, Best Actor for Johnny Depp and Best Actress for Angelina Jolie). This raised eyebrows, given the movie’s poor critical reception, and it was later rumored that the movie’s producers had flown HFPA members to Las Vegas for an all-expenses-paid trip — not the first time this sort of arrangement is said to have taken place.
If you’re simply watching the Globes to get a sense of who might triumph at the Oscars, take the winners with a grain of salt. There’s no overlap in membership between the HFPA and the Academy, of course, and the two groups frequently diverge in taste: “The Revenant” and “Boyhood” are the two most recent Best Picture — Drama winners at the Globes, for instance, while “Spotlight” and “Birdman” took the respective Academy Awards.
That split is sometimes the result of the Oscars’ eventual Best Picture winner being nominated in the Globes’ Musical or Comedy field, which is likely to be the case this year with presumed frontrunner “La La Land.”