Though I’m interested in the results, I usually don’t watch awards shows. I noticed, via Twitter’s trending topics, that the Golden Globes were on TV last night. I vaguely knew that the Globes were operated by a group called the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). Who are these people, I wondered? Here’s what the Inteweb taught me:
- THE HFPA only has 95 members. Compare that to the ‘Academy’ of the Academy Awards, which currently clocks in at about 6000 voting members.
- The membership mostly comes from the West. There are, oddly, three members from Egypt and five from Japan.
- Canada is represented by Noemia Young, Ray Arco and Dagmar Dunlevy. I’ll admit to never having heard of any of these people. They’re certainly not household names of Canadian entertainment journalism.
I gather the Globes are quite influential in the run-up to the Academy Awards, which in turn can have a huge impact on the long term prospects of a movie’s revenues. It’s striking that less than 100 people have that much economic power. They must get simply inundated by PR people for the months before the event. The whole thing feels vaguely like a racket.
Peter Howell of the Toronto Star draws a similar conclusion:
Current HFPA members include real-estate agents, car salesmen, showbiz publicists, hairdressers and even a few journalists. All that is required to maintain membership is permanent residence in Southern California (so much for “foreign”) and a mere four published articles per year, often in obscure publications that aren’t freely disclosed.