The nearly 80-year association between the Golden Globe Awards and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is coming to an end with the sale of the Globes and its assets to Dick Clark Productions and Eldridge Industries. Dick Clark Productions will now move the award show and its attendant assets to its for-profit business, while using the profits from the sale to establish the "Golden Globes Foundation," which will help continue the HFPA's charitable endeavors. For its part, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association will "wind down" in the wake of the sale.
But while the HFPA is technically no more, its voting members remain, and should they decide to stay under the new for-profit structure, they will continue to vote for the Golden Globe Awards. They'll also be paid employees. According to the Los Angeles Times, "Under the association’s new incarnation, its employees will receive an annual salary of $75,000 for their work. Their responsibilities will include screening films and TV series submitted for Golden Globe consideration, participating in the voting process for nominations and winners, creating content for the organization’s website and managing materials related to the awards show and the group’s history."
Todd Boehly, head of Eldridge, has brushed off criticisms of "paid awards voters," and the old HFPA members will be eligible for a $225,000 buy-out if they choose not to remain with the new Globes venture.
If the Golden Globes don't take this opportunity to shed the vestiges of the HFPA and start fresh, it will prove to be a real wasted opportunity. The sale marks the official end of the Hollywood Foreign Press association, whose bad press and opaque organizational practices have long put a stain on what has otherwise been a reliably fun award show. The Golden Globes, with their open bar, free-mingling celebrities, and reputation for outrageous moments, have always offered one of the livelier nights amid Hollywood's increasingly arduous awards season. And they’ve never actually needed the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to succeed.
The Globes first handed out awards for excellence in film and television in 1944, and over the last few years have come under fire for a series of scandals that have included claims of sexual harassment and an outrageously poor record of expanding its voting base in 2022 and again in 2023, though distrust of the organization remained high.
The HFPA's muddied reputation has always stood in contrast to the Globes ceremony itself. Over the years, the Golden Globes ceremony established itself as awards season's cool aunt in comparison to the Academy Awards' stuffy dad routine. Dick Clark Productions, which began producing the Globes telecast in 1987, played a key role in that evolution. The show steadily gained a reputation as the award show where celebrities had fun, not to mention the one where they were more likely to cut up, either off stage or on. The late Dick Clark himself took an active hand in guiding the telecast, a fact the home audience was occasionally reminded of, like when he took to the stage to help guide a frazzled Elizabeth Taylor through her Best Picture presentation to Gladiator.
Unlike the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association never offered even the veneer of prestige to its respective awards show. The HFPA was a small group of journalists nobody ever heard of, who were quasi-openly wined and dined by the studios for their favor, but their presence was generally waved away during a typical Globes telecast.
Now, with the HFPA organization about to be shuttered, there's an opportunity for the Golden Globe Awards to be all fun and no guilt. Even the raised eyebrows surrounding the new Globes venture putting its voting membership on salary could end up benefiting the awards. After all, there's no better way to ensure that awards voters actually see the films and TV shows they're voting on than to pay them to do so. But first the old ties to the HFPA should be cut, letting it fade away into Hollywood's shady past, leaving the Golden Globes free to grab another cocktail from the open bar and glide into their new future.
Joe Reid is the senior writer at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.