Thursday, January 19, 2006

False Golden Idols


By B.E. Earl

Hey kids! As you may have figured out, I'm a bit of a film fan. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that I like to watch the annual award shows to see who takes down the big prizes each year. I was a little bored the other night watching the Golden Globe Awards when I decided to find out who/what the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is. If you are not familiar with the group, the HFPA is the organization that determines the nominees for each award category and subsequently votes on the winners for the Golden Globes. But who are they? I mean it never made much sense to me. Are they Hollywood press reporting in foreign countries about the entertainment industry? Are they foreign press working in Hollywood? Who are these people that the media focuses so much weight on around award season? Surely it must be an astoundingly large number of critics and reporters from around the world weighing in on the best that Hollywood has to offer. Hundreds if not thousands of dedicated men and women working tirelessly to hand out awards that are the pre-cursor to the big daddy of all entertainment awards, the Oscars. Right? Wrong!

The HFPA is a non-profit organization of somewhere around 90 international journalists based in Hollywood whose purpose is to disseminate information about film and television to a world-wide audience. 90 JOURNALISTS! Are you kidding me? These 90 men and women are the only voices and votes for an award as seemingly important as the Golden Globes? Now don't get me wrong. The HFPA does some fine work. In 2005 they donated $1 million to various arts and cultural programs around the world in an effort to further the advance of the film and television. They also donated $250 thousand to the Red Cross. That's very nice.

Where do they get the funding for their charitable work, as well as the funding needed to run the non-profit organization, you may ask. Well, they receive a sizable licensing fee from the networks to run their annual event...the Golden Globe Awards. They also receive licensing fees from various cable networks for allowing them to report from the red carpet. Hm-mm. So let me get this straight. The HFPA (all 90 of them) collect licensing fees from an award show that they run in an effort to award excellence in a field that is already swimming with too many awards. And they give out those awards in the award show that they sponsor, which in turn provides them with the revenue that they need to keep handing out awards the following year? Holy self-sustaining strokefest, Batman! And I thought I used to get confused with The Terminator and all it's time-line questions. Wait...how was John Connor born if he needed to send his own father back in time to be with his mother in the first place, and, and...system failure!

This is bogus, my friends. It's just another session of mutual masturbation that the media machine that is Hollywood has fashioned out of thin air. It made me sick to read about this, and if I ever see another weepy, blathering idiot of a winner (like Felicity Huffman this year) crying about how this is the greatest night of their lives I may actually vomit on my television screen. "You really, really like me...all 90 of you! You really, really like me!" Actually, it's possible that only 25 of the members liked you, honey. Or whatever number of voters that is needed to beat out whomever came in second place. What a piece of crap award this is!

Once again, I applaud the charitable work that the HFPA does. But they could easily raise that much and more by just asking all the nominees for a little some-some in an effort to elevate their public relations profile. You telling me that Harrison Ford can't come up with a good chunk of the million donated last year all by himself? And let us not kid ourselves. Most of the money isn't going to help poverty and starvation in Africa, or to help relief efforts in India. No, most of the money is handed out in the form of financial grants to cultural institutions to help further their own causes. There is some good stuff in there, but most of it isn't of the do-or-die type of relief.

You can find out more about the HFPA on their website www.HFPA.org, that is if you can stomach it. Me...I'm done with this award show in the future. I always thought that some of the choices were a bit odd (C'mon...have you seen Geena Davis in "Commander in Chief"), but I always thought there was some kind of integrity about the awards themselves. I don't know what goes into the voting for the Academy Awards, and I'm sure it ain't perfect. I just don't know if I have the heart to do any research on that right now. Sigh.

Oh, and if you were wondering why we placed a picture of the stunning Scarlett Johansson (decked out in stunning scarlet, thank you very much) at the top of this article, it wasn't so that we could make some blatantly obvious double entendre about the Golden Globes and her outfit. I just think she's got some nice cans.

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