On Monday, the chairmen and CEOs of the production company Dick Clark Productions and its owner, Eldridge, announced that the entities have acquired all of the the Golden Globes’ rights, assets, and properties, meaning that the awards ceremony will now be part of a commercial, for-profit operation. Additionally, this means that the long-embattled Hollywood Foreign Press Association will be dissolved, calling into question what form the Golden Globes will take as the ceremony transitions from the product of a nonprofit organization into something else entirely.
“We are excited to close on this much anticipated member-approved transaction and transition from a member-led organization to a commercial enterprise,” Helen Hoehne, the president of the HFPA, said in a press release.
The HFPA has consistently been the butt of Hollywood jokes and the Globes, though influential, are viewed as something akin to the boozy little sibling of the Academy Awards.
Knowing the HFPA is no more makes it so much funnier that the organization’s last Golden Globes opening monologue was Jerrod Carmichael incinerating them with a smile for seven minutes straight
— Isaac Feldberg (@isaacfeldberg) June 12, 2023
But a 2021 investigation by the Los Angeles Times also found that the nonprofit regularly issued large payouts to its own members in ways that could potentially violate IRS guidelines; that same year, the news that the organization did not have a single Black member launched a firestorm of protest against the Globes ceremony.
The LA Times investigation also found that the HFPA’s members voted against hiring a diversity consultant after then-President Lorenzo Soria suggested seeking out a potential candidate in 2020.
Then there is the long history of HFPA members allegedly accepting bribes in the form of all-expenses-paid trips and luxury goods from studios and then turning around and handing out nominations to seemingly undeserving projects like Netflix’s Emily in Paris and the Johnny Depp-Angelina Jolie disaster The Tourist.
So, sure, the Globes are disentangling themselves from the HFPA, but now the ceremony will be overseen by DCP, Eldridge, and Penske Media Eldridge, meaning that the awards are now owned by the same company that owns Deadline, Variety, and The Hollywood Reporter. How is that going to be any better?
— Erik Anderson (@awards_watch) June 12, 2023
“I think we’ve seen the crushing reality of monopolies in the entertainment industry glide through FCC regulations and board approval in a way that never used to be OK, so I can’t say this is much better,” Erik Anderson, EIC of AwardsWatch, told The Daily Beast. “Every one of those publications will post some form or another of ‘and we’re all under the same parent company, Penske’ in anything they write about the Golden Globes, but this outlet monopoly was in place long before today.”
“The name ‘Golden Globes’ is now owned by people who hope to monetize it as a broadcast or streaming awards show. Nothing else about it exists,” Mark Harris, the author of Mike Nichols: A Life and Pictures at a Revolution tweeted on Monday. “The Globes are now co-owned by Dick Clark Productions, which is owned by Jay Penske, who also owns Deadline, Variety, and The Hollywood Reporter, all of which benefit from Globes for-your-consideration ads,” Harris said. “That’s—what’s a nice word?—messy.”
Harris then added, “Good to see that the Globes will continue its two most hallowed traditions: Questionable procedures and baffling chaos.”
“Now that all the real outlets won’t be allowed to make fun of how worthless the Globes are anymore, the rest of us have to pick up the slack and double down on our efforts,” film journalist Daniel Joyaux tweeted, predicting inevitably friendly coverage from the industry’s three most prominent trade publications.
“Some [writers at these outlets] have already been critical of the HFPA, but with the HFPA now dissolved, will that critical eye turn to what the Globes are now?” Anderson continued to The Daily Beast. “I think it will be insightful to observe the coverage between now and when the next Globes show happens in January. I don’t think there’s going to be a huge change in coverage, but we’ll have to wait and see.”
How the Golden Globes will look and feel going forward is anyone’s guess, especially because the awards currently still lack a broadcast partner. One thing’s for certain: Sans the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, celebrity hosts of the ceremony will have to figure out a new source of reliable joke fodder. Will they dare to go after the trades?