GOLDEN GLOBES – Sham Glam Fest Slammed

14Jan11

With the Golden Globes happening this Sunday, is it a coincidence that the perennial awards show based on foreign journalists’ movie & TV picks is getting bad press? Nope. A disgruntled lead publicist is blowing the whistle right before their big day. Hey, that’s what publicists do. They’re timing is excellent, but this scandal is nothing new for the Golden Globes.

The former lead publicist for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, aka the Golden Globes has filed a lawsuit claiming they are taking all sorts of inducements from the studios to favor their films. Really? Anyone with a brain can see that. THE TOURIST is  an award worthy film? No, but the Golden Globes said it was. How did that happen? Hmm, was someone influenced?

So how did this glam fest become a sham? Two decades it was a small insider event. Now it is huge. What changed? The HFPA parlayed their fest into a studio marketing device. They created a cozy relationship with them. Then the studios use the glam fest to tout their product on a less than skeptical public. It’s an easy formula. Influence teh awards. Win the awards. Sell the awards as a reason to see films.  It is also easy to sway the 88 or so part time “journalists”. They love all the attention the studios bestow on them. It makes them feel or so important in a town where feeling important is more important than being important. Now toss in broadcast TV’s insatiable desire for ratings, and the result is an event that has grown disproportionate to its real value.

For years, industry insiders have known that the Golden Globes was simply a Hollywood dress up night. It was perfect for the publicity departments to tout their films prior to the real event, the Oscars. Insiders also marveled at how the management of the Golden Globes have taken this joke of a awards fest into a $12 million a year TV event. The lawsuit asserts that there is a new deal in place for the Golden Globes to get $26 million from NBC/Comcast even though they have publicly stated no deal is in place and no deal will be even discussed until 30 days after this current show closes the curtains. They lied? I’m shocked!

Is this new? No.

Remember Pia Zadora? The pixie sized actress best known for her early role in SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS, married well, and the new hubby promoted her to the Golden Globes. The result she won the 1981 New Star of the Year award. At that time, insiders were buzzing about how one could get a Golden Globe – for the right price.

So when Michael Russell sues the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, it is not a surprise. What is surprising is how long it took for someone to report that the emperor is actually naked and all those fancy new clothes are bought by the studios, paid for by the studios to promote the studios’ interests. Everyone has been in on it, including the broadcasters who have aired this sham glam fest.

There will be denials. There will be rationalizations. But the bottom line is that the Golden Globes are, and have been, a tainted affair. Sure some of the awards, maybe the majority of them, have been fairly won, but like the game show scandal of the 50s, when media interests collude to drive ratings or box office grosses, the outcome is never golden.

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The Frugal Yankee is Garen Daly, a film industry veteran for over three decades as well as penny pinching New Englander. Follow him on Facebook.

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