"The party of the year"
When millions around the world tune in to watch the wildly unpredictable and always
entertaining Golden Globes telecast, few realize that less than 100 people decide the
winners. And being one of those 89 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association
(HFPA) - whose decision has been judged to have such a huge impact on Oscar voting -
I’ve been fortunate enough for the past 13 years to not only vote and attend the
ceremony described by Hollywood’s top stars as ‘the party of the year’, but
also get a front-row seat year-round to the inner workings of awards campaigning.
In early December, all 89 of us receive our ballots for nominations. Signed, sealed and
sent to a top accounting firm, none of us know if we're on the right track until the top
five vote-getters in each category are tallied and the results are announced just before
Christmas. This gives the studios time to tout their much-needed Golden Globe nominations
in the Christmas holiday movie-going season, hoping to lure a few impressionable
movie-goers in with the mention of such accolades. In early January, another ballot
arrives and this time we only get to pick one winner in each category.
If you don't believe that every vote counts, consider this: every couple of years there
a tie in at least one category which means if I'd changed my mind, one of them wouldn't be
standing there! So by the time the night of the Globes rolls around, there's nothing left
but to put on the frock and make-up and attend the magical evening, cheering or quietly
booing depending on whose choices won.
"How cool is it to wind up standing at the urinal between
Bruce Willis & Tom Cruise?"
Unlike the Oscars and other big awards shows, which are auditorium-style free-for-alls,
the Golden Globes are held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel and fit a crowd of less than 1000
people, who are all wined and dined and then table-hop around the star-studded room. This
is one place where you want to spend plenty of time in the toilets. Where else can you be
putting on lipstick next to Meryl Streep fixing up her cleavage or Christina Lahti still
in the toilet when someone tells her she’s won and watch her run out to the stage
screaming? Or, as my husband once bragged, how cool is it to wind up standing at the
urinal between Bruce Willis and Tom Cruise? So blinding is the star power in this room, in
fact, that when guests had to walk through metal-detectors during the year of the Persian
Gulf crisis, many insiders nervously joked it was because the town was nervous that if the
enemy blew up this place, it would obliterate the entire entertainment industry all
present under one roof.
My front row seat, however, lasts all year. As a working member of the Hollywood
Foreign Press Association, I attend exclusive press conferences with every major star in
town, who’ve met with us so many times now, they consider us friends, not to mention
valuable marketing tools for Globes consideration and worldwide publicity for their
careers. But if you think those DVDs and trinkets (strictly inexpensive ones to avoid
bribery accusations) we receive can influence votes, you’re as nuts as the giant jar
of peanut butter I just received to promote Eddie Murphy’s Nutty Professor II!
Published: January 22, 2001