Dear Meryl Streep do you know whom you are thanking at the Golden Globes

A movie’s location plays such an integral part in the process of filmmaking that it ultimately sets the tone and believability of the story that movie is trying to tell. Case in point: Oscar-nominated Babel’s success in telling its intertwined stories would not have worked if its scenes were filmed in a soundstage somewhere in Hollywood. The film needed to venture to Morocco, Japan, Mexico, and the United States to give proper depiction to the lives the movie was aiming to portray.

On that note, this article is about the “Golden Globes Awards,” which aired last Sunday from the Beverly Hills Hotel in California. Many don’t realize how less than 100 “foreign press” vote and don’t realize what their tax-exempt organization actually does/doesn’t do. Feel free to read through this and research on your own. Also, feel free to research the less than 100 members of this organization, to see exactly who these so-called “foreign press” are. In other words, what news/media organizations do they work for? You might be surprised to find out the organization’s actual number at end of this article which is a figure taken from their website.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) is an organization composed of journalists who cover the United States film industry but are affiliated with publications outside of the United States. The group is best known for the Golden Globe Awards, of which it is the creator and on-going organizer. A correspondent for the Daily Mail, a UK newspaper, founded the group in 1943. The chief aim was, and is, the dispersing of news about Hollywood to countries outside North America. They vote and decide on Golden Globe nominees for each year.

The New York Times reported that the HFPA “functions like an exclusive club, admitting a maximum of five new members a year; though more often, accepting only one. Any single member may object to a new member, making it extremely difficult to join.

“The association does not represent internationally-renowned publications like Le Monde or The Times of London. Indeed, it has repeatedly rejected applications from Sue Kim, a Le Monde correspondent, while accepting applications from freelance writers from Bangladesh and South Korea.”

Accusations of buying votes
The HFPA has also been scrutinized for being susceptible to heavy lobbying by studios and artists for nominations and awards. In 1981, the HFPA was heavily criticized after it was revealed that an award given to actress Pia Zadora (as “Best Female Newcomer” in the critically-panned film Butterfly) had been preceded by a junket to Las Vegas for HFPA members paid for by Zadora’s husband and a producer/financier of the film, Meshulam Riklis.

In 1999, HFPA president Helmut Voss ordered all 82 members to return gift luxury watches sent by either Sharon Stone or USA/October Films (now merged into Focus Features) as a promotion for a nomination for her performance in The Muse. According to Variety, Voss ordered the return of the watches “to protect the integrity of its award.”

Small membership
Another criticism is of the small membership that casts votes. For the 2009 awards, the association had 95 members; HFPA ACTIVE MEMBERS (this is from HFPA’s website and what “publications”/”press,” they represent. For period ending June 2008, according to the IRS FORM 990 required for 501(c) NON PROFIT (Tax Exempt Status,) of the following members listed (less than 100,) who are supposed to be “foreign press,” the following received compensation totaling: Jorge Camara (Dominican Republic) US$71,237; Michael Goodridge (United Kingdom) US$14,805; Serge Rakhlin (Latvia, Russia) US$27,063; Meher Tatna (Malaysia, Singapore) US$32,288; and Erkki Kanto (Finland) US$26,802.

DIRECT COMPENSATION: US$172,195 in expenses they claimed: US$1,277,626 (i.e., “travel, entertainment, meetings,”), plus a staff to support them in the amount of US$462,244, totaling US$1,912,065. That’s right! Almost US$2 million for a “not-for-profit organization” with less than 100 members.

Total annual contribution to “charity” per their own website? (2009) is US$1.2 million dollars. The total income from the Golden Globes show is US$794,138, according to Form 990/June08), listed as expenses for the Golden Globes show is US$239,157, and the net income from show is US$554,981. The organization lists its total assets at US$18,638,108. Yes, US$18.6 million! How? This tax-exempt organization of less than 100 members, who’s elite leaders spend more on themselves annually than they disburse to “charity,” (i.e., reason for tax-exempt status,) has invested in foreign countries, as well as in the US. They’ve been a tax-exempt organization for 15 years and have only disbursed US$10.5 million total in 15 years. If you multiply the US$1.9 million they reported in expenses for their leaders of their club of 100 by those same 15 years (ballpark, yes,) that is a “ballpark” of US$28.5 million tax-exempt dollars spent on them!

Point one is, other organizations like the Screen Actors’ Guild, where thousands of actual working performers-members vote as “volunteers,” doesn’t operate under this paradigm.

Point two is, so how legitimate do you think this tax-exempt organization is, and would you want to be associated with it, in terms of ethics and professionalism? Probably not, but it is quite a sweet deal for these so-called foreign press and their top paid leaders, right?

Abou-Jaoude – Brazil
Mario Amaya – Colombia
Vera Anderson – Mexico
Ray Arco – Canada, Denmark
Rocio Ayuso – Spain
Philip Berk – Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong
Elmar Biebl – Germany Silvia Bizio Italy Jorge Camara Dominican Republic Luca Celada – Italy
Jean-Paul Chaillet – France
Rui Henriques Coimbra – Portugal
Jenny Cooney Carrillo – Australia, New Zealand
Jean E. Cummings – Japan
Yola Czaderska-Hayek – Poland
Patricia Danaher – Ireland
Ersi Danou – Greece
Noel de Souza – India
Gabrielle Donnelly – United Kingdom
George Doss – Egypt
Mahfouz Doss – Egypt
Maureen Dragone – Argentina
Dagmar Dunlevy – Canada
Armando Gallo – Italy
Margaret Gardiner – South Africa
Avik Gilboa – Australia
Mike Goodridge – United Kingdom
John Hiscock – United Kingdom
Helen Hoehne – Germany
Anke Hofmann – Germany, The Netherlands
Nellee A. Holmes – Russia
Munawar Hosain – Germany, Bangladesh
Yoram Kahana – Austria
Erkki “Erik” Kanto – Finland
Theo Kingma – Australia, The Netherlands
Ahmed Lateef – Hong Kong
Elisa Leonelli – Italy
Gabriel Lerman – Costa Rica
Emanuel Levy – United Kingdom
Lisa Lu – China
Howard Lucraft – United Kingdom
Lilly Lui – Hong Kong
Ramzi Malouki – Tunisia
Karen Martin – Japan
Lawrie Masterson – Australia, New Zealand
Paz Mata – Spain
Juliette Michaud – France
Max B. Miller – United Kingdom
Aud Berggren Morisse – Norway
Yukiko Nakajima – Japan
Yoko Narita – Japan
Aniko Navai – Hungary, Singapore
Janet R. Nepales – Philippines
Ruben V. Nepales – Dubai, Philippines
Alexander Nevsky – Russia
Yenny Nun-Katz – Chile, Peru
Scott Orlin – Germany
Mira Panajotovic – Serbia
H.J. Park – South Korea
Alena Prime – Tahiti
Serge Rakhlin – Latvia, Russia
Patrick Roth – Germany
Mohammed Rouda – United Arab Emirates
Frank Rousseau – France
Ali Sar – Russia
Frances Schoenberger – Germany
Elisabeth Sereda – Austria
Judy Solomon – Israel
Lorenzo Soria – Italy
Hans J. Spurkel – Austria, Switzerland
Magnus Sundholm – Sweden
Aida Takla-O’Reilly – Dubai, Egypt
Meher Tatna – Malaysia, Singapore
Jack Tewksbury – Argentina, Russia
Herve Tropea – France
Lynn M. Tso – Taiwan
Alessandra Venezia – Italy
Marlene von Arx – Switzerland
Jerry Watson – United Kingdom
Anita Weber – Japan, South Africa, United Kingdom
Noemia Young – Canada

Anita Baum, Edmund Brettschneider, Isabelle Caron, Andre Guimond, Kleo Lee, Helena Mar-Elia, Maria Snoeys-Lagler and Helmut Voss.

Gilda Baum-Lappe

Waxman, Sharon (Dec. 20, 2005). “Suicide Reveals Strife in Group Behind the Globes”. The New York Times. Retrieved October 25, 2007.

Waxman, Sharon (January 11, 2008). “Hollywood Con Job: Either Fix the Golden Globes or Get Them Off the Air”. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 12, 2008.

Wolk, Josh (December 21, 1999). “Bribe, She Said”. Entertainment Weekly.