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David Poland

By David Poland

This New Globes Mess

Getting past my foundational concerns about a publicist suing and parsing out the details to media like, well, a publicist…

The details and the truth or untruth of the specific claims in this Michael Russell lawsuit – whistleblowing after fired – are a distraction from the real issue.

The details and the truth or untruth of the specific claims by or against Dick Clark Productions are a distraction from the real issue.

The real issue is that 81 voting members (this year) hold Hollywood as a willing hostage, year in and year out, all year long, because they have a network television slot… which, of course, is 100% at the well-paid largess of Dick Clark Productions… but I digress…

I like many HFPA members. I even respect some of them, including Emanuel Levy, who is once again a Guru o’ Gold this year, and Mike Goodrich, who is a legitimate journalist, though he tends to dip his beak into the scummiest puddles. There are a few others.

And of course they won’t expand the membership base, since not only would the pool of benefits be thinned, but the scam, because it is reliant on the industry’s cooperation, might be endangered if the cost of wining/dining/flying/hosting/buying were significantly increased. When a con artist has a mark on the hook like this, getting too greedy about the mark would be a massive tactical error. Sucking in extras from side players is fair game though. And trying to kick the person who set up the con for you, since it is now so well placed that you don’t need to keep paying for the privilege, is standard, although dangerous if the waters get murky for some reason (like Oscar moving into January).

Thing is, like the element of the junket system that is about quote whoring – as there is legitimate business done at junkets that benefits both studios and the mostly TV outlets that attend junkets at studio expense – this is a broken, corrupt mess that is allowed to stand because it is seen to be of more service to the industry than trouble.

So who do we blame? The Whore or The John?

I say, you have to blame both. I am not going to rail on about Phil Berk or anyone else stealing cash out of wallets when the industry is not only soliciting his/HFPA’s favors, but is blithely stupid enough – or is it an intentional way of pretending to not have responsibility? – to leave its wallet on the desk while going into the bathroom to brush its teeth before the act being paid for begins?

Hollywood enables the HFPA and The Golden Globes year after year after year. Journalists go on radio and TV and write in print about how silly it all is… and then write some more about it, because, you know, it might sell a damned paper.

Really, we’re all sicker than HFPA is. They may be in denial about their high-priced whoredom… and I would estimate a slot in HFPA to be worth well over $100,000 a year in goods and services. But they know. They have to know. These are not stupid people. And moreover, they are political people. Political enough to get into and stay in HFPA, which has the best funded social welfare program for (mostly) non-productive journalists in the world.

You cannot talk to ANY of the industry professionals who do business with this organization without getting eyerolls and sighs or even outright rages about how wasteful and unpleasant the HFPA dog & pony show is. No one wants to do it. No one wants to pay for it. No one enjoys their interactions with the group.

YET… they line up to kiss the ring. They take the opportunity to promote. They take the opportunity to give parties that are much bigger than the proceedings themselves. (The invited population of the Beverly Hilton must quadruple within an hour of the end of the show… including me, who comes to the parties that are not HFPA’s, but the studios that I work with and, indeed, do business with.) And they don’t want to be left out… even if being “in” causes them to feel a certain urge to shower, especially when they have to convince talent that this is really important and they really shouldn’t tip the limo driver with the trophy.

See Charles Ferguson’s Inside Job… think about movies… pretty close, though the stakes are so much lower that (almost) everyone can sleep at night, comfortable that no one outside of The Club really knows how humiliating it all really is.

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14 Responses to “This New Globes Mess”

  1. Bob Burns says:

    but, ya know… they put on a great show. that was a great awards show.

  2. IOv3 says:

    That seems to be all people care about with the globes.

  3. scooterzz says:

    really, bob?….a great awards show?…i’d love to hear about the ‘great’ things…..

  4. IOv3 says:

    Ricky Gervais insulting celebrities, scoot. That’s about it.

  5. Joe Leydon says:

    It was pretty freakin’ funny. And not just when Gervais was on fire, or when De Niro and Downey went to work. Hell, I laughed out loud when Jeremy Iorns let loose with a bombastic “Here… are the nominees… for Best Supporting Actress… IN A MOTION PICTURE!!”

  6. Good Dr. Not Bordwell says:

    Let’s see…

    The entire cast of Glee rubbing elbows with Hollywood royalty. Michelle Pfeiffer reprising her role from The Fabulous Baker Boys while presenting (you know, the parts where she can’t remember the lyrics to a single goddamn song). Fincher, Nolan, Aronofsky and Russell practically sitting at the same table. Angie leaning on Brad’s shoulder all night (awwww!!!). Andrew Garfield totally blowing his lines. Annette Bening kissing Julianne Moore on the lips. Jesse Eisenberg looking like he genuinely did not give the slightest fuck. January Jones in that dress. Was Elizabeth Moss actually Hugh Laurie’s date? When he asked her who the hell Jim Parsons was, it sure looked like it. Portman calling Kunis “Sweet Lips.” Warren Beatty watching Robert Downey Jr. and wistfully remembering his past. Plus, some surprising moments of authentic emotion: Chris Colfer’s acceptance speech, Temple Grandin having a great time, Michael Douglas totally selling “There’s got to be an easier way to get a standing ovation.”

    The whole thing clocking in at 3 hours flat.


  7. movieman says:

    Speaking of “Inside Job,” did the GG give an award for best documentary?
    If so, I must have missed it.
    Fun show (Gervais may be an atheist, but he’s my new god), but did they really need to show excerpts (from the trailers, no less) of every damn movie nommed for Best Picture Drama AND Musical/Comedy? Particularly when some of those movies were “Burlesque” and “The Tourist.” (I’m still trying to figure out how “Country Strong” missed out on a m/c nod.)

  8. torpid bunny says:

    It seems fun, it’s too bad it’s associated with the HFP. I can’t even watch the Oscars now but I like how the globes doesn’t have so many leaden presentations.

  9. chris says:

    GG doesn’t give that award, movieman.

  10. moviegoer11 says:

    I really don’t understand all the trashing pundits and bloggers give the Globes as if to say the OSCARS is the barometer of what is really outstanding in films for the year not the Globes. From what I see the Globes have the same nominees for their award show as do the critics groups or the OSCARS. So why the thrashing…must be the dinner table set up.

  11. IOv3 says:

    The Globes are given away by a bunch of people who are in it for the swag. While the Oscars are given away by the ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURE ARTS AND SCIENTISTS! This is why the Oscars matter and the Globes, not so much.

  12. Good Dr. Not Bordwell says:

    Fer fuck’s sake, Poland’s gonna have to write another column about the HFPA to explain it all.

  13. movieman says:

    thnx, Chris.
    it must have slipped my mind that the Globes don’t bother awarding docs.

  14. K-cups cheap says:

    Interesting entry, keep up the great work… bookmarked!

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon