“Golden rules for the Golden Globes”

On April 18, I attended Vienna’s Let’s CEE film festival showcasing audio-visual productions originating from the Central and Eastern Europe “CEE” region. I participated in a master class that delved into the nitty-gritty of foreign language film/TV submission rules to the Golden Globes.

Unfortunately, special guest Serge Rakhlin, chairman of the Foreign Language Film Committee of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (“HFPA”), was not able to come to Vienna personally and the interview session was canceled. Instead, Barbara Gasser, a HFPA member, jumped in opening with a statement that caught the immediate attention of assembled international filmmakers and producers in the room: “contrary to general belief, the threshold for becoming a Golden Globe Award nominee isn’t too high.”

Ever wondered why some movie wasn’t nominated another one, though weaker in story or as a whole, wasn’t? Who gets nominated?

Nomination process 

1. Registration

Typically, the distributor/studio/publicist registers the motion picture to submit the entry form. The deadline for submissions for Golden Globe Motion Picture and Television entry forms is end of October. 

2. Eligibility

HFPA’s general eligibility rules and explanations apply. For international filmmakers, eligibility rules might be particularly important as their additional prerequisites to meet. Side note: foreign language motion pictures are exempt to win the “Best Motion Picture Award”.  

3. Release

Foreign language films must contain more than 50% non-English dialogue and must be released in its country of origin during a 15-month period prior to the awards. A release in the United States is not required. 

4. Public screening

The final screening date will be end of November/ beginning of December. Screenings must take place in a theater in the greater Los Angeles area to which all HFPA members must be invited. Barbara pointed out that early screenings are favorable. With approximately 300 projects submitted each year, an early exhibition date increases the chance jury members will be able to make it to the screening.

5. Voting

Nomination ballots are sent to the HFPA members (approximately 90 members). They then vote for the top five nominees in each category in the first round. After the official announcement of nominees, the members cast their votes once again and send the final ballots to Ernst & Young, the accounting firm attesting the winners.

Major differences between the Golden Globes and Oscars