Everything You’d Ever Need to Know About the Golden Globe Awards

Photo Source: Caitlin Watkins

If you’re a casual fan of awards season you know of one other show aside from the Oscars: The Golden Globe Awards. There’s an offbeat quality to the ceremony hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association that makes it one of the most entertaining and ridiculous around. The drinks flow freely, the hosts skew a little more relaxed, and the nominees tend to be a mix of both expected players and some oddball choices. This is a night where a winner could be in the bathroom when her name is called.

Meryl Streep, no surprise, holds the record for both most Globe nominations (29 as of now) and most competitive wins (seven, plus an honorary Cecil B. DeMille Award) although Barbra Streisand has nine total, counting wins for directing (she is the only female winner in the film directing category), producing, composing, and honorary awards. Four times in the ceremony’s history, an actor has taken home two statues in the same night: Sigourney Weaver, Joan Plowright, Helen Mirren, and Kate Winslet. At the 46th Globes a three-way tie occurred between Weaver, Jodie Foster, and Shirley MacLaine. During the 2017 ceremony, “La La Land” earned the most Globe statues ever for a single movie with seven, and swept more than any project—records that may hold for a while. Last year “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and “Big Little Lies” won big.

In general HFPA voters recognize eventual Oscar hopefuls, freshman TV series, and rising stars. Below we’ve rounded up everything you’ve ever wondered about the glamorous Globes.

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When did the Golden Globe Awards first take place?

The history of the HFPA is a fascinating one. Per its website, though versions of international journalist groups existed previously, a version of the organization as we know it rose during WWII when the Hollywood Foreign Correspondents Association was formed “to share contacts, information, and material.” Their first Golden Globes ceremony took place in 1944, although the HFCA did not immediately grow into the HFPA; a group of members split off in 1950 to start the Foreign Press Association of Hollywood, which handed out the Henriettas (named after then-president Henry Gris). In 1955 the separate entities became one again.

Who votes on them?

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is a collection of about 90 largely obscure journalists from around the world who reside in Southern California and ostensibly write about the movies. Over the years, to make sense of their sometimes bizarre choices, other reporters have dug into exactly who they are. In 2015 Vulture presented an investigation: “Some HFPA members are legitimate journalists and critics whose work could be found in major newspapers and magazines. Many more are junketeers who seem more interested in getting a picture with their subject than asking probing questions.”

How do they vote?

The balloting procedure remains pretty simple. Members are asked to rank five nominees (from a reminder list of what’s eligible). The ranking will be used in the event of ties. That then goes back to an accounting firm. Final ballots are sent out in December and due in early January. Movies, to be eligible, must be screened for voters in the Los Angeles area.

When and where are the Golden Globes held this year?

The 76th annual Golden Globe ceremony will be held Jan. 6, 2019 at the The Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles.

Who do they honor?

What differentiates the Globes most from the other major show of the season is the split between drama and musical or comedy in the film categories. This divide can become hairy given that sometimes genre isn’t that simple. Last year, for instance, there was mild controversy over whether “Get Out” really could be considered a comedy. And putting 2016’s “The Martian” under that label struck some as, well, laughable.

What is the complete list of Golden Globe categories?

Film:

Best Motion Picture – Drama

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Best Motion Picture – Animated

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture

Best Director – Motion Picture

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

Best Original Score – Motion Picture

Best Original Song – Motion Picture

TV:

Best Television Series – Drama

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

On top of all of that, the Globes also regularly pay tribute to a Hollywood legend with the Cecil B. DeMille Award. Last year Oprah Winfrey became the first black woman to receive one.

How can I join the Hollywood Foreign Press Association?

The requirements are fairly self-explanatory but also fairly prohibitive. You must, according to the 2017 application, live in L.A., be able to prove you’re a paid “Hollywood correspondent” for a foreign publication, be registered in the International Directory for the Motion Picture Association of America, and be sponsored by two people who are presently members. So start schmoozing!

What is their relation to other major awards shows?

Because of the prominence of the broadcast, the Globes are seen as a major stop on the way to the Academy Awards. And while they certainly they can swing public opinion about a particular movie or star, it’s worth remembering people who are in the HFPA are not in the Academy.

A 2013 study from FiveThirtyEight found that the Best Motion Picture Drama category has a 48 percent success rate of predicting the Oscar winner. That statistic resembles a 2016 Flavorwire analysis of the past decade that found that the Globes’ Best Picture (both comedy and drama) has a 50 percent chance of ending up the same as the Oscars’.

How can I become a Golden Globe winner?

  • Sharpen your skills by studying acting, writing, directing, producing, composing, and more!
  • Read up on Backstage’s guides for a career in film or television
  • Get an agent, sign that contract
  • Master the audition and submission processes, and book gigs. Then keep applying to jobs!
  • Network with your fellow artists
  • Once your buzzy project is out, you may want to hire a publicist
  • For more info on submitting to the Golden Globe Awards, visit their site

This article was originally published on Jan. 4, 2018 and has been updated throughout.

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