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THB #182a: HFPA Won't Stop Thinkin' About Tomorrow
I’m not even counting this as its own newsletter. Just this Thursday I asked, “Should The Globes Exist?” Even I am sick of talking about this absurd lesion on the industry’s buttocks.
Now, I’m not suggesting BoehlyCo is responding to little ol’ me. But two pieces of HFPA propaganda have dropped since the publication of my piece last week.
Last Thursday/Friday’s con by HFPA was inviting the hundreds of Fipresci (the International Federation of Film Critics) to vote for The Globes, but not to be members. What does this achieve? It gives HFPA the voting base girth that has been demanded by those still fighting to keep the organization in dry dock, while giving up nothing financially. It also associates HFPA with a much more legitimized organization, Fipresci, whose primary focus is:
The organizations of professional film critics and film journalists, established in different countries for the promotion and development of film culture and for the safeguarding of professional interests
The purpose of the Federation is to develop, on an international scale, the activities of its members, as they are described in article 1, and particularly:
1. To safeguard the freedom and ethics of film criticism and film journalism and of information.
2. To promote and expand the idea of the cinema as a means of artistic expression and of cultural education.
3. To discuss, define and confirm the specific rights and obligations of film criticism and journalism.
4. To encourage the exchange of ideas and experience among film critics and film journalists of all countries and thereby create, outside all ideological and political distinctions, a new foundation for a permanent dialogue.
5. To publish and distribute all the documents which accord with this view.
In other words, it’s the polar opposite of Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
In function, the organization sends small groups of critics to festivals worldwide and gives their own critics’ prize in addition to whatever awards the festival presents. Their participation in festivals has been considered a sign of validity for many years.
HFPA offers the group a chance for a much wider public profile and likely a cash infusion that allows the 92-year-old Fipresci to continue its seriously intended work.
Then, on Sunday night, another piece of strategy in HFPA’s push to get back to getting paid 10s of million a year… a report/press release for Todd Boehly/Jay Penske’s Golden Globes by Matt Belloni. (I’d link it, but I think it only exists in the newsletter itself)
Matthew has heard that HFPA “interim” CEO Boehly (partners with Penske in MRC, which owns what was Dick Clark Production and is now called MRC Live & Alternative) is selling MRC L&A to Boehly’s holding company, Eldridge.
In other words. he is selling the production company to himself, continuing to control the both the show runner AND The HFPA.
The only discernible difference is that The Trades (all except The Wrap), operated by Penske and still co-owned by Boehly, will live under a different corporate name.
There is a lot of gobbledygook in the 4-graph piece by Belloni, including multiple claims of disinterest by Boehly. “I’m told Boehly will be reducing his stake (in MRC).” “(Boehly’s) currently spending a lot of time on Chelsea FC.” “Boehly is hoping to exit that post (as HFPA CEO) before the end of the year.“
If you can’t see the machinery grinding here, you need to see the ophthalmologist.
Maybe Boehly simply understands that his name is being associated with filthy behavior and he doesn’t need that hassle, no matter how easy the money and how sweet the access to content creators. He could leave the “interim CEO” slot at HFPA tomorrow and put in a lackey. He may try that one next.
My guess is that, in his billionaire hubris, Boehly figured he could just shovel the HFPA excrement back onto the street with style, some high-profile partnerships who will get big checks from a resurrected HFPA, 8 black members added… PLUS those Fipresci nerds!… and just go back to minting cash with NBC, copping an even bigger cut as the producing entity for having saved HFPA’s still just 105-member ass.
And maybe he will.
And maybe, if it fails this year, he walks away.
I still defy anyone to offer a real service to this industry performed by The Golden Globes that isn’t just a marketing platform.
Meanwhile, I don’t really understand why Matt Belloni, who I’ve heard left Boehly/Penske’s Hollywood Reporter on principle about just this sort of thing, is continuing to carry water for The Golden Globes and those seeking to milk it for more and more money. (Whoever fed him the “sale” story didn’t ask for a mention of the Fipresci alliance. Odd.)
Sorry if it feels weird that there is this much awards talk in July. But it makes sense. The public is not supposed to know, but the decisions about the next Oscar season will almost all be settled by the wizards behind curtain by the end of the month. (Many of you reading this are those wizards… so sorry to newslettersplain it.) Starting in August, it’s all execution.
This includes a yay or nay on The Golden Globes. Oscar has already set its date on March 12, assuring continued low ratings. (Note that the award show window for 2022’s movies is 25 days longer than distributors take to push new theatrical releases to VOD. Hmmm…)
Oscar, old friend… please move to January and end all this filth.