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March 21, 2023

What are the Golden Globes?

As a writer, you're probably not as familiar with Hollywood award ceremonies as someone trying to make it as an actor or director.

This largely stems from the fact writers are quite divorced from the film industry as they rarely attend the set, and their work is essentially over by the time production begins. Indeed at a ceremony like the Golden Globes, while there are awards for best actor or best director, there is only an award for best screenplay, not best screenwriter.

Writers are also rarely associated with the glitz and glamor that is afforded to the actors and industry executives who attend. However, it can still be essential to know about the Golden Globes' role in the film world as part of your understanding of the business of screenwriting.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Golden Globes for screenwriters.

What is the history of the Golden Globes?

The Golden Globe Awards have been presented annually since 1944 by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA).

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) is a non-profit organization founded the year before the Globes in 1943 that comprises journalists and photographers who cover the entertainment industry, primarily - though not exclusively - in Hollywood. As of 2023, they have 105 members.

The awards ceremony was created to celebrate the achievements of film and television artists domestically and internationally as the Second World War drew to a close and the golden era of Hollywood and film in the 1950s and beyond began.

To date, there have been 80 award ceremonies broadcast nationally since 1964 and locally in L.A since 1958.

What are some memorable Golden Globe moments?

The award ceremony has stoked much controversy generating press coverage and making it a focal point of the Hollywood calendar, perhaps second only to the Oscars.

Some of the most memorable moments of recent years include the Writers Guild strike of 2008, which saw the award ceremony canceled and replaced by a press conference.

There was also controversy when British comedian Ricky Gervais hosted the awards. He used his platform to make a series of offensive jokes about members of the Hollywood Establishment, including actors and executives in the room that evening.

He famously said:

“No one cares about movies anymore. No one goes to the cinema, no one really watches network TV. Everyone is watching Netflix.”

And his advice to award recipients:

“...if you do win an award tonight, don't use it as a platform to make a political speech. You're in no position to lecture the public about anything. So if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent, and your God, and f*** off!”

How are the Golden Globe Awards decided?

The Hollywood Foreign Press decides the Golden Globe. They have a panel of members who judge the screenplays based on several criteria, including originality, creativity, and storytelling. The HFPA also takes into consideration the impact of the screenplay on the audience, as well as its cultural significance.

Since such a small panel decides the awards, films that paned at the box office can sometimes be included, such as The Tourist starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in 2010. Host Gervais took great delight asking Depp if he'd even see the movie.

What is the value in winning a Golden Globe as a writer?

The value in winning a Golden Globe is - above all - prestige and status. There is only one award a screenwriter can win in their own right as a writer: the award for best screenplay for a motion picture. There is no award for best screenplay for a TV series.

Previous winners have included some of the best writers of all time, including Mark Norman and Tom Stoppard for Shakespeare In Love in 1998, Christoper Nolan for Momento and Richard Curtis in 2003 for Love Actually. James Cameron won best director for Titanic in 1997 and was also nominated for best screenplay.

All these writers have achieved stardom and recognition, and their films have entered the zeitgeist of popular culture.

As such, it becomes easier for these writers to get further gigs as they have proven their value as a screenwriter; they have turned over a profit for their production companies. Many of these writers have also gone on to become established auteur directors in future films.

The Golden Globes in the era of Netflix, social media, and indy films

The Golden Globes have less value than they did 10 or 15 years ago. This is because the film and TV industry has fragmented and changed.

Hollywood is no longer the center of the universe when it comes to writing for TV and film. Therefore gaining the approval of Hollywood executives is less important than it once was. Whilst Netflix and Amazon are invited to the ceremony, and their shows are eligible, streaming platforms exist primarily outside of Hollywood’s orbit.

Platforms are more willing to take a punt on screenwriters who have bold and original ideas. Their business model of a subscription service also gives streaming services greater resources to invest in new talent.

While the Golden Globes for screenwriters are still a valuable opportunity, the rise of YouTube and independent films now give you even better options. Though this usually involves investing your own money by going it alone and building your audience, you can exist outside of the Hollywood model.

If you’re looking for advice and tips on taking your screenwriting to the next level, be sure to check out the rest of our blog and download our FREE screenwriting software today.


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What are the Golden Globes?
Harry Verity

Harry is a professional writer. His first novel The Talk Show was published in the U.S and the U.K by Bloodhound Books in 2021 and he is currently working on adapting it for screen using Arc Studio. He's also written for Media Magazine - a UK magazine for students of A-level Film, Media and Television Studies. His journalism has appeared in The Guardian, Readers' Digest and Newsweek, amongst many other publications. He has just finished his second novel for young adults, set in a boarding school. He holds a BA in English from Loughborough University.

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