Golden Globes Tweak Rules

Courtesy of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association
Golden Globe

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. stipulates that TV series must run a minimum of 150 minutes and a project debuting both in theaters and online can be eligible for film awards.

With a new film awards season on the horizon, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has made several tweaks to its rules governing the Golden Globe Awards.

The biggest change involves the definition of a TV series for its drama and comedy TV series awards. In previous years, a TV series was defined as a show with at least six episodes — going forward, a series will be defined as a show whose episodes run a total of at least 150 minutes.

That rule was changed to ensure as many series as possible are eligible, given the changing nature of the TV business, with series appearing on both traditional broadcast outlets and online in a variety of formats.  The 150-minute rule was already being used by the HFPA to determine eligibility for its limited series awards.

In making a distinction between limited series and regular series, the HFPA looks at whether or not an ongoing series uses a continuing cast. In its last round of awards, for example, the HFPA nominated True Detective and Fargo in its limited series categories because they don’t use continuing casts but introduce a new roster of actors each season.

The HFPA also dropped a reference in its old rules that had suggested to some publicists that a movie or TV show had to hold a press conference for HFPA members to become eligible for consideration. Although insiders at the organization say that wasn’t the case, it has now removed the reference to press conferences from its rule book to remove any confusion, although it is still expected to maintain its tradition of holding as many press conferences for its members as possible.

On the film side, a movie that debuts simultaneously in theaters and on streaming services like Netflix will be eligible for the HFPA’s film awards. That rule could affect upcoming films like Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation, which will bow simultaneously on Netflix and in theaters this fall. And it parallels an Oscar rule that allows for consideration of online titles if they appear in theaters before or on the same day of their online release.

Other rules were revised to reflect what is already HFPA practice. For example, in deciding which producers should be credited for best drama and best comedy/musical nominees, it will follow the recommendations of the Producers Guild of America, as does the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In the case of foreign films, its award goes to the director. And for best animated feature, it will continue to recognize two key creators, usually a director and one producer.

For its best original song award, the HFPA will follow the credits as listed on the film in order to avoid situations where another party comes forward to claim credit for contributing to a song. It also now stipulates that while a song must be written for a film to be eligible, that song can be released prior to the release of the motion picture.

In the case of foreign films, the HFPA added new language to its rules saying that, in this era of co-productions, an individual film can have multiple countries of origin, which was already the group’s practice — unlike the Oscar award for foreign-language films, the HFPA doesn’t have a one-film-per-country rule. However, it will now require that in addition to providing an official screening for HFPA members, foreign film producers also must provide screeners or online access to their entries. That rule, insiders say, was introduced to make it easier for HFPA members to view as many foreign entries as possible.

As for its TV awards, the Globes, which bases its awards on the calendar year, will consider a limited series that airs over two years in the year during which the majority of its running-time airs. So, for example, a show that debuts in late 2015, but airs most of its episodes during 2016 would be considered for its 2016 awards.

It defines lead actors in television as those who “drive the narrative of a program,” a determination that will be made by an HFPA committee. And to be considered for supporting actor awards, an actor must appear in at least five percent of a program’s running time. Unlike the Emmys, the Globes doesn’t have guest actor categories, and so a guest actor will not be considered unless he or she meets the five percent rule, making the performer eligible for supporting consideration.