Golden Globes Amends Rules to Accommodate Anthology Series, Censored Foreign-Language Films

Golden Globe statuettes are on display - Getty-H 2018
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Since the novel coronavirus outbreak enveloped America in March, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has updated its Golden Globes rules several times. On March 26, it declared that films will temporarily be able to qualify for best picture consideration even if they first screen somewhere other than a movie theater. On May 8, it suspended the theatrical requirement for films not in the English language, as well.

On Wednesday, the HFPA announced a host of other revisions to its rules for the coming awards season — only this time, they have nothing to do with the pandemic.

The most notable tinker pertains to anthology series. There had been a lack of clarity about where shows of this sort — which have seen a resurgence in recent years — were eligible to compete, in the drama series or the limited series or motion picture made for television categories, since some, like FX's American Horror Story, offering different storylines with similar personnel season-by-season, and others, like Netflix's Black Mirror, offering different storylines with different personnel episode-by-episode.

The HFPA has determined that anthology series will be accommodated with the expansion of the best limited series/TV movie category, to become best television limited series, anthology series or motion picture made for television, and the lead acting categories thereof.

And supporting performers in anthology series — defined as those who appear in less than 50 percent of the running time of the anthology series — will compete alongside supporting performers from every sort of TV in one unified best performance by an an actor in a supporting role on television and best performance by an actress in a supporting role on television.

On a practical level for this awards season, this means that the latest season of Black Mirror will compete against limited series and TV movies at the Globes — even though the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has determined that it should compete as a drama series in the Emmys race. It also means that every performer from the latest season of Black Mirror will be eligible for an acting nomination in only the supporting categories that encompass work in all formats of TV.

The HFPA, a group of L.A.-based journalists for foreign publications, has become a great champion of freedom for journalists and artists around the world, which perhaps explains another portion of Wednesday's announcement: its declaration that foreign-language motion pictures can now qualify for Golden Globe consideration even if they were not released in their country of origin "if censorship prevented it from being released in its country of origin, provided that it had a one-week release in another country during the qualifying period and that it meets the other criteria for eligibility."

The revisions release also states that active and lifetime members can vote on the Golden Globes; clarifies that actors whose faces are not visible are not eligible in any acting category; includes a definition of "lead cast member" in motion pictures ("the central characters who appear in a substantial portion of the motion picture and who drive the narrative of the motion picture") and updates the definition of lead cast member for television roles; includes a definition of eligible director(s) of an eligible motion picture; clarifies the definition of "English language" for determination of foreign language content; clarifies "country of origin" for foreign-language motion pictures; specifies that the HFPA will attempt to correct entry errors and omissions but that accuracy in entries ultimately is the responsibility of the individual initially entering the motion picture or television program for awards consideration; references the HFPA's current Gift Rules (Rules for Screeners and Promotional Materials for HFPA Members); and provides standards for the use of Golden Globe logos and trophy images in advertising.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are set to host the 78th Golden Globe Awards on a date in 2021 that has not yet been announced.