Golden Globes Rule Changes Include One That Appears to Be Inspired by 'Big Little Lies'

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association implemented a host of mostly minor changes to its rules and regulations Wednesday morning, with one focusing on limited series.
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

A day after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced new policies and procedures that will govern the coming Oscar season, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has updated the rules and regulations on its website to reflect changes that will impact this year's race to the Golden Globes.

One alteration might be called "the Big Little Lies rule," in recognition of the HBO program that competed at the Golden Globes last year. That show was entered at the Globes as a limited series, but the very day after nomination voting ended, HBO revealed that it would be brought back for a second season, meaning it wasn't a limited series after all, which irked many. While the HFPA seems to recognize that there is very little that it can do to prevent that sort of situation from occurring again, it does seem to want to clarify — sort of — how the second season of a show like Big Little Lies will be classified, adding to its rules, "A television limited series that is later renewed for an additional season shall be classified as a series or again as a limited series in that later season depending on the degree of continuity in theme, storyline, main characters and production supervision from the original limited series to the later year of the series."

Following years in which distributors have tried to skirt Globes rules by entering a drama as a musical or comedy, or vice versa, the HFPA is showing its frustration, if not exactly cracking down, noting that "HFPA members may ask the submitting studio or publicist to also submit materials in support of any classifications," and warning, "The director of a motion picture or television program that may have been misclassified as either a drama or a comedy may be required to submit a letter justifying the initial classification."

When it comes to the acting categories, the HFPA is now formally requesting that distributors do what many have already been doing when they have films comprising true ensembles, like Babel or Spotlight, specifically: "Actors in ensemble casts in television programs with comparable roles should be classified as all lead or all supporting actors." The group further asserts, "Supporting cast members in a motion picture must appear in a minimum of 5% of the motion picture’s total program time," and adds, "While cameo appearances are not eligible for acting awards, actors who play partially fictional characters and appear in a significant portion of a motion picture or television program are eligible."

There are a few other minor changes and clarifications, such as one pertaining to the award for best foreign language film: "non-English language dubbed versions of motion pictures originally filmed in English may not be entered." But the most interesting one, in a way, involves self-policing. The organization, recognizing that its members have faced harsh criticism for the way they are sometimes coddled by distributors and filmmakers who hope to curry favor with the group (methods range from complimentary travel to material gifts valued at up to $95 per film), is tightening the reins — slightly — on what its members can be offered: "Qualifying songs may not be performed live solely for HFPA members."