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Golden Globes: Rule Changes for Limited Series, Acting and Foreign Language Film

Coming just a day after the Academy introduced some big changes for the upcoming Oscars, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, who puts on the annual Golden Globe Awards, announced a few adjustments and rule changes of their own.

After being nominated in and winning multiple Golden Globes in the Limited Series/TV Movie categories, HBO’s Big Little Lies announced it would be returning for a second season. This caused a bit of a dust-up and multiple guild and awards organizations scrambled, some keeping the show in limited series, others moving over to drama series in time for voting. For the Golden Globes, in an effort to avoid future issues with changing statuses of a limited series, says “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.” A similar situation happened a few years ago with HBO’s True Detective. The first season competed as a Drama Series at the Emmys but a Miniseries (as the category was called then) at the Golden Globes. Once it was established it would be returning, but as an anthology with a new cast and new storyline, the Emmys followed suit. When Big Little Lies returns later this year, it will compete as a Drama Series.

Intense scrutiny over what qualifies as a comedy or drama with the HFPA has always been the butt of jokes and even controversy. In an effort to put the onus on the studios and filmmakers, the group said “HFPA members may ask the submitting studio or publicist to also submit materials in support of any classifications. 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.”

In the acting categories, the HFPA has established a (low) percentage bar requirement for an actor’s classification as lead or supporting. “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.”

In Foreign Language Film, not a major change but more of a clarification: “non-English language dubbed versions of motion pictures originally filmed in English may not be entered.”

Finally, another element that has consistently plagued the organization has been the act of self-promotion. Between the infamous ‘New Star of the Year’ win for Pia Zadora in 1982 to Sharon Stone’s extravagant watch giveaway to HFPA members in 1999 (they were immediately returned), the HFPA announced a slightly stronger tone with regards to the original song category, saying “Qualifying songs may not be performed live solely for HFPA members.” Not a big change, by any means, but is an effort to keep studios from creating an uneven playing by offering direct contact and exposure to stars and performers in a private environment.

The nominations for the 76th Golden Globe Awards will be announced in December with the awards ceremony in January 2019, dates TBA.

About Erik Anderson

Erik thanks his mother for his love of all things Oscar, having watched the Academy Awards together since he was in the single digits; making lists, rankings and predictions throughout the show. This led him down the path to obsessing about awards. Much later, he found himself at GoldDerby, led by Tom O’Neill and then migrated over to Oscarwatch (now AwardsDaily), headed up by Sasha Stone before breaking off to create AwardsWatch. He is a member of the International Cinephile Society, GALECA (The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics), the International Press Academy and is the founder/owner of AwardsWatch.

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