Who Decides the Golden Globes? What You Need to Know About the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

When people win Academy Awards, they get up to the podium and thank the Academy. When they win Golden Globes, they get up and thank...the globe? Obviously not. So, who should they thank? Who chooses the Golden Globe winners?

As many pop culture aficionados know, the awards are decided by an organization called the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). The group is just what it sounds like: a group of journalists who cover Hollywood from outside of the United States. But who are these people?

Holding galas and giving out awards isn't the only thing the organization does — though it does seem to be one of the primary reasons for the group, considering that one of its very first functions it held in 1935 was a ball that boasted guests like Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford. (Yeah, yeah, that's impressive and all, but we've got Tina and Amy.)

When it isn't getting celebrities all dressed up and handing them statues, though, the nonprofit organization is in the business of giving out grants and scholarships (kind of like Miss America, only the HFPA scholarships are real). "Over the years, the HFPA has donated more than $18 million to various charities and has funded scholarships and programs for up-and-coming film and television professionals," Variety reports. "This year, the HFPA is set to contribute to more than 50 causes spanning professional and pre-professional education and training, scholarships and cultural advocacy."

To me, the biggest way the HFPA differs from the Oscars' Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is its size. The Academy is huge; there are more than 7,000 AMPAS members. The HFPA, by contrast, is teeny-tiny, with only around 90 members.

So, while the Golden Globes seems like a big and important (and, best of all, boozy) gala, the award really only represents the opinion of less than 100 people. If their choices seem a little wacky, that's why.

Another big distinction between the AMPAS and the HFPA is its membership. The people who decide the Oscars work in the film industry as actors, directors, writers, and other film professionals — though, as The Guardian notes, it's mostly actors, who make up more than 20 percent of the Oscar vote. The HFPA, on the other hand, is made up of journalists. Those who work on movies probably have a different perspective from those who cover it from the outside. If the Globes seem a little more fan-ish and starry-eyed about celebrities, the HFPA is the reason.

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