Global View: Celebrating Entertainment's Golden Globe Awards
by Elisa Kronish

Can you imagine one of the motion picture entertainment industry's most prestigious awards being handed out on a piece of paper? Well, the first Golden Globe awards were not golden globes at all-they were scrolls, and they were presented in just five categories: Best Motion Picture, Best Motion Picture Actress, Best Motion Picture Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor. In an informal ceremony held at production company 20th Century Fox, the best movie award went to "The Song of Bernadette." This was in 1944, a year after a group of foreign correspondents decided to create a nonprofit organization comprised solely of foreign press representatives. They called themselves the Hollywood Foreign Correspondents Association.

In 1945 the members of the new group held a contest to find the best design for an award trophy that would symbolize the goals of the organization and that could be used to officially recognize the outstanding achievements of industry entertainers. The members chose a creation by Marina Cisternas, the association's president from 1945 to 1946. The final design-a golden globe encircled with a strip of motion picture film and mounted on a pedestal-has remained virtually unchanged since its debut. Only the base has been modified; about eight years ago it was enlarged to give the statue more balance and height.

Changing Times
Some philosophical disagreements among members of the Hollywood Foreign Correspondents Association resulted in a 1950 split into two different entities. The original group continued to present its Golden Globes, while the separate Foreign Press Association of Hollywood created its own award called the Henrietta, named for the group's president, Henry Gris.

In 1955 the two groups were reunited as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), and the Golden Globe awards prevailed over the lesser-known Henriettas. The year also marked the introduction of Golden Globe awards for achievements in television. The first winners for Best Television Show were "Dinah Shore," "Lucy & Desi," "The American Comedy" and "Davy Crockett."

It wasn't until 1961 that the television award recipients also included specific actors and actresses. Now the awards for television go to winners in 11 different categories. Another increase in the number of awards occurred in 1949 when promising newcomers were first honored, a practice that has since ceased. And in 1951, the association doubled the number of film categories by dividing them into drama and comedy/musical. The following year added the Cecil B. DeMille Award to the list to recognize notable contributions to the entertainment field. DeMille himself, a prominent U.S. producer and director, was the award's first recipient. This year it went to Shirley MacLaine.

The HFPA set the Globes apart from the Academy Awards, which first presented its awards in 1927, in two ways: First, the HFPA distinguishes between drama and comedy/musical; and second, it bestows awards for television as well as film. In the past 18 years, 13 Best Motion Picture Golden Globe winners have gone on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. And 14 of the past 18 winners for both Best Actor and Best Actress in films have also been recipients of the Academy Award. Thus, the Globes have evolved into somewhat of an indicator for the Oscar winners. In the late 1980s, the Golden Globe Awards Ceremony began being televised, thus adding to its popularity and clout.

Globe Makers
About 180 Golden Globe statuettes are produced every three years-creating a three-year supplyÑby ARA member Encore Awards and Marking in Glendora, Calif., a city conveniently located near Los Angeles and the Beverly Hilton Hotel, the glamorous location of the awards ceremony. Encore's history as the Globe manufacturer goes back further than owner Tom Selinske can remember. He and his former partner bought Encore in 1987, but Encore has had the exclusive Globe contract for much longer than that, he says. It was given to them shortly after Encore first opened in Hollywood in 1969. No matter how long the relationship, Selinske says they don't take the account for granted. "We have to earn their business every time," he says.

Encore produces the statue using a combination of metals, which guarantees a long and sturdy life. The globe is made from one mold through a hot metal casting process. Then it's plated with 24-carat gold. If there's a plating problem, Encore can simply replate the statue. The award stands about 10 inches high, with the actual globe measuring 4 inches and the base taking up more of the space at 6 inches high. With a fairly quick process time of 25 or 30 minutes per award, the value of the trophy isn't outrageous-about $250 each. The yellowish, fabricated marble base is subcontracted and then assembled at Encore's facility. Because the Golden Globe winners remain a secret even to Encore, all the engraving takes place after the awards are announced.

Encore is occasionally called upon to make a rush delivery of an extra statue on the day of the awards ceremony. "Like when someone forgets to order one for a press shoot," Selinske explains. "They don't plan too well sometimes. They'll wait until the last minute and forget to have Globes ready," he says. "We can send them an award within the hour." The Globes are typically hand-delivered by an Encore employee. Just in case there are a few more requests for statues than expected, or a tie in any category, Encore always has several extra Globes on hand. "We typically make a few extras as a cushion at no charge," Selinske says.
Encore is also prepared if any Globes are ever lost or destroyed. The largest loss occurred during the devastating Malibu fires of 1995, when many celebrity homes suffered extensive damage. But Encore replaced them all. "We bend over backward for them," Selinske says.
Voting Rights

There are currently about 90 HFPA members in Los Angeles writing about or photographing the entertainment industry for approximately 200 print, radio and television outlets in more than 50 countries. They all may vote for both nominees and winners of the awards. To become a member of the HFPA, existing members nominate potential candidates. There can be up to five new members voted into the association each year. Members must be natives of the country they work for, but a U.S. resident for at least two years. They also must be accredited by the Motion Picture Association of America and must produce at least four items of exemplary work each year.

Some critics of the association argue that some members possess questionable credentials and that technically their work could be anything from a long, analytical article to a short blurb written from the transcript of a celebrity interview. Other people have accused association members of receiving substantial gifts and incentives in exchange for voting for the gift-giver's choice for winner. Perhaps the most extreme example took place when the 1982 Golden Globe for Newcomer of the Year went to Pia Zadora. This came after members of the HFPA were treated to food and drinks at a Las Vegas show starring Zadora and paid for by her husband.

Despite any faultfinders, the Golden Globe Awards have staked out a significant place for themselves in the hearts and minds of millions of fans and industry insiders across the globe. As for Encore Awards and Marking, they receive some perks, too. It gives their business added exposure and recognition and, says Selinske: "We've been invited to attend the awards."