Earlier this month, Emily in Paris received two Golden Globe nominations for Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy, and Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical or Comedy for Lily Collins. For a show that was given a mediocre score of 63 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 58 percent Audience score, the decision to bestow Emily in Paris with any award consideration baffled a lot of people.
Now we might know why.
According to a report from the Los Angeles Times, over 30 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the voting body that determines the Golden Globe nominees, were flown to Paris by Paramount to visit the set of Emily in Paris, where they stayed for two nights at the five-star, $1,400 per night, Peninsula Paris hotel. There was also a news conference and a lunch at the Musée des Arts Forains, a private museum where the series was being filmed.
“They treated us like kings and queens,” one member who participated in the trip said. While HFPA rules forbid members from accepting gifts valued at over $125 for each project, there are clearly workarounds that have been exploited that are as extravagant as the Emily in Paris experience, or as modest as an opportunity to take a selfie with an A-lister that can be posted on Instagram.
The concept of appealing to Globes voters isn’t as daunting as, say, the Academy, since there are just under 90 HFPA members, compared to the latter where around 9,400 people are eligible to vote.
The L.A. Times launched this investigation in wake of the lawsuit from journalist Kjersti Flaa against the HFPA after being denied membership. Flaa accused the organization of being a “culture of corruption” that operated like a cartel where members would receive “thousands of dollars in emoluments” from studios and networks while sticking to a “code of silence.” A judge ruled in favor of the HFPA, explaining that Flaa didn’t suffer economic or professional hardship as a result of her membership denial.
The suit, however, became a lightning rod for some members within the organization who felt like Flaa’s legal action was part of the outside pressure needed to make a change. The Times investigation found that the HFPA regularly sends out payments to its members, a practice that experts believe could go against IRS guidelines. Individuals have reportedly received nearly $2 million for serving on various committees and performing other tasks.
The bizarre nods for Emily in Paris paled in comparison to the much more glaring issue surrounding the exclusion of Black-led projects, such as Da 5 Bloods, and I May Destroy You, from this year’s nominees.
“We do not control the individual votes of our members…we seek to build cultural understanding through film and TV and recognize how the power of creative storytelling can educate people around the world to issues of race, representation, and orientation,” an HFPA spokesperson said in a statement.
The 78th annual Golden Globes air on NBC on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. EST.