(UPDATED) International Films at Tonight's Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Golden Globe Awards
Tonight in Hollywood, the 69th annual Golden Globe awards put on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) will take place. Hosted, as it has been for the past three years, British comedian Ricky Gervais will be back even though in his past appearances he has caused controversy by taking aim at Mel Gibson and Sir Paul McCartney in 2010; and again in 2011 when he openly questioned the sexuality of "some famous Scientologists" before revisiting the troubled past of actor Robert Downey Jr.
Gervais has tweeted about his Globes game plan in the days leading up to the show: "I keep having to write new jokes as I pick my victims, I mean targets, I mean presenters to introduce. Some great people have confirmed." He even told Twitter followers that he'll be drinking lager, ad-libbing and speaking his mind.
The HFPA origins stem from a group of journalists' desire “to efficiently and accurately cover all aspects of the world of entertainment”. According to the group’s website, “today's organization has its roots in the early 1940s when Pearl Harbor had drawn America into World War II. Audiences, hungry for diversion, were seeking out films offering escape, inspiration and entertainment. Amid the turmoil of war and the difficulties with communications, a handful of Los Angeles-based overseas journalists banded together to share contacts, information and material.”
(Ricky Gervais 2011 Golden Globe Opening Monologue, Courtesy Golden Globe Awards)
In 1943 the journalists, led by the correspondent for Britain's Daily Mail, formed the HFPA and conceived the motto “Unity Without Discrimination of Religion or Race.” The group’s first special event was a luncheon in December 1947, at which a plaque was awarded to Harry M. Warner, president of Warner Bros., in recognition of his humanitarian work as the principal sponsor of the “Friendship Train,” which left Hollywood with food, clothing and medical supplies for the needy of Europe.
(THE FLOWER OF WAR, CHINA)
During its early years the HFPA established itself with the studios by innovations such as its World Favorites awards, which it came up with by polling more than 900 newspapers, magazines and radio stations around the world. The group also came up with the idea of "bon voyage" interview lunches with actors and actresses who were leaving to make films in countries represented by the members.
At first awards were only given for films, but in 1955 the Golden Globes began honoring achievements in television too. Today, the Golden Globes recognize achievements in 25 categories; 14 in motion pictures and 11 in television. Dick Clark Productions has produced the Golden Globes ceremony since 1983.
(THE KID WITH A BIKE, BELGIUM)
Today the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association represent some 55 countries with a combined readership of more than 250 million. Their publications include leading newspapers and magazines in Europe, Asia, Australasia and Latin America, ranging from the Daily Telegraph in England to Le Figaro in France, L'Espresso in Italy and Vogue in Germany as well as the China Times and the pan-Arabic magazine Kul Al Osra.
However, despite the group’s international beginnings, only one of the twenty six categories for awards features `International Films”. This year from China, Belgium, Iran, Spain and the United States.
The Flowers Of War (China) features Christian Bale and Ni Ni tells the story of a Westerner who finds refuge with a group of women in a church during Japan's rape of Nanking in 1937. Posing as a priest, he attempts to lead the women to safety.
(A SEPARATION, IRAN)
The Kid With A Bike (Belgium) directed by brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, starring Cécile de France and Thomas Doret. Set in Seraing, it tells the story of an 11-year-old boy who turns to a woman after his father has abandoned him. The film was produced through companies in Belgium, France and Italy.
A Separation (Iran) tells the story of a married couple who are faced with a difficult decision, to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimers. The film stars Peyman Moadi, Leila Hatami and Sareh Bayat.
(THE SKIN I LIVE IN, SPAIN)
The Skin I Live In (Spain) features the story of a brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, who creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession. The film stars Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya and Jan Cornet.
And Angelina Jolie’s recently released film In The Land Of Blood And Honey (United States) which tells a story which took place during the Bosnian War, in which Danijel, a soldier fighting for the Serbs, re-encounters Ajla, a Bosnian who's now a captive in his camp he oversees. Their once promising connection has become ambiguous as their motives have changed. Directed and written by Jolie the film stars Zana Marjanovic, Goran Kostic and Rade Serbedzija.