One of the biggest mysteries to emerge from this year's batch of Golden Globe nominations was how, exactly, 2020's best show I May Destroy You managed to be snubbed out of the running completely while one of 2020's most...controversial shows, Emily In Paris ended up securing not one, but two nominations. Well, a recent Los Angeles Times exposé about the embattled history of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association seems to offer a few hints. Not only does the report reveal that the 87-person HFPA has a grand total of zero Black people amongst their voting body, but it also discloses that at least 30 HFPA members were given a free trip to Paris as part of Emily In Paris' initial promotional push.
"In 2019, more than 30 HFPA members flew to France to visit the set of the new series Emily In Paris," reveals the L.A. Times. At the time, the series was still being produced for Paramount Network (it would eventually be bought by Netflix in July 2020), who "treated the group to a two-night stay at the five-star Peninsula Paris hotel." The price per night at the hotel, which is a mere five-minute walk from the über-popular tourist destination Arc de Triomphe? Oh, well, a measly $1,400 a night — and that's the absolute cheapest room.
In addition to their swank hotel visit, the 30 invited HFPA members were also attended a news conference and lunch at the exclusive Musée des Arts Forains. The museum is known to only offer private, pre-booked tours to its visitors, and is renowned for its plethora of "amusement rides dating to 1850." According to one HFPA member, who spoke to the L.A. Times anonymously, the swank press trip was an incredible experience. "They treated us like kings and queens," they said.
Though other reporters were also invited to attend the press trip — including a freelancer on behalf of the L.A. Times — many think the Emily In Paris "lavish press trip to eventual Golden Globes nomination" pipeline speaks to a broader pattern within the HFPA. While other reporters might consider themselves above being bought off by a work-specific venture, members of the HFPA have a tendency to fall prey to these perks. "There was a real backlash and rightly so — that show doesn’t belong on any best of 2020 list. It’s an example of why many of us say we need change. If we continue to do this, we invite criticism and derision," one anonymous HFPA member told the newspaper.
The rest of the industry seems very knowledgable about the susceptibility of the HFPA, too. According to the L.A. Times, a former Marketing Executive for Amazon Studios disclosed that the Jeff Bezos-launched streaming service "retained a dedicated team of half a dozen people solely to work with the HFPA." (If you need help with that math, that's an entire person per every 15 HFPA members.) He noted that HFPA members “live for the [press] events, rather than for the love of movies." He also spoke to the HFPA's sense of entitlement when it came to being catered to, adding, "It’s more about how you’re treating them. You had to have nice receptions in elegant places. If you didn’t do that, you’d hear complaining that it wasn’t great. They were vocal about it.”
Taking all of this into consideration, suddenly, Emily In Paris' double Golden Globe nominations don't seem all that surprising. For a group of awards voters who make no qualms about their affinity for nice things, all-expenses-paid trips, and access to celebrities, it's no wonder they'd throw a few votes in that direction after a couple nights at a five-star hotel and a few delicious lunches. In fact, they don't seem all that different from Emily herself.