The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has made several revisions to the 2015 rules of eligibility for the annual Golden Globe Awards. Mainly a set of very subtle changes, the new rules are intended to address either trends in film or television such as the proliferation of new formats, or to address procedural questions or formalize procedures which have been followed but were not official.
On the film front, the most significant change is that films which are released simultaneously in theaters, and on certain television formats such as VOD or Netflix, will be eligible for motion picture awards by default. Previously, such services were automatically considered television, and the rules change takes into account the increased use of simultaneous release, particularly with specialty film, without knocking those films out of motion picture eligibility.
For film music, to head off any potential conflict over eligibility to receive a Golden Globe, credit for original song will be based on who was credited in the film, though now songs that were released prior to the release of the film will be eligible in that category. Foreign language films, meanwhile, will now be allowed to have multiple countries of origin, formalizing current practice. Further, to increase opportunities for HFPA members to see foreign language films, nominees must now provide screeners or streaming access in addition to official theatrical screenings. Further, the new rules more tightly clarify category eligibility for the various Best Picture awards, codifying procedures that were already unofficially in play.
For television, the most significant revision is that running time will no longer be a differentiating factor between series and limited series, as HFPA has lowered the minimum length required for a TV series from six episodes to 150 min. That matches the minimum running time required for a limited series set last year. Now a program will qualify as a TV series or a limited series based on whether it features “an ongoing theme, storyline or main characters” (TV series) or a complete, non-recurring story (limited series).
The new, lower running time threshold would help shows like UK’s Sherlock and Luther, which no longer can run in the longform categories because of their ongoing characters. Now such programs, which produce less than 6 episodes a year, would be eligible for the drama series field.
Other changes include: Limited series which run in two different years will now be eligible only in the year in which the majority of episodes aired; the extension of the 5% rule of eligibility for supporting actor awards to all television categories; and finally, as with film the revisions more tightly specify who is eligible for various television awards.
Finally, the HFPA has made two procedural changes. All HFPA members must make it to Ernst & Young as part of voting, which has previously been practiced but not required. Also, references to press conferences have been removed to clear up the misconception that they were required in order for a film or tv show to be eligible.