The precursor of today’s Golden Globes was a luncheon held in December of 1947, at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, hosted by the newly formed Hollywood Foreign Correspondents Association. At the luncheon, Harry M. Warner, president of Warner Brothers, was presented with a plaque 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.
From there grew the idea of a yearly recognition of excellence in moviemaking by members of the Foreign Correspondents Association. As representatives of the world press, the group’s members felt it was incumbent upon them to give their audience their judgments as to Hollywood’s finest productions. The organization’s first awards presentation for distinguished achievements in the film industry took place in early 1944 with an informal ceremony at 20th Century Fox. There, Jennifer Jones was awarded Best Actress honors for “The Song of Bernadette,” which also won for Best Film, while Paul Lukas took home Best Actor laurels for “Watch on the Rhine.” Awards were presented in the form of scrolls.
The following year, the members of the association held a contest to find a design for a statuette that would best represent the overall aims of the organization. Marina Cisternas, president of the group in 1945-46, presented the idea for a golden globe encircled with a strip of motion picture film, and mounted on a pedestal.
In conjunction with the Golden Globes presentation, the Hollywood Foreign Correspondents Association held its first gala social event in 1945 with a formal banquet at the Beverly Hills Hotel. “Going My Way” won for Best Picture, while Ingrid Bergman and Alexander Knox were named Best Actress and Best Actor for their performances in “The Bells of St. Mary” and “President Wilson,” respectively.
There have been other important landmarks in the history of the Golden Globes. In 1951 the association decided to divide the best film, actor and actress nominees into two categories — drama, and musical or comedy — so that no genre would be slighted. In 1952, the HFPA created the Cecil B. DeMille Award to recognize “outstanding contribution to the entertainment field.” The award’s first recipient was DeMille himself.
In 1955 the Golden Globes began honoring achievements in television as well as in film. The first honorees in the Best Television Show category that year were “Dinah Shore,” “Lucy & Desi,” “The American Comedy” and “Davy Crockett.” In 2007, The Golden Globes initiated the category “Best Animated Feature Film” and the first year nominees were “Cars,” “Happy Feet” and “Monster House.”
A continuing tradition of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is the group’s annual selection of Miss and/or Mr. Golden Globe, the daughter and/or son of a well-known performer who assists in the Golden Globe ceremony. Previous Miss Golden Globe honorees include Laura Dern (daughter of Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern), Joely Fisher (daughter of Connie Stevens and
Eddie Fisher), Melanie Griffith (daughter of Tippi Hedren) and Lorraine Nicholson (daughter of Jack Nicholson). In 2012 the honoree was Rainee Qualley (daughter of Andie McDowell). Previous Mr. Golden Globes include John Clark Gable and Freddie Prinze, Jr.
Today, the Golden Globes recognize achievements in 25 categories; 14 in motion pictures and 11 in television. January 13 2013 will mark the 70th presentation of the Golden Globe Awards.