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Golden Globes really don't know if Anne Hathaway will win

January 10, 2009 |  5:26 pm

Golden Globe watchers are abuzz with skepticism over the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.'s assertion that its website didn't accidentally leak the news that Anne Hathaway ("Rachel Getting Married") will win best drama actress at Sunday's award ceremony.


On Thursday, a star appeared next to Anne Hathaway's name on a list of "nominations and winners" at the site — a star usually signifies the winner. A reader in Honduras spotted it, tipped off blogger Perez Hilton, who blabbed the goof across cyberspace. The suspicion that HFPA leaked true information seemed plausible for two reasons:

1) Anne Hathaway is just the kind of hot, lovely ingenue whom Golden Globe voters often hail.

2) Hathaway proved she's got kudos momentum by tying Meryl Streep ("Doubt") at the Critics' Choice Awards that night.

The HFPA issued this explanation: "In the process of preparing for Sunday's Golden Globe Awards, a technician working on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's website made a mistake and a name of a nominee was randomly marked as a winner. The mistake was immediately corrected.

"The ballots are tabulated by the accounting firm of Ernst & Young LLP. Only four executives of the accounting firm know the identity of the winners before the envelopes are opened and recipients are announced during the live telecast. No one else, including the members of the HFPA, knows who the winners are prior to the live announcement."

Is that really true? Yes, it's safe to say. Management of tallying the awards was taken out of HFPA members' hands after the Pia Zadora scandal of 1981. There was such an uproar over her winning the award for best newcomer after her tycoon hubby flew members to Las Vegas to see her sing at his casino that CBS refused to telecast the kudofest live the next year.

For the next five years the Golden Globes dangled in TV limbo. They had to settle on a taped TV show that was sold via syndication and aired after everybody knew the winners. Viewership was minimal, of course. Finally, the ceremony saluting films released in 1987 was picked up by ABC, then dropped due to low ratings. Cable network TBS took over the next seven telecasts (1988-1994), but the Golden Globes were desperate to get back on broadcast TV.

When NBC offered a deal for the 1995 awards, the Golden Globes were forced to agree to the network's terms that their awards would be handled independently by an accounting firm, just like the Oscars. Since Ernst & Young took over tabulations in 1995, award results have been kept secret from everybody, including NBC.

Photo: CBS