Tom RostonIndependent journalist Tom Roston checks in and writes about the world of documentaries in his column, Doc Soup.

You can follow Tom on Twitter @DocSoupMan.

An Open Letter to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to Include Documentaries in the Golden Globes

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Doc Soup Man Tom Roston has started a petition to include a Documentary Award in the Golden Globes on Change.org.

Dear Hollywood Foreign Press Association:

Do you have a minute? On the eve of the Golden Globe Awards nominee announcement, I’d like to ask you if you think it is time that you include a documentary category in your wonderful event that you host each year. It only makes sense: documentary film has risen to a level of popular recognition, newsworthiness, and cinematic quality that make it a blaring omission not to. Your friends over the Academy have been doing it for years, so why not you?

I know, I know. You worry that nonfiction can be boring and too serious; the spinach on your plate. But I’d suggest to you that both the world, and documentary film, have changed. You should start thinking of the documentary category as the olive, or lemon twist, in your drink.

If you think that documentary directors are just going to deliver dry, boring speeches, check out the Oscars. Remember when the lovely Jessica Yu made that clever quip about how her dress cost more than her movie? Didn’t you notice, in 2012, how hot the Undefeated directors were? Those guys could be in a boy band. And one of them dropped the F-bomb on live TV! Or what about when the Dear Prudence directors got into a rumble on stage? You can’t beat that for drama.

And when you get booze, which I know is generously served at your event, into a documentary director, look out!

Now, I’ve been told by documentary cognoscenti that you’re not worth my attention. “I’d love to push the Academy to announce Doc Feature nods on GMA, Today show etc.,” A.J. Schnack told me via Twitter. “That would be bigger/more [important] than convincing the Globes.” (Schnack, by the way, is a guy you should know about; he started his own documentary award show called the Cinema Eye Honors, which is quickly becoming the most uproarious award event in the country. It makes other award events look like a day at the DMV. You should drop by and check it out on January 8th. It takes place in Queens, so let me know if you need directions.)

But forget that. I have faith in you. In fact, Morgan Spurlock, a documentary director you may have heard of, told me that he has spoken to your members and a number of you have agreed that there should indeed be a documentary category. You guys just have to put it up for a vote.

“Now is the time, more than ever,” Spurlock told me. “The U.S. has finally caught up with the rest of the world in recognizing that docs are fantastic movie making that can reach beyond borders. The Hollywood Foreign Press should get on board.”

Look, I know you tried to include docs in the 70s and, for some reason, that didn’t work out. But think of the pleasure you could have in showing us Americans how clueless we are about the world. And just imagine the cutaways to a tearful Angelina Jolie when a documentary director gives an impassioned speech. For that alone, you should do it.

Trust me, you’ll have a ball schooling us! Bring on the great Canadian documentary about how insipid U.S. gun control laws are. (Oh, wait, that was done already…by an American. But you get the idea.)

And to help nudge you in the right direction, I’m starting a petition to show you the groundswell of support, that will surely mean great ratings. It’s a win-win. Be brave. Move forward.

P.S. I know that you have a flak mustering together a response to my queries, but this letter couldn’t wait. I’ll make sure to include it, when it comes in.

Sign Tom Roston’s petition to include a Documentary Award in the Golden Globes on Change.org »

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Tom Roston
Tom Roston
Tom Roston is a guest columnist for POV's documentary blog. He comes to us as a ten-year veteran of Premiere magazine, where he was a Senior Editor, and where he wrote the column, Notes from the Dream Factory. Tom was born and raised in New York City. He graduated from Brown University and started his career in journalism at The Nation and then Vanity Fair. Tom has also written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, GQ, New York, Elle and other publications. Tom's favorite documentaries are: 1. Koyanisqaatsi - Godfrey Reggio 2. Hoop Dreams - Steve James 3. The Up series - Michael Apted 4. Crumb - Terry Zwigoff 5. Capturing the Friedmans - Andrew Jarecki