• Golden Globe Awards

1946: Promoting International Understanding

At the 3rd Golden Globes ceremony, held Saturday, March 30, 1946, at the Hollywood Knickerbocker Club, a special award was given to Frank Sinatra by the Hollywood Foreign Correspondents Association (HFCA), which in 1955 merged with the Foreign Press Association of Hollywood (FPAH) to form the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA).
The award, for the Picture With the Best International Feeling, honored the 1945 short film The House I Live In, directed by Mervyn LeRoy. In it, a young Sinatra, only 30 years old at the time, is pictured recording in the studio, with a full orchestra, the popular 1942 song “If You Are But a Dream.”

After stepping outside into an alley for a break, he interrupts a gang of kids he witnesses chasing a Jewish boy. One of them tells him why, saying, “We don’t like his religion.” Sinatra calls them Nazis and explains what it means to be an American: “People all over the world worship god in many different ways. This wonderful country is made up of a hundred different kinds of people. My dad came from Italy, but I’m an American.” He concludes with the original song “That’s America to Me.”
This message of tolerance across borders caught the attention of foreign correspondents, many of whom had come to Hollywood from European countries that suffered through the tragedy of World War II and the Holocaust. In 1946 they created this award that, starting in 1947, would be called Best Picture Promoting International Understanding. It was presented until 1964 to movies such as The Diary of Anne Frank (1959), directed by George StevensTo Kill a Mockingbird (1962), directed by Robert Mulligan and starring Gregory Peck.

In its extensive photo archives, the organization has a picture of HFCA President Marina Cisternas presenting the newly created trophy (a mirrored globe) to Sinatra, who looks dapper as always — even though not wearing a tuxedo, as he did when he won a Golden Globe as Best Supporting Actor for 1953’s From Here to Eternity, directed by Fred ZinnemannPal JoeyWe learned from a website reader, who sent us a photo of the statuette found in a book, that the award was presented to the singer during “a lunch at the MGM commissary.” We found online a photo of Angela Lansbury with Sinatra holding the trophy at the same event. These monthly lunches where HFCA journalists honored celebrities continued to be held into the 1950s, as documented by photographer Jim Buhr, whose collection the HFPA acquired in 2015.
It is clear from our history that the HFPA promoted diversity, equity, and inclusion decades before the modern acronym DEI was coined, and more widely incorporated in a formal manner into businesses, and corporate governance.