The Golden Globe Awards are presented by the nonprofit organization Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) for excellence in film and television in the US and the international entertainment industry. HFPA represents a consortium of journalists and photographers who cover the American showbiz, mainly for non-US media markets. This annual award ceremony that started nearly eight decades ago to honor film achievements later also began honoring television achievements and has with time taken shape of a significant awards ceremony in Hollywood that is viewed my millions worldwide.

A Los Angeles-based group of foreign journalists intending to develop an improved and efficient process of collecting and disseminating reports on films for publication in media markets outside the US established the Hollywood Foreign Correspondent Association (HFCA) in 1943. The organization wanted to create an awards ceremony to honor notable achievements in films, just as the Oscars. This resulted in launch of the Golden Globe Awards. The 1st Golden Globe Awards ceremony took place on January 20, 1944, at the 20th Century-Fox studios. Awards recognizing remarkable achievements in 1943 filmmaking were presented in the form of scrolls. The following year HFCA members planned to present the winners with a statuette portraying a golden globe, with a strip of motion-picture film wrapped around it, mounted on a pedestal.

Conflicts within HFCA led some of its members to move out and form the Foreign Press Association of Hollywood (FPAH) in 1950. The latter established the Henrietta Award for World Film Favorite, named after its president Henry Gris, and on January 27, 1951, conducted the first World Film Favorite Festival, where it presented Henrietta Awards in different categories. This award’s statuette for the first festival depicted an angel above a globe rested on four pillars; while that for the January 26, 1952, held second festival portrayed a naked woman holding a flower. Meanwhile HFCA carried on conducting the Golden Globe Awards and created an honorary award to honor significant contributions to film industry. Director-producer Cecil B. DeMille became first recipient of the award at the 9th Golden Globe Awards ceremony in 1952. The award was named after him as the Cecil B. DeMille Award. The HFCA and FPAH resolved their issues and joined hands to conduct a ceremony in January 1954 and later merged in 1955 to form HFPA. HFPA then decided to honor television achievement as well which was initiated in 1956 during the 13th Golden Globe Awards. HFPA also continued to present Henrietta Award for World Film Favorite (deleting the word "Henrietta" from the award) till 1980 (for 1979) following which the award was retired.

The concept of Miss Golden Globe, in which one or more young individuals referred to as "Miss Golden Globe” would help out in presenting the awards to recipients and thereafter escort them off stage, was introduced in 1963. Since 1971, the honor of holding the position of Miss Golden Globe or sometimes Mr. Golden Globe has been usually held by daughters or sons of celebrities, who have contested vehemently to garner such role of pride for their child. The president of HFPA grants the position from the individuals who are chosen by board of the organization. The position was rechristened as Golden Globe Ambassador in 2018.

An honorary award equivalent to the Cecil B. DeMille Award was created by HFPA to recognize remarkable contributions to television and introduced at the 76th Golden Globe Awards ceremony in 2019. The award was named Carol Burnett Award after its first recipient, comedian, actress and singer Carol Burnett.

NBC started broadcasting the event in Los Angeles in 1958 and nationally in 1964. Starting from the late 1950s, the HFPA and Golden Globe Awards got entangled in several controversies and scandals. Allegations like purchase and bartering of awards, lack of serious film journalists and Black representation in HFPA’s membership, lack of diversity among nominees and winners, and financial malfeasance surfaced. The Federal Communications Commission asserted in 1968 that the event gave a wrong impression to the public on the procedure through which winners are selected for the Golden Globe Awards and banned NBC from broadcasting the event from 1969 to 1974. NBC again ended its contract with HFPA after the 1982 event that produced accusations that actress Pia Zadora's husband Meshulam Riklis bought the Best Female Newcomer award for her at the 39th Golden Globe Awards. NBC became regular broadcaster of the event in 1996. Facing several criticisms and allegations, HFPA declared its plans for a reform package on May 3, 2021, however was eventually boycotted by different media houses and actors among others for its lack of taking appropriate steps in increasing its membership diversity. NBC supporting such boycotts refused to broadcast the ceremony in 2022. The ceremony was again televised by NBC in 2023.

HFPA declared on June 12, 2023, that it would cease to exist and that its long-time producer Dick Clark Productions and Eldridge Industries have acquired assets and intellectual property related to the Golden Globes. The non-profit organization Golden Globes Foundation was established to conduct philanthropic activities of HFPA.