The 2011 awards season kicked off Sunday night with the 68th installment of the Golden Globes, a.k.a. That Awards Show No One in Hollywood Takes Seriously But They All Attend Anyway Because They're Too Chickenshit to Blow It Off.
Though now that I think about it, I guess "Golden Globes" does roll of the tongue a little easier.
There are -- traditionally -- two reasons to tune in to the otherwise meaningless ceremony every year: seeing which celebrity had a bit too much Moët and pulled a Blake Lively, and the clothes. Because somewhere along the line we were convinced we need to care about what famous people are wearing. The last two shows have offered a third reason: Ricky Gervais, who lobbed grenades at everyone from Bruce Willis to Sarah Jessica Parker (co-stars in Striking Distance!). Indeed, his more acceptable jokes were at the expense of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Is it because they had the audacity to nominate The Tourist and Burlesque for the otherwise meaningless Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical category? By way of comparison, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which you may know as the group that gives out a little award called the Oscar, bestowed its highest honor in 1995 on the abominable Forrest Gump. It won the Golden Globe that year as well, but the HFPA has occasionally gotten it right when AMPAS has not. For example, awarding Best Picture - Drama in 2006 to Brokeback Mountain instead of the Academy's choice, the pretentious and predictable Crash.
But the HFPA is still considered a joke. No better evidence of this was offered than the fact that Gervais's jokes at their expense met with none of the shock and feigned outrage his jabs at closeted gay Scientologists did.
Apparently in England they're not expected to totally fellate their celebrities.
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As for the awards themselves...what did they get wrong, exactly? Their Best Picture - Drama winner was The Social Network, which had already won dozens of critics' associations awards for Best Picture (including two yours truly belongs to). Globe winners Colin Firth, Natalie Portman and Christian Bale are also odds-on favorites to win the same categories come Oscar time.
Is it because they give TV awards? Then why isn't the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences held to the same standard? Will the notoriously Mad Men-crazy Academy give an award to Boardwalk Empire like the HFPA did? Both of them seem to like The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons and Glee, so where's all the shit talking about the Emmys?
Face it: The Golden Globe is no more loathsome or self-serving than any other award. And speaking of loathsome, poor Ricky Gervais. I'm shocked, shocked the Hollywood Foreign Press Association picked a comedian whose stated purpose was to get himself fired from the hosting gig to emcee their ceremony, then got all pissed off when he did exactly what he said he was going to do. Hypocrite of the night award goes to Robert Downey Jr., who made his "mean-spirited/sinister" comment then proceeded to express his desire to "give it to" all the Best Actress-Comedy or Musical nominees, including Emma Stone, an actress 23 years younger than him. Nothing sinister about that, apparently.
If the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is guilty of anything, it's that they behave more transparently than these other organizations that claim some pretense to artistic integrity. Hollywood -- as in, the movie industry -- lives or dies on its ability to convince the moviegoing public to fork over money for its shitty sequels, bland rom-coms and brainless action films. Maybe it's time for them to embrace that fact instead of pretending otherwise.