They came, they saw, they drank. And oh yeah, some of them even won awards. Such were the 69th annual Golden Globe Awards, decided upon by the semi-venerable Hollywood Foreign Press Association and shown on NBC. It was a night of few surprises and seemingly even less preparation on the part of those involved in front of and behind the cameras.
Some of the expected wins (my predictions batted nearly a thousand last week!) were still a treat, including TV wins for Laura Dern and Matt LeBlanc and film wins for Christopher Plummer and Octavia Spencer, who gave humble, articulate thanks. Then there were other recipients, who seemed to either get stage fright or completely lose their mind, including an awkward Michelle Williams and Meryl Streep (extending her own record with an eighth career win for The Iron Lady), who panicked on not having brought her glasses to the stage and being unable to remember the names of other performances that had wowed her throughout the year. (Her glasses made their way from her table to George Clooney to David Fincher, who seemed to hold on to them rather than get onstage and deliver them to the actress.)
Separately, a teleprompter glitch seemed to set Rob Lowe off (noticeably more so than it did his co-presenter, Julianne Moore). And speaking of set off, Best Song loser Elton John seemed to pout when shown in the audience during Madonna’s stilted acceptance speech.
Not that her win, even if she were eligible for an Oscar this year, would forebode much. Four of the last five best song winners didn’t even get nominated for the Academy Award. And curiously, four of the last five best picture winners at the Globes, whether it be in the comedy or drama categories, have failed to go on to claim the Best Picture Oscar. So do the awards matter at the Globes?
They do and they don’t. It’s nice that Clooney can claim an additional acting prize—his third in 11 years—from the HFPA, but his public bromance with Brad Pitt is what will really provide ink to the journalists. (And I think with his win behind him, he will publicly espouse Pitt and campaign for him to take the Oscar, thus engendering goodwill and extra exposure.) But the winners, due to constant Internet blogging, industry overexposure and an overall humdrum year, are ultimately an anticlimax. The fashion parade element has more weight than the winners do (for example, I’ve heard no one mention what Jean Dujardin said in his speech, but I’ve seen plenty of reaction to dresses worn by Jessica Biel and Piper Perabo).
This year’s Globes ceremony was also a night for the old guard to come out—Jane Fonda, Michelle Pfeiffer, Harrison Ford and Dustin Hoffman all presented (though Hoffman was relegated to a TV category as part of his promotion of the new HBO show Luck). Some of Hollywood’s master directors were also honored, though in weird ways. Woody Allen won the Screenplay award for Midnight in Paris, Steven Spielberg took the Animated Film award for Tintin, and Scorsese won another Best Director award for the mildly received Hugo.
And, yes, the elephant in the room: crude host Ricky Gervais. I have no problem with his jokes, and it looked like most of his subjects didn’t either. Jodie Foster, Colin Firth, Johnny Depp and Helen Mirren all gamely played along. But did you notice how little hosting he actually did? I think he spent a grand total of just over 12 minutes onstage. Nice work, if you can get it. But here’s the thing: his shtick now feels lazy (ribbing the Kardashians and Justin Bieber reeks of 2010) and familiar, and it makes the awards show about him, when he should be letting the spotlight shine on the nominees. Remember, Ricky: sometimes, silence is golden.
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