The Golden Globe Awards is an event we all love to hate, annually giving its insignificance a significance it hardly deserves, but this year’s ceremony was quite representative of its own existence. All the mean-spirited reflexivity and the shots of bored or unhappy Johnny Depp co-stars probably mirrored a lot of the viewers at home, particularly those of us who want to hate on celebrity while simultaneously encouraging it through envy and fascination. That cake-and-eat-it mentality of self-congratulation mixed with self-derogation displayed at awards shows now is probably spawned by the snarkiness of the entertainment blogosphere, and it is getting as tired as the online media’s ironic attention to all that it hates. Yes, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is a whorish group, but they’re no worse than the rest of us, the true johns of the industry, getting our rocks off and then hating ourselves for it while faulting the temptations of Tinseltown more than our own lust for it.
I can’t deny being a part of it. I watched the show in spite of thinking it overall a waste of time. And I do enjoy the show as it volleys against itself in terms of back-and-forth praise and disparagement, honor and mockery. If only the similarly hypocritical “Dinner for Schmucks” was fittingly up for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical.
I look at the red carpet more for the disasters than the tastefulness. I recall the iconoclastic outfits of Tilda Swinton and Helena Bonham Carter more than anything that looked good. And though I sense a sort of desperation from these outsiders, a need to be the freaks of the prom, I have been there and know the desire to crash the establishment for attention that we wish we could get by simply being a part of the establishment. Swinton and Carter are part of that establishment, though. So is Melissa Leo, who may one minute act like she’s better than pop culture only to be quite excited once she’s a winner within it (though her admission to living in a bubble may be why she thinks it’s such an honor to win a Golden Globe).
Leo was one of many people at the event to make a comment about her age, a topic that was quite trendy throughout the ceremony. Potshots were made at people like Hugh Hefner, Cher and HFPA president Philip Berk for being old, but the humor still acknowledged people who are doing quite well in their old age. Meanwhile, it seems many of the winners, even those under 40, were veterans of the industry. Former child star Christian Bale noted how long it took for the HFPA to recognize him. Other former child stars were looking grown up with “baby bumps” (a popular term of the evening). Robert Downey Jr.’s joke about sleeping with the comedic actresses was fine until he got to Emma Stone and he suddenly seemed older than we typically think of him. And viewers at home got to similarly feel old by seeing Trent Reznor looking so classy and wondering if Justin Bieber and Hailee Steinfeld were indeed not alive when the first “Toy Story” was released (he was, barely, but she was not).
As much as the Golden Globes may in theory seem to be based in overly meretricious intentions, the popular kids were ultimately not the kings and queens of this dance. In fact, despite all the faithlessness going in, mainly because of that Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical category, there were a lot of respectable and surprising choices. Critics should be quite satisfied in an award going to Olivier Assayas, for example, even if that award is as “meaningless” as a Golden Globe. And anyone who thinks the HFPA is only interested in celebrities, find me a crowd of regular celeb-obsessed people who were excited to see people like Annette Bening, Paul Giamatti, Steve Buscemi and Melissa Leo win awards last night.
Ultimately, there’s probably some appropriateness to “The Social Network” winning so many awards. Facebook is just like the Golden Globes in that we all love to hate it but just can’t stop being a part of it.
Now, a bit of the film blog water cooler talk related to the ceremony:
Certainly the big morning-after topic of choice is the mean-spiritedness of Ricky Gervais’ jokes. Here are some thoughts:
thanks once again to Ricky Gervais for bringing the sort of funny rudeness and effrontery — or as Robert Downey, Jr., phrased it, “mean-spirited [with] a sinister undertone” — that make an awards show such as the Golden Globes engaging to watch.
The telecast reminded me of the last 30 minutes of a Friar’s Club roast, when the facade of good-natured ribbing has disintegrated and you’re left with the spectacle of sadomasochists whipping each other, only it was like that all the way through — an orgy of hatred and self-hatred interrupted by flashes of warmth, pride, nostalgia, and wit, like pretty much any other awards show telecast times ten. […] At the same time, however, the show was sort of amazing, because it captured the mix of naive sentimentality and rancid cynicism that defines showbiz — and the audience’s relationship to showbiz.
For us, it boils down to this: How much more boring would the Golden Globes have been without Gervais? So, so much more boring! On a night when almost everyone who was supposed to win did, we’d have fallen asleep without him. Yes, some of the jokes were mean and in bad taste (Why you gotta call Cher old, Ricky? Why you gotta call out Heather Mills? This is America! We barely know who she is anyway!), but the one in the worst taste — Ricky Gervais pretending to be a 24-year-old giving Hugh Hefner a hummer, while looking at his watch — we would be happy to watch on continuous loop for the rest of the day.
To host this kind of Hollywood circle jerk without coming off as a massive tool would be a feat; to actually be funny, entertaining, and honest was nothing short of a miracle. A gay, scientology miracle.
Of course, there’s a reason people in Hollywood are famous for being thin-skinned pussies, and the reason is that Hollywood people are thin-skinned pussies. Actually, that’s not quite true. Most of the stars seemed to understand the way jokes work (especially Christian Bale). It was the media who was responsible for misinterpreting the ball-busting for conflict (or deliberately stoking controversy).
If the Golden Globes are so irrelevant, why do so many people report on its irrelevancy?
Last night, the increasingly irrelevant Hollywood Foreign Press Association took all the roundest, shiniest knickknacks they had laying around and carefully handed them out to some celebrities, thus ending the long debate over whether The Tourist was the best comedy released in an entire year (it wasn’t).
I love the Golden Globes despite never wanting to watch them. They are irrelevant in a way that’s completely freeing […] as someone who has stood next to Foreign Press members asking about what type of underwear Daniel Radcliffe wears, it’s also difficult to take the night all that seriously.
The Golden Globes were handed out in Los Angeles last night and what did they tell us? Well… mostly nothing.
After looking through hundreds of live-blogged and live-tweeted comments last night and this morning, this might be the only thing I found worthwhile in any of them, mainly because it displays the accidental charm of at-that-moment response:
9:13PM: Naturally, Tilda Swinton calls a TV movie a “televisual movie.” Why wouldn’t she? She and Geoffrey Rush present the Best Actor in a Televisual Movie award to Al Pacino. He played Jack Kevorkian, whose next patient is Robert De Niro’s career. […]
9:58PM: Haha, when I made the joke earlier about Robert De Niro’s career being dead, I forgot that he was getting the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award. Named for a filmmaker who is also not making good films anymore either, I might point out. [….]
10:04PM: Eh, you know, it doesn’t even matter. De Niro could make a hundred bad movies — I’m sorry, a hundred more bad movies — and there would still be a couple dozen great ones on the shelf.
I did find this difference of reaction a bit humorous, though:
“My god, all that and kissed by Jeremy Irons!” Melissa Leo exults. “Look, Ma, I’ve got a Golden Globe!” (Again, someone on stage who thinks that means something. We need to deprogram these thesps.) Leo made a humorous reference to being in a hotel room with director David O Russell. But she hits the career jackpot with a shout-out to Paramount mogul Brad Grey. You’re looking at the next female lead in Transformers 4, trust me.
9:52: Jeremy Irons intros Best Supporting Actress, acting like an over the top crazy man. MELISSA LEO WINSS!!! YESSSSS! Melissa Leo’s hair in “The Fighter” needs a damn award. She loves getting kissed by Irons though. Melissa rules. Marky Mark chugs some wine during his reaction shot, nice. Melissa’s speech is kind of the best. Jokes and love and she calls Mark a prince. Shouts out the ladies winning tonight, though Helena Bonham Carter gives her some serious stink eye. Nevertheless, pretty awesome. This year’s Mo’Nique.