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What Exactly Happened at the Golden Globes, and Why Does It Matter?

What Exactly Happened at the Golden Globes, and Why Does It Matter?

READ MORE: Full List of All Golden Globe Film and Television Winners

KATE ERBLAND: If there’s one word that best describes my Golden Globes viewing experience, it’s “WHAT.” Or, perhaps a bit more eloquently, “surprise!” The night was packed with shockers, from the really good (Rachel Bloom winning for “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” mere hours after a TCA panel that seemed to be dedicated to talking about just how much the creative team behind the show wishes it would get some love, Oscar Isaac picking up a trophy for “Show Me a Hero”) to the really unexpected (Kate Winslet looking genuinely shocked that anyone wanted to dole out accolades for “Steve Jobs,” which has mostly been forgotten by both audiences and awards bodies, or Ridley Scott sniffing at the designation of his “The Martian” as a comedy), but weirdly, that didn’t help the whole thing move at a clip for me, it just sort of highlighted how bloated and off-kilter the whole thing was.

When that actual emotion burbled up, it provided a respite, and it’s certainly a nice takeaway from the show itself, but man, wouldn’t it be nice if the entire thing could be that zippy and fresh?

BEN TRAVERS: You’ve touched on the greatest challenge facing award shows in general, which is balancing those sweet, genuine acceptance speeches with the more politically motivated rudimentary list readings.

Bloom’s astonished reaction to her (much-deserved) victory reminded us why we watch, tweet, analyze and generally devote attention to the HFPA to begin with, while Scott’s bland recitation of many names few viewers know all to make sure no one feels excluded (in the hopes they’ll support his Oscar bid) takes us straight to Snoozeville. So every time Ricky Gervais made a crack about how the show could be a half-hour, all I could think was, “How?” What would you cut that people might not miss and what would you keep that would make the ceremony worth airing? It was far from a perfect ceremony, but I always watch the Globes like I watch a playoff game: Who looks like they can go the distance, and who’s just happy to be here?

Of course, when it comes to TV, most winners fall into the latter category, as the HFPA inexplicably but consistently contradicts itself by crowning little-known upstarts like “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and “Mozart in the Jungle” on the TV side and regularly rewarding the biggest names (or most likely Oscar winners) on the film side. But hey, I can’t complain about too much. Sylvester Stallone won a Golden Globe Sunday night. All is right with the world.

KATE ERBLAND: I mostly believed Gervais when he reminisced about how great things were during the Writers’ Strike and the “awards ceremony” literally consisted of names being read off a sheet. Boom, half an hour, in and out, zero, done. But where’s the pageantry in that? And awards shows — especially ones like the Golden Globes, which is mounted every year amongst chatter about legitimacy and financial gain — are all about pageantry. (And, also, geez, Ricky, if you hate this stuff as much as you put on last night, get off our television and let someone else have a crack at flaming the entirety of Hollywood for a pretty paycheck.)

The funny thing about all those TV shocks — like “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” “Mr. Robot” and “Mozart in the Jungle” — is that it made me think, “Hmm, here’s some stuff I should really be catching up on,” while the film winners mainly made me just exhale hot, angry breath, much like a particularly annoyed dragon. Aside from Sly! That was an actual treat and, moreover, the kind of win that actually might position him for the kind of Oscar glory he should be getting for his turn in “Creed.”

Basically, I feel extremely conflicted about the impact of the Golden Globes.

BEN TRAVERS: I’m right there with you in terms of an overall reaction, though the one aspect that had me breathing fire was the almost entire dismissal of comedies.

Aside from including TV, the one big advantage the Globes has always carried over the Oscars is its split categories. Sure, the comedy and drama groupings are probably there more to bring in more big-name talent than honor a genre otherwise overlooked, but at least they have them. In a world where any heavy-handed drama is given more credit than the funniest film of the year, the Globes has a unique opportunity to show proper respect to a craft that’s largely ignored at award shows, by critics’ groups and even in Top 10 lists.

So what happened last night? “The Martian” won Best Comedy (or, as Matt Damon joked backstage, Best Musical), Damon stole Best Actor, Jennifer Lawrence snagged actress for the pseudo-comedy “Joy,” and “Mozart in the Jungle” took home TV honors. I mean, the flat-out funniest winner across the board last night was Bloom — and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” is a musical! While preposterous category shifts are common at the Globes and, even with the comedy category in place, they still often reward the most dramatic entry of the group, what made 2016’s ceremony all the worse was that there were so many great comedies nominated that were, you know, actual comedies! “Veep” is a clear favorite of mine and a vastly superior series to everything else in its category, but even “Silicon Valley” is deserving of some time in the sun. As I tweeted last night, I’m happy “Mozart in the Jungle” got some love, but why did it have to get everything? And, on the film side, how the Globes shut out a star-fueled crowd favorite like “The Big Short” (which, by the way, is also freaking great) is beyond me.

READ MORE: Golden Globes Winners and Sinners (Analysis)

KATE ERBLAND: While running the Indiewire Twitter feed for all the hot Golden Globes action last night, the one question that got tossed my way more than anything else is the now old stand-by: “How the hell is ‘The Martian’ a comedy?” I didn’t really have the time to dig into deeper discussions of category fraud with confused Twitter followers, and frankly, I’m right there with them (and, I guess to some extent, with even Ridley Scott himself).

Comedies lost out big time in both film and television, with “The Martian” and “Joy” sucking up the love that should have gone to nominees like “Trainwreck” (ACTUALLY FUNNY) or “Spy” (AT LEAST A TRUE COMEDY) or “The Big Short” (terrifying, but lots more amusing than “The Martian,” which I do love). Laymen are confused by what unfolded there, and I don’t have a good answer for them — I understand the actual mechanics of it, but damn, it looks just awful when it actually comes time to handing out awards and films that tickled the funny bone are shut out of the categories that exist to laud them.

Why even bother with such categories then? Why carve out room for musical and comedies — which the Oscars do not do, so this is the end of the road for lots of Golden Globe nominees — if the HFPA isn’t going to allot that space to the right films?

Also, important question, is “Mozart in the Jungle” even a comedy? Help me.

BEN TRAVERS: “Mozart” is as much of a comedy as “Transparent,” another show that deserves all the awards it can get, but isn’t written, structured or facing the same demands as series that put laughter above all else. And that’s what irks me the most: As you said, it’s easy to understand the HFPA’s motivations without losing the sense of disgust when the awards are doled out, but as someone who very much believes in rewarding excellent work as a vital part of any profession, it sucks that comedians are repeatedly shunned in a category designed to honor them. It’s hard enough to compare art on an objective scale, but saying “The Martian” is a better comedy than “Trainwreck” is like saying pizza is your favorite sandwich.

But in an effort to steer thing back to the positive note you so graciously began our convo with, can you share a personal moment of glee from the evening? Something akin to what I can only assume would have been our shared reaction if Saoirse Ronan would’ve won the only award “Brooklyn” was nominated for? Be it a win (like Sly getting the evening’s first standing o), a speech (like Jon Hamm’s, whose seemingly genuine thanks to the HFPA for supporting him really hit home) or a bit of comedy (like Eva Longoria and America Ferrara making a case that two women should always host everything from now on), what will you remember from Sunday night?
KATE ERBLAND: I can’t imagine another award acceptance just plain tickling me the the way Taraji P. Henson’s “Empire” win did, and I’m not on the “Empire” bandwagon at all (I’m not even a Cookie Monster, in the parlance of the evening). She just owned the stage. Hell, she owned the reaction, the walk to the stage, the general establishment of “here I am,” the stage, the speech, everything. And, given how many people were played off (and how many referenced it!), it was actually refreshing to see someone just say “Nope, none of that noise” and continue on with their thank-yous and comments.
It’s easy to get jaded about awards show sometimes, especially in our line of business, but when someone wins something and seems to be truly happy about it, it does kind of seem worth it. Henson made it all feel worth it for me last night.

Now, can you possibly use words to describe your own reaction when Stallone won?

BEN TRAVERS: I think the only way to properly capture my exuberance would be in .gif form, but I’ll do what I can to translate that passion here. Seeing Stallone win was one thing — a wondrous, life-fulfilling, ridiculously awesome thing — but watching everyone stand and cheer for a titan of the industry who came from nothing, climbed to the top, fell down again only to rise better than ever had me choking up. It was a beautiful moment not marred at all by his momentary lapse in thanking Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan. He was clearly overwhelmed, but still took the time to come back on stage and acknowledge his director and co-star. A class act, that Sly.

Also, I must say, despite losing any respect I’ve earned by admitting the following, nothing could ruin the Globes for me last night after seeing two of my all-time favorite writers take the stage. Stallone was Priorities A through Y going into the night, but seeing Aaron Sorkin get some merited acknowledgment for what had to be a gargantuan, grueling writing process was a nice surprise. Clearly, he’s been given enough awards over the years, and it’s a shame Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer weren’t acknowledged for their meticulous work on “Spotlight,” but while everyone else is complaining about Sorkin fatigue, I’ll throw some love out there in the hope more people watch “Steve Jobs” (for Kate Winslet and Michael Fassbender, as much as the writing).

READ MORE: Golden Globes TV Awards: The Edge of Reason (Analysis)

KATE ERBLAND: Ben, please feel free to insert any and all appropriate .gifs as you see fit.

I do wonder what kind of bumps the Globes will give to some of its winners, from the TV surprises to the film shockers (like “Steve Jobs,” which got much more love than I was anticipating). I also wonder how many people spent last night going, “Huh, Kate Winslet is in that movie?” It will be interesting to see what programs and films work their way into more forward-facing pop cultural discussions over the next few weeks. Will “Steve Jobs” get a box office bump? Is everyone going to start binge-watching “Mozart”? Maybe this all isn’t so bad.

BEN TRAVERS: I feel like it helps TV more than film, if only because it’s hard to imagine even a slew of Oscar nods renewing interest in “Steve Jobs.” It just cratered so bad, Kate. And so quickly.

But for TV, the 2015 awards certainly helped out “Transparent” and Amazon as a whole. One could argue at this time last year few people knew how to watch Amazon originals, but the same can’t be said today. “Mozart” should see a sampling bump, and — considering Amazon’s slightly more transparent (no pun intended) attitude toward viewing statistics — we might even know if that happens in the next few weeks. “Jane the Virgin” saw a slight uptick in ratings last season after Gina Rodriguez won, so perhaps “My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” can see a similar (and needed) boost.
“The Affair” Season 1 was over by the time it took home Best Drama last year, so it’s uptick in ratings during Season 2 can’t totally be attributed to the Golden Globes. But it had to help with awareness and credibility, two things USA’s “Mr. Robot” still needs to succeed. So to your overall point, yes, I think a lot of good can come from the Globes’ picking series that may not be “the best” but definitely are deserving of more eyes — at least in TV.

KATE ERBLAND: Some of these shows already have at least one guaranteed new viewer — me! It’s finally time for me to spend some Q.T. with “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” methinks.

Overall, what is your takeaway from the show? Oddly, I feel more inspired and excited by the TV picks, while the film awards just seemed surprising and strange and bound to throw the already wacky Oscar field into total disarray. Yeah, Oscar nomination voting is over and was before the show kicked off, but the Globes might have given us some insight into how the tide is turning. Love for Sly? Yes. No love for “Brooklyn” or “Spotlight”? Not so much.

BEN TRAVERS: Final reaction (since you gave me permission):
READ MORE: Review: Can We Just Give Up on Broadcasting The Golden Globes?

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