Fantasy Casting the 2021 Alternate Universe Golden Globe Awards

What would the awards season be like this year if we hadn't whiled away eight months straight watching episodes of "Great British Bake-Off"?
Succession Season 2 cast Episode 5 HBO
Peter Kramer/HBO

It’s been difficult in recent days to fully invest in the upcoming Golden Globes race, no matter how tight the competition might be or what could possibly be gleaned from the scraps of information that will surface in the show’s wake. Will Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit” need to worry about HBO’s “The Undoing” gaining the high ground in the upcoming limited series Emmy race, or maybe Amazon Prime Video’s “Small Axe” is an underground threat to upset them both? That’s to say nothing of what’s burbling in comedy series, where Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso” would seem to be the obvious favorite heading into summer, but finding surprisingly stiff competition in HBO Max’s “The Flight Attendant.”

The Golden Globes, stripped of their celebratory folderol by the pandemic and tarnished by ongoing scandals haunting the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, feels particularly perfunctory this year. Considering the circumstances, it’s unsurprising that a person’s mind might wander and start thinking about what might have been. Not just what might have been if the HFPA made better decisions — but also, what might have been had the real world not dissolved into shambles for a year?

It’s an intriguing question and can serve as an exercise into what the last year has taken from us in terms of quality television. Indulge me: What would the awards season be like in 2021 if we hadn’t whiled time away by watching episodes of “Great British Bake-Off” for eight months straight? What if “Barry” and “Succession” were eligible? How would that change the comedy and drama races, what actors would rise to the top, and what would that mean for the 2021 Emmys?

So without further ado, here’s my 100% fantasy write-up of the day-after takeaways for the television winners in an alternate universe Golden Globe Awards ceremony, where 2021 isn’t the bummer afterparty of a Hindenburg-like 2020:

Fantasy Lesson No. 1: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler Should Host Every Awards Show

OK, it comes as no surprise to anyone that former “Saturday Night Live” cast members and current BFFs should be the go-to hosting choice for any respectable awards body, but their fourth time emceeing the Golden Globe Awards really sealed the deal.

It’s not just that Fey and Poehler are as clever and kind as their tongues are sharp, but there’s something truly otherworldly when watching two people who have known each other so well, for so long, work together in such seamless fashion. Specifically, it’s about Fey and Poehler’s chemistry with each other, the kind of chemistry that can only come when you’re shoulder to shoulder with someone, facing down an audience together.

That energy is palpable to viewers, who get to see, not only the jokes, but the jokes landing with an — admittedly intoxicated — mass of Hollywood A-listers. In that sense, it’s the “Ocean’s Eleven” of awards gigs, where seeing two of our favorite comedians making a room full of our favorite performers giggle only serves to delight TV viewers all the more.

Fantasy Lesson No. 2: “Ted Lasso” overcomes “Barry”

You can never get too much of a good thing, particularly when it comes to television, but hoo boy are things going to get ugly in the Primetime Emmy comedy categories in a few months. Even though “Ted Lasso” ended up being the big winner on Sunday night, with accolades for both the series and lead actor Jason Sudeikis it’s impossible to tell just how much of that enthusiasm will serve as a straight transfer for Emmy voters.

After all, “Ted Lasso,” faced stiff competition in fellow newcomer “The Flight Attendent,” both of which likely got a Globes boost, thanks to their freshman status, but HBO’s “Barry” and Hulu’s “Pen15,” in their third and second seasons, respectively, are not to be counted out when the race expands beyond the 80-some member voting body for the Golden Globes and on to the tens of thousands of TV Academy members.

You love to see it.

Fantasy Lesson No. 3: “Succession” Sets Up A Dynasty

At some point, I’m sure the industry will grow tired of the wild excess and interfamily drama that makes up HBO’s “Succession,” but I have to admit that I hope it’s not any time soon. While Season 3 might not have quite measured up to the astoundingly high bar of its predecessor, it was certainly nothing to slouch at, yes, even surpassing the heights of Season 4 of Netflix’s “The Crown” which experienced a recent return to form.

While the satiragedy (satire + tragedy, obviously) of the Roy Family will inevitably loose steam, “Succession” remains as good as TV gets and it was gratifying to see the Golden Globes finally embrace the series with open arms.

(At least that’s how this would go in my head.)

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