Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Golden Globes: What Everyone Says and What Really Matters

On January 16th, 2011, the 68th annual Golden Globe Awards was aired live on NBC from 5pm to 8pm PST. The show was hosted by Ricky Gervais and many well-known and popular actors were in attendance, including Johnny Depp, Christian Bale (who's sporting a Sexy Jesus Sheek), Angelina Jolie, Emma Stone (who's look was somewhat jarring though still downright gorgeous), and many others. A lot can be said and is often said about The Golden Globe Awards and the actors, directors, and movies that were or were not nominated. Though a lot is said and there is a lot going on, some things everyone knows and some things aren't true. I am taking it upon myself to organize this information concisely and accurately--though I can only hope I succeed.

First off: Ricky Gervais. Let's deal with the elephant in the room--and that's not a weight joke, because he looks good these days--the jokes this guy made were very pointed and didn't leave everyone very pleased. The most memorably aggravated was Robert Downey Jr. in response to Gervais' somewhat mean-spirited introduction. But before you listen to all the rumors circulating, such as Gervais being fired mid-ceremony or if he ruined his career, take the time to do just a bit of even Basic Google Research. Even on Twitter one can find that most Hollywood stars were pleased with Gervais' performance. But it is important to note despite the loving response from most of the stars, Phillip Berk, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press, was honestly offended. You may have watched the introduction to "the ungrateful" Steve Carell and cringed, but these guys have a history and Steve Carell is known for his wonderful sense of humor. Some have commented on Robert Downey Jr.'s lack of humor, also pointing at a certain amount of hypocrisy considering his presentation was mostly a relatively sexist and unclassy propositioning of the the nominated women. As far as this is concerned, it's true you'd expect more of a sense of humor, especially for someone in a great comedy such as Tropic Thunder, you can also understand how it may be frustrating for someone who spent countless years struggling to overcome a heroin addiction only to have someone introduce you as such. That being said, Robert Downey Jr. makes a boat load of money and is on top of the world right now, he really shouldn't care so much about what's said about him. I highly doubt Gervais' motivations were "mean-spirited" or "sinister," though he was a prime candidate to host exactly for the type of humor others now complain about. The jokes at Hugh Heffner's expense were far more graphic, and he was not offended. Jon Stewart, a friend of Gervais and a well-known kind-hearted comedian, also commented support in how he was 'offended' by Gervais' performance. I think it's also interesting that Phillip Berk would basically confess, in his being offended, that Gervais won't be invited back next year nor nominated again. The very admission of not being nominated solely because he upset those who help run the program reveals a political undertone of the Golden Globes that Gervais was mocking in the first place, and the comment that upset Berk so much as to say this. Perhaps it's why it offended him as well as why it was so funny?

Speaking of the political nature of The Golden Globes, many like to talk complain about how the winners are hardly deserving and that it's a bunch of wealthy, accomplished individuals getting together to pat each other on the back. Let's be fair: it is a bit self-indulgent of you when you're getting paid millions of dollars to be in feature films that bring you enormous attention through critics, fans, and simply your face being posted everywhere, to then sit around with more people like this and chat about how great you all are. Now let's be completely fair: we all like receiving awards and we're all a bit self indulgent. Is this too much self-indulgence? I'll let you decide where to draw that arbitrary line. The important thing here is: if you worked your ass off, would you like it if someone presented you with an award or told you how great a job you did? Who doesn't like being acknowledged for their accomplishments? Just because actors and directors have enormous amounts of attention and praise they receive from adoring fans and perhaps critics, isn't there something more valuable about receiving from your peers? Fellow filmmakers and actors? Yes, it's self-indulgent, but no more than a graduation ceremony or any other pretentious-oozing experience. As far as awards going to certain films and not others, about it being a political rally awarding those who campaign for their films more than for who truly accomplished something great, that's a part of life. We're all going to have a bias, and those that chose the awards will have that bias as well. I do feel it is important to point out how little connection those that choose the winners have with the average intelligent movie-watcher. Yes, we all know Twilight won't receive awards despite it having a ton of fans. That's not what I'm talking about. I said "average intelligent movie watcher." Glee received several awards, one which seemed expected: Jane Lynch is downright hilarious and talented, though one that was unexpected: Chris Colfer. As far as winning Best Television, Comedy or Musical, as much as I don't like Glee, I don't find this win insulting or inaccurate. However, though The Social Network was a solid film, the amount of praise and awards it is receiving is incongruous with its accomplishment. I can say that plainly without having to say obvious things such as: it fails to capture humanity within most characters, it's not a standard three act screenplay, and it tells more than it shows. It is a solid film, and I can understand why it would win possibly one award or maybe two if it's really lucky, but to be running away with four awards while a film like Inception receives four nominations and no wins? Especially when all four categories Inception lost in was to The Social Network. Say what you will about flaws within the film, it is far more entertaining, engaging, and original than most films, and I do not make an exception for The Social Network in that list. And The Tourist was phenomenally hated by critics, receiving a whopping 20% on Rotten Tomatoes, yet somehow it still received three nominations. Whether it's politics or no, there is definitely a gap between intelligent viewers and those with the power of decision.

On less important notes, it is easy to find all of the "interesting" gossip surrounding the 2011 Golden Globes. The Washington Post has a very helpful section known as "Your Lingering Questions Answered" written by Jen Chaney. In it she dispels the rumors of Bale's hair being anything more than a result of "unemployment." Among other unasked questions answered are: Geoffrey Rush's hat, Jenny Lewis and Jake Gyllenhaal, ratings, Laura Linney's absence, and what in the hell "Barney's Version" is and when it came out. Though it covers fashion, there is more where that came from, and it doesn't answer every question people have about celebrity gossip. And if you missed the show and simply want to know who was nominated and who won on an easy-to-read right-to-the-point list, Moviefone is the place to go.

If any questions are unanswered or unresearched, please feel free to comment. I'll gladly find information or back up certain information if you are interested in hearing it. The Golden Globes, though a bit self-indulgent, are a great way to understand what other directors and actors idealize, and though I'll be the first to say: "who cares?" It's clear that at least 17 million viewers would quickly respond, "we do." Ricky Gervais should be proud of a well-delivered performance that those with a sense of humor can enjoy; The Social Network received way too many awards, and sure, it's a bit political, but I'm pretty sure we'd all agree that Boardwalk Empire and Steve Buchemi are amazing. I'm also pretty sure anyone who saw The Fighter knows that Christian Bale and Melissa Leo deserved their awards as well. Gap or no gap, we all care enough at least to read up on The Golden Globes, if not write about them.

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