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Monday, January 16, 2012

A Few Thoughts on the Golden Globes

In general, this was a pretty lackluster show. The awards themselves are either so predictable or ridiculous that it's hard to get too worked up about who does or doesn't win, and the Globes' role as an Oscar prognosticator has lessened in recent years as awards season gets ever lengthened. So the real appeal of this show is to see who says what once they've had a few drinks, and hope the host gets in a few good zingers.

After all the hubbub last year when Ricky Gervais dared to tweak the sensibilities of some of Hollywood's finest (but then, it turns out, he didn't really), it was kind of a big deal when he was asked back to host again this year, but he was pretty tame throughout. He certainly had some good lines, but there wasn't anything terribly "Gervais-ian" about his schtick this year. Whether asked to rein it in or choosing to do so himself, his biggest sin was being unmemorable.

And while most of Gervais schtick was safe but funny enough, his introduction of Madonna was just awful. "Not at all like a virgin?" Ugh (also, Madonna? Get over yourself.). 

I know some people (like Alan Sepinwall) would like to see the trailers for the best picture nominees cut in favor of giving the winners more time for their acceptance speeches, but I'd rather the trailers cut in favor of getting a clip of each nominated performer. That said, it was pretty lame that they played off The Descendants producers. I mean, it was the last award of the night! You were on time (as though running long is the worst thing that could happen), let them finish!

The whole Comedy or Musical/Drama split remains dubious, with Michelle William winning Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical for playing Marilyn Monroe in a movie that I understand is fairly far removed from being either a comedy or a musical (I haven't seen it yet), while Laura Dern won Best Actress in a Comedy for Enlightened, a show which I also understand to be more dramatic than comedic (then again, the Emmys have a similar problem in that regard).

Similarly, someone needs to tell these awarding bodies that just because a show is British doesn't mean it's automatically a miniseries. It's pretty sad that they're calling Downton Abbey a miniseries when at almost the exact same time an episode from its second season is airing...

Best laugh of the night goes to Seth Rogen, who came out to present alongside Kate Beckinsale, and introduced himself saying, "I'm Seth Rogen, and I'm trying to conceal a massive erection." Indeed. 

Best presenters of the night were married couple Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy, who sang their remarks introducing the best supporting actress award. I hope those two never split up.

TV at the Globes has always been an afterthought, but it was interesting that other than Modern Family's expected Best Comedy Series win, every single TV award went to a non-network (cable or PBS) show, continuing a recent awards show trend of cable dominance and network decline.

Speaking of Modern Family, co-creator and writer Steve Levitan gave the best acceptance speech of the night, in which he loosely translated Sophia Vergara's Spanish remarks into things like, "ladies, give our writers your phone numbers. They may look pasty but they are the best lovers I’ve ever had." It was a nice break from the largely monotonous and repetitive speeches (most of which had me heading to Twitter to kill some time), especially considering the predictability of the win.  

Easily the best moment of the night came when George Clooney, accepting the Best Actor award for The Descendants, thanked Michael Fassbender for taking up the mantle of frontal nudity and made a joke about how Fassbender could play golf with his penis (complete with a little swing of his pelvis). That's right, George Clooney made a penis joke. There's nothing he can't do!

In terms of Oscar prognostication, both The Artist and The Descendants likely cemented their status as Oscar frontrunners and the respective films to beat, while George Clooney and Jean Dujardin's Best Actor wins (in Drama and Musical or Comedy, respectively) should make for an interesting best actor race. 

10 comments:

  1. I didn't watch the globes, but i think Fassbender was far deserving of a win for "Shame" than Clooney was for "The Descendants." Not that i disliked "The Descendants"-i thought it was an enjoyable Alexander Payne film, if not his best-but Fassbender's performance was far more fearless and intense. He gave more of himself to the role than Clooney did.

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  2. @Cory: Fassbender's performance was far more fearless and intense.

    The Globes usually occurring around the time of the year that I usually start getting around to seeing all the critically-acclaimed films of the year, I've yet to see Shame (The Descendants is one of the few awards-show favorites I've seen thus far), but I've heard nothing but good things about Fassbender's performance. I'm looking forward to seeing it.

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  3. apparently i haven't seen hardly any movies this year (or even KNOW about them?) because most of these aren't even familiar to me.
    also- didn't watch the globes, so that doesn't help :-)

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  4. @Anne: apparently i haven't seen hardly any movies this year (or even KNOW about them?) because most of these aren't even familiar to me.

    Yeah, this is definitely an under-the-radar year, meaning there's no big commercial success in the awards discussions, and if you aren't specifically paying attention to this stuff you probably haven't heard/seen a lot of the movies being discussed/winning awards.

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  5. I don't even need to mention anymore that your thoughts echo mine. Great minds...

    As for a comment you made in your Twitter feed: Tilda Swinton can't help looking like David Bowie. I noted as much in my Globes writeup last year, when she was totally channeling The Man Who Fell to Earth. Lots of folks mention her resemblance to Conan O'Brien, at least when her hair is red, but I see Bowie even more, perennially.

    I know some people ... would like to see the trailers for the best picture nominees cut in favor of giving the winners more time for their acceptance speeches, but I'd rather the trailers cut in favor of getting a clip of each nominated performer.

    While I like that idea in theory, and on the Oscars it doesn't bother me (makes sense, even), I'm kind-of glad that we don't get such clips on the Globes because I haven't seen enough of the films that I'm planning to see yet and I don't want them spoiled. I don't want to see the montages of the Best Picture nominees for the same reason. The Oscars has more of a retrospective feel to it, so that's okay, although of course there's no guarantee that I'll even have seen everything I want to by then.

    That said, it was pretty lame that they played off The Descendants producers. I mean, it was the last award of the night!

    Not only did the same thing happen to the producer of The Artist a couple of awards earlier, but I've seen (and commented on) that happening at the end of the Oscars telecast too. Yes, I know, showrunners: Most producers are largely financiers and don't have the star power or expected wit — expectations often dashed, of course, but still — that actors or well-known directors have. These awards are the last of the night, when you're in a hurry to cut to the late local news for some reason, because you slotted them there because they're the culmination of the entire show. Playing off even a painful acceptance speech is just rude.

    The whole Comedy or Musical/Drama split remains dubious, with Michelle William winning Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical for playing Marilyn Monroe in a movie that I understand is fairly far removed from being either a comedy or a musical

    I cannot disabuse you of that notion. This was a head-scratcher. Although it just dawned on me that this may be less up to the HFPA themselves than the agents/handlers who are in charge of in which category someone's work is submitted.

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  6. someone needs to tell these awarding bodies that just because a show is British doesn't mean it's automatically a miniseries

    Ha! Did Sepinwall or Tucker write something similar? 'Cause I feel like I saw another quip along those lines, but it might have just been during my first quick read-through of your post earlier today. And that doesn't make it any less funny; great minds again... 8^)

    Best laugh of the night goes to Seth Rogen, who came out to present alongside Kate Beckinsale, and introduced himself saying, "I'm Seth Rogen, and I'm trying to conceal a massive erection."

    And Beckinsdale herself gets runner-up for best sport of the night for standing there, doing just the right amount of mugging that she's a bit embarrassed but soldiering on. She loses to Jodie Foster, though.

    I agree with your calls on Macy & Huffman as best presenters of the night and Vergara & Levitan as givers of the best acceptance speech, too.

    Easily the best moment of the night came when George Clooney, accepting the Best Actor award for The Descendants, thanked Michael Fassbender for taking up the mantle of frontal nudity and made a joke about how Fassbender could play golf with his penis

    I expect that sort of comment from Clooney, yet the phrasing made it sound (at least to my ears) like Clooney was a if not the prior possessor of that mantle — which I'm not aware of being the case. Viggo Mortensen and Jason Segel come to mind, but I think I'd remember hearing about the full Clooney.

    Speaking of which, I wonder how long it'll be before we start referring to that part of the male anatomy as a Fassbender. I'll start: "That Fassbender has been in a lot of things lately, but sadly not Jodie Foster's Beaver."

    The Artist and The Descendants likely cemented their status as Oscar frontrunners and the respective films to beat,

    I say this not having seen The Artist or The Descendants yet, although I'm striking contenders off my list at the theater and on disc as quickly as possible, but Hugo Hugo Hugo Hugo Hugo Hugo Hugo Hugo Hugo.

    VW: verine — Truth serum developed by a notable African-American singer/dancer/actor.

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  7. What anne said.
    Even if we knew about these movies, we're so behind. Even on movies that we planned to see in thearters

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  8. @Blam: I'm kind-of glad that we don't get such clips on the Globes because I haven't seen enough of the films that I'm planning to see yet and I don't want them spoiled.

    That's a good point I hadn't considered. You're right, coming at the end of awards season, the Oscars do feel more retrospective, and thus more appropriate for clips. I've never felt terribly spoiled by the best picture clips (they've always seemed pretty vague, and no worse than the commercials I'd see on TV umpteen times) but clips for the actors would be more likely to highlight key moments in their films or their performances.

    I've seen (and commented on) that happening at the end of the Oscars telecast too.

    Yeah, it's annoying no matter, but especially annoying there. Look, I get that a lot of these speeches are boring, but that's the nature of the beast. It's not the end of the world if your show runs a few minutes long, especially if it's because you afforded a respectful amount of time to winners and not because of, say, an overstuffed interpretive dance number.

    Although it just dawned on me that this may be less up to the HFPA themselves than the agents/handlers who are in charge of in which category someone's work is submitted.

    I wondered about that too. I have NO idea how the Globes/HFPA nomination process works, but I know for the Oscars things like whether a performer is lead or supporting is based entirely on how the performer submits him/herself (or, more accurately, which category that performer's agent/management team believes they have a better chance of winning), not on any kind of Academy rule about length/impact of the performance on the movie.

    So maybe the Globes are similar and Michelle Williams' people submitted her for Comedy/Musical actress, (rightly) thinking she could win there and not in the dramatic category (where she'd be facing off against Streep)?

    Ha! Did Sepinwall or Tucker write something similar?

    Sepinwall or Feinberg might have said something similar. I have so much info coming in these days I can't keep it all straight. :)

    And Beckinsdale herself gets runner-up for best sport of the night for standing there, doing just the right amount of mugging that she's a bit embarrassed but soldiering on. She loses to Jodie Foster, though.

    Agreed on both counts.

    ...like Clooney was a if not the prior possessor of that mantle — which I'm not aware of being the case.

    I had thought the same thing, as I've never thought of Clooney as "the frontal nudity" guy on the same level of Mortensen or Segel. Maybe the booze just muddied his transition into the Fassbender joke?

    "That Fassbender has been in a lot of things lately, but sadly not Jodie Foster's Beaver."

    Ha! Nicely done.

    ...but Hugo Hugo Hugo Hugo Hugo Hugo Hugo Hugo Hugo.

    Don't worry, that's on my least too. :)

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  9. ...but Hugo Hugo Hugo Hugo Hugo Hugo Hugo Hugo Hugo.

    Don't worry, that's on my least too.


    Also on my *list*, too...

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  10. @Sarah: Even if we knew about these movies, we're so behind. Even on movies that we planned to see in thearters

    I will say, one of the nice things about this awards season is that a lot of the contending films/performances are already available on DVD, making it a lot easier to catch stuff.

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