Globe Trotting: On The 73rd Golden Globes Ballyhoo

I woke up this morning and it struck me that last night was the air date for this year’s Golden Globes ceremony. Following being struck that first time, I was struck again by the realization that I have said nothing about them at any point; I have offered no commentary, presented no predictions, and yielded no insight into one of the biggest, most widely covered annual mainstream celebrations of the movies. Rendered aghast at the dawning comprehension of my grievous omission, I decided to do something about it. So, without further preamble, here is my hasty postscript to the twists and turns of the 73 Golden Globes Awards:

Everybody lost. Nobody won.

It’s amazing that even in 2016, people in the entertainment industry, or people with a tangential relationship to the entertainment industry, or people who observe the entertainment industry’ wanton spectacle in the throes of pure trashy delight, still devote any serious thought to the Golden Globes as an institution. Maybe the right word isn’t “amazing.” Maybe the right word is “tiresome.” Look, I get it: people love pageantry, and the Globes are all about pageantry, even if they feature less pomp per segment than the first half of the average Oscar ceremony. And pageantry aside, if you care about the movies, you must tune in to all shows, major or minor, that purport to celebrate what is “best” in cinema each year. You can no more ignore the Globes than critics’ circle awards, though up until now I have made a handsome effort at doing precisely that.

Seriously! I’m being seriously serious. I’m actually checking on the winners now as I write this very article. I’m vaguely aware that Alejandro Gonzales Iñárritu, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, and Brie Larson each won something, that DiCaprio had an uncomfortable brush-up with Lady Gaga, and that Sylvester Stallone deservedly won for his outstanding work in Ryan Coogler’s Creed, the legacy reboot superior to J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I’m also aware that Stallone is under fire for forgetting to acknowledge Coogler and Michael B. Jordan in his acceptance speech, which would be infuriating if it didn’t perfectly highlight cinephilic hypocrisy in award show politics: all such shows are meaningless horseshit until somebody says something or doesn’t say something, and then all of a sudden the shows totally matter.

First, let me just say “fie on those people.” I write this in full awareness of two things: that some of those people happen to  be my colleagues, and that two of them happen to be Ava DuVernay and Samuel L. Jackson, respectively. Being as neither DuVernay nor Jackson engage in the eyerolling that precedes every Globes or Oscars shindig, I consider them (and probably a few others whose names don’t come immediately to mind) exempt from my contempt. 

Second, let me say: Who fucking cares? To begin with, if Coogler himself isn’t upset about that whole non-scandal, nobody else should be either (particularly since Stallone realized his error and corrected it in the press room). But the real heart of the matter is that you can’t put on a dispassionate front about the Globes until something happens on air that offends you. Either the Globes are hollow and without value, or they aren’t.  You can’t really have it both ways. Can you?

Grant that acceptance speeches inhabit a cultural space opposite the nominations, and thus exist independently from the grousing over what should win, what shouldn’t win, and what should have been nominated but didn’t. Maybe you can make an argument that awkward celebrity mishaps are, in fact, relevant even when the awards themselves aren’t. But if that’s true, then the Globes become relevant by virtue of the fact that they supply the stage on which these moments happen, which in turn gives the Globes a relevance that most movie snobs (myself included) are hesitant to acknowledge. The problem is that most such snafus and flubs simply boil down to nerves and emotion. Lady Gaga didn’t thank Taylor Kinney after receiving her statue for American Horror Story: Hotel, after all; even persons as eminent as Mother Monster herself are prone to human weakness.

So I ask again: Who fucking cares?

It’s worth keeping in mind now, as always, that the Globes are notorious for malfeasance. They are an intrinsically (and allegedly) corrupt institution with a voting body measuring just under 90 people total, known for their pliability and for indulging in such pastimes as category fraud (actual category fraud, such as it is, and not spurious accusations made by douchebags). Depending on who you ask, none of that really matters, or, more accurately, it’s entirely part of the fun of the Globes, which just leads us to the question of what we’re supposed to take the soiree as: is it a train wreck for our entertainment, a substantive predictor of the outcome of the Oscar race, a true barometer for the best film and television shows of the year, or an unscrupulous dog and pony show? Of these, I choose the first – watching the Globes is like watching your drunk uncle try to talk politics at Thanksgiving – but the query just underscores the event’s hodgepodge identity.  

With all that off my chest, I should maybe, perhaps, say a few words about the winners and the losers, but there’s very little to say. It is the worst kind of joke that Iñárritu should best George Miller in the directing category; Iñárritu did in fact direct the hell out of The Revenant, but the end to which he directed the film exists many leagues outside of what Miller achieved in Mad Max: Fury Road. Anybody could have won the drama category for actresses and they would have deserved it, even Alicia Vikander, who supplies the otherwise staid The Danish Girl with a source of effortless luminescence. I haven’t seen Joy so I have no opinion on the film or Lawrence’s win, but she is fast becoming the next Meryl Streep when it comes to wracking up nominations and wins when occasion demands. Aaron Sorkin deserves nothing. Mr. Robot deserves everything. Aziz Ansari and his fake book cover are both the greatest ever. Watching actual comedies lose to not-comedies is kind of like having an out of  body experience. Ricky Gervais should be banned from microphones. Und so weiterund so fort.

And now this piece is entirely too long. For a guy who claims not to care, I sure do care a lot. 


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