70th Annual Golden Globe Awards: Best party in Hollywood

Saturday January 12, 2013

The Golden Globes, the clown car of movie awards, are more irrelevant than ever.

They were rendered an official waste of time on Thursday, when their arch-nemesis (the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) figured out how to squash its pesky competitor.

For years, it irked the Oscars people that the Golden Globes, given artificial weight by a lucrative NBC contract, strutted around the barnyard for up to a month between the time they gave out their silly awards and the academy announced its nominees. Once the Oscar nominees are announced, nobody cares about the Golden Globes.

Last year, the Oscars people moved up their nominations, but it still allowed the Globes people to rule the roost for a couple of weeks. This year, Oscar nominations were announced four days before the Golden Globes.

Now, when Golden Globe winners are announced on Sunday night [WNYT-TV, Channel 13, 8-11 p.m.] the win will be meaningless if the winner has not already been nominated for an Oscar. Trust me, a Golden Globe win doesn’t linger longer than it takes to find your limousine after the show.

The Golden Globes are awarded by a relatively small group of voters (about 80 voting members versus 5,856 voters for the Oscars), who work part- and full-time for foreign publications.

They are members of a non-profit organization called the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

The group has managed to avoid the scandals that plagued it in the early years, when wealthy benefactors were able to buy Golden Globes for their girlfriends, but it is well-known that if actors don’t make themselves available to the group at press conferences, they will never be nominated.

If a studio doesn’t put out an impressive buffet spread for the "journalists," there is a good chance that the studio’s films will never win a Globe.

At the end of those press conferences/buffets, each star-struck journalist poses for photos with their interview subject, not only because they are more fan than journalist, but to prove to their bosses back in their home countries that they indeed meet the stars they write about.

I have my own history with these foreign journalists. I won’t repeat the whole story, but in a nutshell, I once was thrown bodily out of one of their press conferences, even though I had been invited by host HBO. I suspect that the journalists considered me a direct threat to their lavish breakfast buffet.

Even though the academy skunked the HFPA with its early nominations announcement, it’s not all bad news for the Golden Globes.

For the first time, the Globes can live up to its self-styled reputation as the "best party in Hollywood." They have been living off that reputation for years, but they got carried away and started to take themselves too seriously.

They sometimes have bigger star power than the Oscars because they are more than willing to nominate undeserving movie stars just to get them to attend.

To their credit, they serve alcohol at the Golden Globes (and dinner, but nobody in Hollywood would be caught dead stuffing their faces at an awards show, with the possible exception of nominees in the writing categories).

And I must salute the self-deprecating sense of humor they’ve acquired in recent years, reflected in their choice of hosts. The selection of Ricky Gervais two years in a row was inspired and courageous. He didn’t hesitate to bite the hand that paid him.

No longer relevant

I may actually watch the Golden Globes this year. The rude ejection from the press conference is almost forgotten.

And now that I know that the Oscar nominations have stolen the Globes’ thunder, I am less of a hater than in recent years.

True, I wish that legitimate news publications didn’t give the Golden Globes so much coverage and credibility, but I can live with that, knowing that the Globes are really no longer relevant.

The saddest aspect of this long-running battle between the Oscars and the Golden Globes was a move by the academy to increase the number of best picture nominees.

Traditionally, the Oscars nominated five films, and the Golden Globes nominated 10 -- five in the drama category and five in the comedy or musical category.

Artsy films

It was an obvious attempt to include more popular movies than the so-called artsy films nominated by the Oscars.

Recently, the academy increased its field to as many as 10 nominees, although this year there are only nine, determined by how many films received at least five percent of the vote.

This year, seven of the nine Oscar nominees were nominated for Golden Globes.

Are the Globe people getting smarter, or are the Oscar people getting dumber?


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