I have a lot of fond memories of the Golden Globe awards, although none of them are really fond for the reasons that Dick Clark and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association would like them to be. For example, Elizabeth Taylor’s drug-induced reading of “Gladiator” remains in my view the definitive way of vocalizing the title of the film – I seriously doubt that this was supposed to be the definitive moment of my Golden Globes experience, but there you have it.
The Golden Globes are perhaps the only major awards that people want to give away, as seen when Ving Rhames tried to hand his off to Jack Lemmon a number of years ago. They have some value as a precursor to the Academy Awards, and they certainly provide a nice party for the guests in attendance, but the awards themselves have obviously taken a backseat to the spectacle. As a result, the recent decision to cancel the award show itself due to the writers’ strike really kind of kills whatever fun existed in this process, and allows us to focus solely on the awards themselves.
To be honest, it’s fairly bizarre: it becomes about winners and losers, without the added bonus of seeing who is the most intoxicated. Something about that just feels wrong, but I’m willing to go with the flow – while I will refrain from extensive film-analysis at what is ostensibly a TV blog, I’ll probably end up covering the Oscars in greater detail. With the Globes, however, let’s focus on television.
The TV section of the Golden Globes is always quite strange, as they have both strange taste and an odd placement within the calendar year. This is not to say that their taste is bad, or that their timing is poor, but rather that it gives them a strange combination of irrelevance and poignancy that is rarely echoed by any other awards show.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association operates on an agenda of selecting one thing: what is hip and new for their overseas readers. They are a press corps who reports back to foreign countries from Hollywood, and thus they have a certain penchant to select shows which have both broad appeal and in some cases niche appeal that follows a particular trend. In some cases, this results in a slew of nominations for a sharp new series like Pushing Daisies, which is genuinely beloved by a majority of critics. In other cases, it results in the near shut-out of The Sopranos’ final season, save for a nomination for Edie Falco – the HPFA giveth, the HFPA taketh away.
As a whole, however, the winners themselves are rarely the focus: the awards are so far away from the Primetime Emmys that they are not a precursor, and the fact that they allow for any show which aired in 2007 to compete makes for a skewed field. For example: The Office might have had a rough start to the fall season, but they’re being graded based on also the excellent conclusion to the third season earlier in the year. It’s a strange formula which has seen some series win due to these circumstances where they might not based on more conventional wisdom.
Later this week, on Friday and Saturday, I’ll have my predictions for the drama and comedy categories at the Globes. The winners will be announced in a press conference at 9pm EST on NBC Sunday Night, and the lack of fanfare will hopefully result in a greater focus on the fantastic work done by these individuals and series. I’d actually love to see NBC organize presenters who could actually speak about the winners in some detail, even if it’s written out ahead of time by the non-union news writers. If the show much go on in some capacity, it should go on in a way which supports these fine individuals.
So, look for more Globes coverage as the week progresses.