Last night, the 2008 Golden Globes were a ludicrous and fascinating experiment of NBC’s incompetence (Sepinwall tears them a new one here) and a sense that what we were watching was memorable not due to any of the winners but rather because it was just difficult to watch. I tried to LiveBlog it, which was a horrible mistake in every possible way, but it did get me thinking about something.
You see, usually we consider the concepts of Winners and Losers in terms of who won awards, but that really isn’t the question here. The real concern is that by not airing the awards, some of the Golden Globes buzz which could benefit these performers in their future award races or in their future ratings/DVD sales. The lack of hoopla actually hurt some of the winners, dampening the effect of what would have been an entertaining surprise victory.
So let’s look at a bit of an unconventional concept of “winners” and “Losers” after last night’s intriguing events.
Winner – 30 Rock
Yes, it lost Best Comedy Series. And yes, it also ludicrously lost Best Actor in a Comedy Series when David Duchovony beat Alec Baldwin. But Tina Fey’s victory shows that an American-made, New York shot comedy series with little to no connection to the international markets (Although Interrogation Bear might differ) is capable of winning even when it’s not Alec Baldwin, which may end up as all of the respect that the HFPA has to give.
Loser – Mad Men
I would have paid money to see the stunned reaction of the partying attendees to Jon Hamm’s win as Best Actor in a Drama Series, but instead we got Billy Bush’s quip about how it was humorous for an actor to have the name “Hamm.” The impact was entirely gone – it was a great endnote for critics and those who enjoy fine television, but the general population will easily shrug off both Hamm’s win and the series’ eventual triumph in Best Drama Series. Still, this is a qualified sense of loser – it’s a winner in my mind, certainly.
Winner – Juno
Yes, a film which was completely shut out at the Golden Globes is actually labeled a “Winner” in my crazy and insane world. The reasoning is simple: the film has all of the box office buzz and the word of mouth buzz in the world, as it vaults towards the $100 Million mark. If the Globes was a huge spectacle, the losses would have really resonated: instead, the impact is minimal at best, especially amongst non-award aficionados. Diablo Cody and Ellen Page now get to continue their march to Oscar Nominations without any questions of their candidacy.
Loser – Atonement
Now I’m just crazy – it won Best Picture (Drama), its first major win in the award precursors, so how can I possibly call it a loser? Well, unfortunately, the Golden Globes press conference won’t quite be the same bump that the awards show itself was – not being able to see the intoxicated production team of the film take the stage and give a cut short speech is going to severely damage its positive spin heading into a competitive Best Picture category.
Winners – People Who Watched CNN/E!/TV Guide
Everyone who did so, kudos to you – you got to see less annoying entertainment hosts introduce the awards in a traditional fashion without inserting their own commentary on a regular basis. It was simple, only a half-hour long, and generally the much better way to enjoy this process.
Losers – Billy Bush and NBC
I don’t quite want to refer to Billy Bush as the scourge of mankind, but seriously – his commentary throughout the episode was more embarrassing than we could have even imagined. Whether it was questioning Cate Blanchett’s win due to her playing a man, or just being plain ol’ ignorant about some other categories (He has serious issues about the comedy/drama split), it was both unnecessary and painful to watch. NBC’s decision to air the special as a one-hour, hideously padded affair was done for a variety of reasons (Ad revenue, ratings, etc.), but it just came off as nothing but tacky.
Edit: And, to add insult to injury? Only 5.4 Million viewers showed up to watch NBC’s coverage of the winners. That’s just rough.