Ode to Perabo: Celebrating Golden Globetrocity
December 14th, 2010
Normally, I wake up to watch the Golden Globes nominations (which you can read here) early…at 9am. Living in the wonderful Atlantic time zone for so long, I got spoiled by the notion that I need only wake up a little bit early to witness the countless (relative) atrocities the Hollywood Foreign Press Association commits each year, and so I’d often offer robust analysis of the nominations after they were finished.
However, now that I find myself in the Central time zone, I lack the advantage of having considerably more sleep than the poor souls on the West Coast – sure, 7am might not be 5am, but it’s still early enough to dull my senses and render any sort of complex analysis impossible.
And yet, regardless of the numerous ludicrous nominations that I could complain about (and which fit nicely into my previous theorum regarding the HFPA’s modus operandi in my analysis of last year’s nominations), I can say this: this morning, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association entertained me in ways I never thought possible by nominating Piper Perabo of USA’s Covert Affairs for Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
And just so we’re clear, this is not the kind of entertainment they were going for.
I’ve been researching and writing about the Emmys in earnest for the past week, and I was reading a short essay by Newton N. Minow wherein he lauded the Academy for their role in protecting the inherent value of television and its almost literary quality. While we can argue (and should argue) about whether the Emmys actually fulfill this role, and whether they have at any point in the past, I don’t think that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association could ever make the same claim. They want to throw a party, and they want pretty and famous people to be there, and their nominations reflect a fundamental lack of evaluative criteria beyond shininess.
I don’t know if it explains Perabo, however. In fact, nothing explains Perabo. There is no logic here: she isn’t an established movie star (unless the Academy really loved her in Beverly Hills Chihuahua), her show isn’t on one of the premium cable networks (which has seemed to work for Thomas Jane, who bizarrely repeats for Hung), and when you compare her to fellow basic cable nominees Kyra Sedwick and Katey Sagal you realize just how out of place she is. In fact, I’m almost willing to go on record and suggest that the nomination process got Perabo’s numbers mixed up with Anna Paquin’s, as this is how little sense this makes.
And yet perhaps it truly represents the apex of the Golden Globe nominations, the point at which all logic is off the table. We can look to nominations like those for Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in The Tourist and find plenty to complain about, but we understand: this is the HFPA, and so star trumps quality (plus they announce so early that they probably didn’t realize just how silly those nominations would seem coming off of Jolie and Depp getting raked over the coals for their performances). And yet there is no way for us to understand Perabo’s nomination when you consider how many other logical narratives the Globes could have taken up.
If there is a victim here, it’s Sons of Anarchy’s Katey Sagal: as Joe Reid pointed out on Twitter, those of us live-tweeting the early nominations entirely missed Sagal because we were too busy laughing about Perabo before her. Upon sober reflection, Sagal’s nomination rectifies the earlier embarrassment of the Academy for ignoring her back in August, but her proximity to Perabo has to be considered at least somewhat of a slap in the face. While I know that television awards, by nature of their loose definitions of drama and comedy, nominate diverse performances that one has trouble comparing to one another…even the idea of Perabo being in step with these nominees is silly to the point of making the category as a whole into a joke.
And yet it’s a joke I don’t think I’ve truly heard before, and for that I am grateful. I am sure Piper Perabo is a perfectly nice woman, and I would even say that she’s perfectly acceptable on Covert Affairs, a show which never quite found a second gear but coasted along comfortably in “Drive” for the amount of its run I actually bothered to watch. However, she has now become the most random Golden Globe nominee I have perhaps ever seen, and for that she will always have a place in my heart.
- I’m limiting myself to one complaint, so this is it: I will resent every single nomination that The Walking Dead receives in Series categories. I get that the Globes doesn’t offer effects awards, meaning that they can’t actually reward the show where it might deserve the attention, but this does not mean that the show deserves to be placed into major categories. This is less to do about the Globes (where I expect this kind of zeitgeist-chasing, short term memory nomination) and more to do with something like the Emmys or the recent AFI list – the show is not good enough to enter into conversation with something like Breaking Bad or even those shows it is competing against (The Good Wife, Mad Men, etc.), and I think it needs to be nipped in the bud.
- Now, a complaint masquerading as a question: have awards shows really ceded enough power to the networks that Luther can be classified as a Miniseries and The Walking Dead can be classified as a Drama despite the fact that they aired for the same amount of episodes and both were given second “season” orders? Short Order does not equal Mini, folks.
- A nominee I’m actually happy about: While Sagal’s nomination is sort of tainted by my frustrations with SoA this year (including her marginalization within a rather poorly plotted story arc), I’m unabashedly pleased that Scott Caan was nominated for Hawaii Five-0. Does he deserve it? Of course not. But, as you’ll see in an upcoming A.V. Club feature, he had a miraculous year in many ways, and THIS IS HIS MOMENT.