Normally, watching the Golden Globes is a fairly solitary experience for me.
Sure, my parents or a few floormates would often be in the room as I liveblogged, livetweeted, or took notes during previous years, but the focus was on putting together short-form snark and long-form analysis of the night’s events. It was just me and the internet, as I awaited the (relative) flood of page views which come with writing about any event of this notoriety.
This year was somewhat different – I attended a lovely Golden Globes viewing party held at some colleagues’ home here in Madison, where the collective snark of my Twitter feed was replaced by the collective snark of a bunch of media studies grad students. We enjoyed some fine food, some fine wine, and I took advantage of being the only obsessive follower of award season prognosticators in order to win the prediction pool. While I have much love for the online community which has formed around this blog, and around my work in general, I will admit that there was something nice about being (largely) disconnected from the online snark in favor of a more interpersonal form of social interaction (which is perhaps fitting considering The Social Network’s dominance of the evening’s proceedings).
However, as a result, I didn’t quite have the time to prepare the lengthy analysis I might normally have written, and which I normally write much of during the show to facilitate its completion. Instead, I put together a more concise and focused piece on the evening’s reflection of ongoing questions surrounding the Golden Globes’ legitimacy over at Antenna. It’s a question that I’ve had on my mind for a while now, and something I wrote about at length for a term paper on the Emmy Awards last semester, but some of Ricky Gervais’ jokes at the expense of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association offered a nice entry into how precisely an awards show that nominates The Tourist, Burlesque and Piper Perabo can hold any sort of legitimacy within the industry.
Every year, the Golden Globes give us a large collection of reasons to dismiss them entirely. The Tourist and Burlesque are perhaps the two most prominent examples on the film side this year, and Piper Perabo’s Lead Actress in a Drama Series nomination for USA Network’s Covert Affairs offers a similar bit of lunacy on the television side. While these may lead us to dismiss the awards as a sort of farcical celebration of celebrity excess, the fact remains that the Golden Globes hold considerable power within the industry.
However, since the piece features very little of my opinion surrounding the night’s winners and this is likely why you’re here, some brief thoughts on Gervais and the awards themselves after the jump.
I did not find Ricky Gervais particularly funny, but I did not find him particularly offensive either. I’m glad to see that Gervais was willing to play with more subversive material this year after a subdued and unfunny performance as last year’s host, but I don’t think the material improved much outside of its willingness to push boundaries. Taking away the context of the occasion, the material was rote to the point of feeling stale, and the monologue in particular failed to capture the dismissive yet playful tone Gervais has when presenting awards. This was why I preferred his little bits when introducing the presenters, as it felt more interactive and less like a purposeful attempt to see how far the audience was willing to follow him (and offered a nice extension of his award show feud with Steve Carell). I don’t think Gervais crossed any sort of ethical line, perhaps because I hold so little respect for the Golden Globes in general, but my lack of a predisposition towards awkwardness-driven humor meant that the contextual nature of his commentary is something I find interesting rather than something I actually enjoyed.
As far as the winners are concerned, I don’t have any particular complaints. Sure, it seems ridiculous that Katey Sagal or anyone would defeat Elisabeth Moss considering the year she had on Mad Men, but taken out of the context of this year I am very pleased to see the Sons of Anarchy actress recognized for her tremendous work. And while I think Jim Parsons is increasingly becoming the only redeemable part of The Big Bang Theory, I’m pleased to see him receiving recognition for a consistently strong performance and was delighted to see that Kaley Cuoco brings out the best in Parsons just as Penny brings out the best in Sheldon.
Of course, having not seen Boardwalk Empire beyond its pilot, I cannot really speak to its victory in Best Drama Series or Steve Buscemi’s victory in the Best Actor category. Part of me sees its win as an extension of the HFPA’s fetish for that which is new and that which is on premium cable, and that Buscemi is a big enough name to be considered a “Movie Actor” who has graced television with his presence, but perhaps it truly was better than Mad Men this year and I just don’t know it yet. And while I would certainly argue that Glee didn’t have a particularly fantastic 2010, the lack of any of 2010’s actual best comedies (which would be Parks and Recreation, Community, and probably Cougar Town, in my opinion at least) in favor of a collection of average-at-best series meant that its victory is not quite an outrage, and I think it would be hard to argue that Jane Lynch and Chris Colfer haven’t done some fine work over that span.
In some cases, small fires help put out big ones: The Big C winning Comedy Series would have been horrifying, but Laura Linney winning Best Actress is logical enough, if not necessarily objectively accurate enough, to be found acceptable. With Perabo and The Walking Dead both shut out, there were no winners who seemed as if they were providing a picture of television’s quality which would unfairly suggest that the medium had an absolutely dreadful 2010 – instead, while the winners may not necessarily reflect my own tastes, the winners ultimately reflect a wide range of shows which have some degree of merit and seem an accurate depiction of the year in TV.
And that’s not so bad, is it?
- As noted on Twitter, I am outraged that Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan were allowed to speak but Brad Falchuk was given no such opportunity. And yes, only Todd VanDerWerff and I probably even noticed such a thing – thus is the power the Three Glees holds over us.
- No huge opinions on the film side, except that the Oscar race seems exceedingly boring: unless True Grit gains incredible traction, or The King’s Speech pulls out a Victory at the SAG Awards, it appears that The Social Network is walking away with this one easily.
- It seems like the acting awards on the film side feature equally little room for movement: Firth and Portman seem like locks, while Leo and Bale are certainly positioned as frontrunners (unless True Grit’s continued box office success allows Steinfeld to give Leo a run for her money).
- One of my favorite moments on the night: Jesse Eisenberg lifting Andrew Garfield up from his seat after both, initially, didn’t join the entire cast on stage as is award show tradition.
- The biggest laugh of the evening was limited to my colleagues’ living room – in printing up the ballots, “Trent Reznor” had been autocorrected/typo’d to “Trant Razor.” I laughed every time I looked at it.