The Lead Globes

December 15, 2005
A thought by James Berardinelli

Every year, I receive a few e-mails asking why I don't provide coverage of The Golden Globes. This year, the nominees answer that question. How is it possible to take seriously an awards show that fails to nominate Munich, while acknowledging both the director and screenwriter? Even the Academy isn't (usually) that inconsistent. In my corner of the world, the Golden Globes don't exist. Nor does any award show other than the Oscars, and the only reason I don't ingore them is because no one would take me seriously if I did. Once upon a time, I provided "live" Academy Awards coverage, but I now give that up for Lent. It's much better to curl up on the couch with my wife, watch the first hour, fall asleep, wake up six hours later in time to see the final 30 minutes, then check on-line to find out what I missed.

I think the first time I can recall hearing about The Golden Globes was in the early '80s. My initial impression was that it was a porn awards show. After all, who in their right mind would name a non-porn award a "Golden Globe?" The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, that's who. Who? As impressive as the name might sound, this is an obscure organization. I'm sure real people belong to it, but finding someone with a membership card is nearly impossible. Questions of credibility aside, however, no one can deny that these people have a great marketing department. The Golden Globes have developed from just another end-of-the-year awards show into the #2 on the totem pole (right under the Oscars). No one seems to remember that they once gave an award to Pia Zadora. That, in my book, makes them worthy of perpetual ridicule. That's the kind of citation that can never be redeemed.

All movie awards show are about politics, friendship, and payback. The belief that artistic achievement or talent has more than a peripheral impact on who is nominated or who wins is an illusion. Even more so than the Oscars, the Golden Globes are a popularity contest. The fact that they are viewed as a "predictor" of Academy Award nominations shows how far the Oscars have strayed from their roots. Awards are marketing tools, nothing more. Frankly, the MTV Awards have as much credibility as the Golden Globes.

I won't discuss specific nominations, because I don't think they're worth the ink. Once I saw that Munich had been overlooked, I shook my head. Spielberg, it is said, will not be stumping for awards nominations - including the Academy Awards. He has won his share of statues and now can take the high road. Would that Martin Scorsese could do the same. It gets sad, year after year, watching his face when someone else is announced as Best Director. Granted, his recent work hasn't deserved a win but, as I wrote above, "deservedness" has nothing to do with who takes home the statue. Maybe if Scorsese went out of his way to shake a few more hands and kiss a few more asses, he might win something. You're got to admire someone who doesn't do that, but it's still sad to see the losing expression.

I have never watched a Golden Globes telecast, and don't plan to start any time soon. If something outrageous happens, I'm sure the clip will show up on-line. But outrageousness and spontaneity have been removed from mainstream awards shows. The evening's events are so scripted that they can be painful to watch. If The Golden Globes meant something, I might care about the nominees or the winners. But they're just another publicist's success story, and that's not worth my attention.