Beyond being an embarrassing and boring joke, the saddest part about the Golden Globes is that they’re an irrelevant, embarrassing and boring joke.
The 70th annual Golden Globes aired during primetime on Sunday Jan. 15. As per TV Guide, 19.7 million people tuned in, the most since 2007.
This is Hollywood congratulating itself. Everyone plays along because it’s fun and there’s free booze — even then, nobody actually takes it seriously. It’s not like it’s the Oscars.
Originally started in the early 1940′s, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s roughly 90 members decide the final outcome of the Globes, compared to more than 6,000 judges of the Academy Awards. Their tendency to pick winners from major studios was forever immortalized by former host Ricky Gervais, who famously stated, “I’d like to quash this ridiculous rumor going ’round that the only reason [The Tourist] was nominated was so the Hollywood Foreign Assocation could hang out with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. That is rubbish. They also accepted bribes.”
The entire entertainment industry treats the less-than-prestigious Globes as a joke, e.g., Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell’s ironic parody of introductory speeches in which they improvised the plots of the nominated films in an attempt to inject some vaguely funny, but mostly sardonic amusement the nauseatingly boring charade. By acknowledging the absurdity and ridiculousness of the whole event, Wiig and Ferrell negate any criticism, making it redundant because they’ve already made fun themselves and the whole media circus.
And of course Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were funny — they had to be, as the Globes need some interludes of amusement to keep everyone watching the entertainment industry advertise itself.
One hand washes the other: Guggenheim Partners, which owns The Hollywood Reporter, profits from that hype by spinning a glitzy story to put in supermarket checkout aisles. Guggenheim Partners also owns NBC, which not only has exclusive broadcast rights to the Globes, but also collects awards.
Isn’t it comforting when everything goes as expected? There were no surprises to throw anybody for any loops. The same handful of studios will win the same awards again and again, and this provides a sense of order and structure. All the formulaic and glossy movies and shows that everyone knew would win, won. Anything else would be unsettling and not suitable for the American Viewing Public.
Is there anything more peculiar than the former president of the United States (Bill Clinton), at one point the most powerful man in the world, introducing a piece of entertainment? Is there anything sadder than when the piece he introduced loses?
Is there anything more hypocritical than Jodie Foster declaring her want of privacy, after accepting a Lifetime Achievement Award on primetime television?
And what’s with that cheesy music? Who was in charge of those surreal and jarring cuts to the losers’ faces after every winner was announced? These are the baffling questions the Golden Globes presents and cannot answer.
The Golden Globes don’t matter. Like all award shows, the Golden Globes are self-indulgent and self-congratulating, and ultimately offer nothing of substance except to pollute the airwaves with radiotoxic white noise.
Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, Will Ferrell, Dick Clark, Bill Clinton, NBC and the HFPA could not be reached for comment.
Tom Barnes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.