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The Golden Globes: The Elephant in the Room


So…The Hollywood Foreign Press has distributed their awards
at the most festive (read: alcohol-fueled) televised event of the awards
season, but it was more sober and predictable than usual and featured only a
few big surprises. James Cameron’s “Avatar” Juggernaut snagged him a pair of
fancy bookends.

Host Ricky Gervais barely had any air time, and what comedy
stylings he offered landed in the room with a strangely silent thud. Most of
the assembled crowd apparently didn’t enjoy getting tweaked by one of their
own; only Mel Gibson really went along for the ride.

0001an  The humanitarian crisis in Haiti hung thick in the air,
mentioned occasionally by winners and presenters and PSA’s, the tragic elephant
in the designer-bedecked room. Real life tragedies often impinge on the
proceedings at these annual self-aggrandizing soirees; it’s challenging for
attendees to strike the right balance and tone. Some may remember the Emmys
were scheduled to occur right after 9-11 and pushed back. And right after
Martin Luther King was shot, the Academy Awards were delayed a couple of days.
Real life and disasters happen on their own time; the most gracious and moving
acceptance speeches take eloquent note of this awkward situation. Meryl Streep
dug deep and offered her personal take; George Clooney sat there politely and
humbly, everyone in the room (and the world) knowing he’s doing the right thing
with his Telethon scheduled for Friday night. Same goes for Sandra Bullock; her
donating a cool million to Haitian relief was the perfect unmentioned accessory
for her surprise win, meaning ever so much more than another lapel ribbon or
entreaty to go online and give.


Haiti and the real world aside, The Golden Globes are the
most entertaining awards show in an ever-expanding parade of
self-congratulation. The tablehopping, booze-swilling format allows for a
muggle’s glimpse at the Hollywood status-seekers, the new arrivals, and the
luminaries. It’s momentarily and undeniably clear that television stars occupy
a lower rung on the show biz ladder than their big-screen peers. At the Emmys,
this discrepancy isn’t near so obvious; a few movie stars take awards for
cameos, and most don’t even bother to show. But almost everyone shows up for
this one. The TV stars ogle their betters; show biz is like high school, and
the cool kids sit together. Paul McCartney might just be the most famous man in
the room; even superstar Julia Roberts feels cowed in his presence. (Some actors
successfully move between large and small screen, but there is some palpable
tension nonetheless.)

All those pesky technical awards are absent at the Globes;
viewers (and actors) can imagine they made movies without anyone below the
line. Everyone is beautiful and famous. Like a high school cafeteria, the
coolest tables aren’t for newbies. TV people know where they stand, or sit. One
senses they’d like to ask the movie stars for autographs, geeky as the
plastic-bag-wearing fans braving the rain outside. But it’s clear this one
night a year that the role makes the actor as much as the actor makes the role.
Fame and status are strokes of serendipity and luck and timing as well as
talent and work.

Hollywood’s stylists have all but spoiled the disastrous
fashion possibilities that used to make our awards night. One-shoulder
asymmetry ruled the red carpet – blush-y no-color colors, subtle metallics,
classic black, and purple. Even Cher looked tasteful and lovely. No unwhitened
teeth, no wrinkled brows, no imperfections, no bad hair days. A few risky
garments that the fashion police will spend the week evaluating and shredding.
But mostly a little predictable and dull. A room full of beautiful people
looking beautiful. The winners a little glowier than the losers.

The pack of journalists clogging the entry asking the same
stupid questions over and over, feeding the beast, promoting the product.
Selling the movies. The Globes did their job, spreading around the trophies and
the nominations almost evenhandedly. And so we march on to the Oscars. Can’t

The Golden Globe Nominees and

Best Motion Picture-Drama

“Avatar” (Lightstorm Entertainment, 20th
Century Fox)

“The Hurt Locker” (Voltage Pictures, 42 West,
Summit Entertainment)

“Inglourious Basterds” (The Weinstein Company)

“Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire”
(Lee Daniels Entertainment, Smokewood Entertainment Group, Lionsgate)

“Up in the Air” (Paramount Pictures)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama

Emily Blunt, “The Young Victoria”

Sandra Bullock, “The Blind Side”

Helen Mirren, “The Last Station”

Carey Mulligan, “An Education”

Gabourey Sidibe, “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture-Drama

Jeff Bridges, “Crazy Heart”

George Clooney, “Up in the Air”

Colin Firth, “A Single Man”

Morgan Freeman, “Invictus”

Tobey Maguire, “Brothers”

Best Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical

“500 Days of Summer” (Watermark Pictures, Fox
Searchlight Pictures)

“The Hangover” (Warner Bros. Pictures)

“It’s Complicated” (Relativity Media, Scott Rudin
Productions, Universal Pictures)

“Julie & Julia” (Columbia Pictures, Sony
Pictures Releasing)

“Nine” (The Weinstein Company)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture-Comedy or

Sandra Bullock, “The Proposal”

Marion Cotillard, “Nine”

Julia Roberts, “Duplicity”

Meryl Streep, “It’s Complicated”

Meryl Streep, “Julie & Julia”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture-Comedy or

Matt Damon, “The Informant”

Daniel Day-Lewis, “Nine”

Robert Downey Jr., “Sherlock Holmes”

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, “500 Days of Summer”

Michael Stuhlbarg, “A Serious Man”

Best Animated Feature Film

“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” (Columbia
Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation, Sony Pictures Releasing)

“Coraline” (Laika, Inc., Focus Features)

“Fantastic Mr. Fox” (American Empirical Picture,
20th Century Fox)

“The Princess and the Frog” (Walt Disney Pictures)

“Up” (Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation

Best Foreign Language Film

“Baaria” (Italy) (Medusa Film, Summit

“Broken Embraces” (Spain) (El Deseo SA, Sony
Pictures Classics)

“The Maid” (Chile) (Forastero, Elephant Eye Films)

“A Prophet” (France) (Chic Films, Sony Pictures

“The White Ribbon” (Germany) (Wega Films, Sony
Pictures Classics)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a
Motion Picture

Penelope Cruz, “Nine”

Vera Farmiga, “Up in the Air”

Anna Kendrick, “Up in the Air”

Mo’nique, “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by

Julianne Moore, “A Single Man”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a
Motion Picture

Matt Damon, “Invictus”

Woody Harrelson, “The Messenger”

Christopher Plummer, “The Last Station”

Stanley Tucci, “The Lovely Bones”

Christoph Waltz, “Inglourious Basterds”

Best Director-Motion Picture

Kathryn Bigelow, “The Hurt Locker”

James Cameron, “Avatar”

Clint Eastwood, “Invictus”

Jason Reitman, “Up in the Air”

Quentin Tarantino, “Inglourious Basterds”

Best Screenplay-Motion Picture

Neill Blomkamp, “District 9”

Mark Boal, “The Hurt Locker”

Nancy Meyers, “It’s Complicated”

Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, “Up in the

Quentin Tarantino, “Inglourious Basterds”

Best Original Score-Motion Picture

Michael Giacchino, “Up”

Marvin Hamlisch, “The Informant”

James Horner, “Avatar”

Abel Zorzeniowski, “A Single Man”

Karen O, Carter Burwell, “Where the Wild Things

Best Original Song-Motion Picture

“Cinema Italiano,” “Nine” (Maury Yeston)

“I Want to Come Home,” “Everybody’s
Fine” (Paul McCartney)

“I Will See You,” “Avatar” (James
Horner, Simon Franglen, Kuk Harrell)

“The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart),”
“Crazy Heart” (Ryan Bingham, T Bone Burnett)

“Winter,” “Brothers” (U2, Bono)

Best Television Series-Drama

“Big Love” (HBO)

“Dexter” (Showtime)

“House” (Fox)

“Mad Men” (AMC)

“True Blood” (HBO)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series-Drama

Glenn Close, “Damages”

January Jones, “Mad Men”

Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife”

Anna Paquin, “True Blood”

Kyra Sedgwick, “The Closer”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series-Drama

Simon Baker, “The Mentalist”

Michael C. Hall, “Dexter”

Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”

Hugh Laurie, “House”

Bill Paxton, “Big Love”

Best Television Series-Comedy or Musical

“30 Rock” (NBC)

“Entourage” (HBO)

“Glee” (Fox)

“Modern Family” (ABC)

“The Office” (NBC)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series-Comedy
or Musical

Toni Collette, “United States of Tara”

Courtney Cox, “Cougar Town”

Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”

Tina Fey, “30 Rock”

Lea Michele, “Glee”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series-Comedy
or Musical

Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock”

Steve Carell, “The Office”

David Duchovny, “Californication”

Thomas Jane, “Hung”

Matthew Morrison, “Glee”

Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

“Georgia O’Keeffe” (Lifetime Television)

“Grey Gardens” (HBO)

“Into the Storm” (HBO)

“Little Dorrit” (PBS)

“Taking Chance” (HBO)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion
Picture Made for Television

Joan Allen, “Georgia O’Keeffe”

Drew Barrymore, “Grey Gardens”

Jessica Lange, “Grey Gardens”

Anna Paquin, “The Courageous Heart of Irena

Sigourney Weaver, “Prayers for Bobby”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion
Picture Made for Television

Kevin Bacon, “Taking Chance”

Kenneth Branagh, “Wallander: One Step Behind”

Chiwetel Ejiofor, “Endgame”

Brendan Gleeson, “Into the Storm”

Jeremy Irons, “Georgia O’Keeffe”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a
Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Jane Adams, “Hung”

Rose Byrne, “Damages”

Jane Lynch, “Glee”

Janet McTeer, “Into the Storm”

Chloe Sevigny, “Big Love”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a
Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Michael Emerson, “Lost”

Neil Patrick Harris, “How I Met Your Mother”

William Hurt, “Damages”

John Lithgow, “Dexter”

Jeremy Piven, “Entourage”

About Bryce Zabel 196 Articles
Drawing inspiration from career experiences as a CNN correspondent, TV Academy chairman, creator of five produced primetime network TV series, and fast-food frycook, Bryce is the Editor-in-Chief of "Movie Smackdown." While he freely admits to having written the screenplay for the reviewer-savaged "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation," he hopes the fact that he also won the Writers Guild award a couple of years ago will cause you to cut him some slack. That, plus the fact that he has a new StudioCanal produced feature film, “The Last Battle,” shooting this summer in Europe about the end of World War II. He's also a member of the Directors Guild, Screen Actors Guild, and a past enthusiast of the Merry Marvel Marching Society. His new what-if book series, “Breakpoint,” just won the prestigious Sidewise Award for Alternate History, and has so far tackled JFK not being assassinated and The Beatles staying together.
Contact: Website

2 Comments on The Golden Globes: The Elephant in the Room

  1. I didn’t get to watch the Golden Globes, since I am not in TV range whilst currently on holidays. But I am SOOOOO glad Toni Collette did Australia proud for her series United States Of Tara. Go Toni!!!
    Oh, and it’s good to see Dexter getting some recognition. Love that show!! Congrats to Messers Hall and Lithgow for their awards!

  2. I, too, was very disappointed by the lack of airtime Ricky Gervais got. He’s so funny–his comment after Kate Winslet’s win at last year’s Golden Globes was the funniest part of any awards show last season–but apart from maybe two or three minutes at the top of the show and introducing maybe three presenters, he didn’t do ANYTHING! Meanwhile, half of last year’s Oscars contained Hugh Jackman, and Kristin Chenoweth, in all her desperate glory, totally dominated this weekend’s Critics’ Choice Awards… even though it was only two hours, she made much more of an impression (and not a good one), simply because she had tons more time. Why don’t the people who plan these shows give more time to comedians like Ricky and Jon Stewart? Actors who take themselves too seriously make for a really un-fun ride for those of us not in the room.

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