Monday, January 13, 2014

Golden Globes Post-Mortem

The 71st Golden Globes are in the books-- hopefully the hangovers have settled as the 2013 awards season has officially, in all its bombastic ridiculousness and woozy delight, left the train onwards the main event on March 2nd.  Long thought of as Oscar's slutty cousin, the Golden Globes continue to provide punchlines and quizzical sneers, but their stage can be prescient, absurd, momentarily insightful and rollicking as major stars sip the freely and generously served libations throughout the ceremony.  There's often a buzz that's emitted from the liquored up celebrities run about and casually-- yet so formally-- take the stage in the Beverly Hilton Grand Ballroom.

For the second year in a row, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosted the festivities and if their second act wasn't quite the revelatory lark that it was one a year ago, they still provided the very best things to be attributed to the overall presentation.  Coming out and welcoming us to the "Tina Fey and Amy Poehler Lee Daniels' The Butler Golden Globe Awards," they provided the snark and a gleeful energy to a proceedings.  Bubbly and charming, both hostesses still ensured snappy commentary on Hollywood and the foolishness that lies within it, yet because of their insider snap and charm, the jokes never veered into misanthropic Ricky Gervais mean-spiritedness.

Take for instance some of these zingers:

On George Clooney, or the most cutting barb of the evening, akin to last years James Cameron zing:
"Gravity is nominated for best film. It's the story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age."

On Meryl Streep, the worshiped (rightfully so) hogger of every Hollywood role for a woman over 60, marking her the exception (a magnificent one) but not the rule:
"(She's) so brilliant in August: Osage County, proving that there are still great roles in Hollywood for Meryl Streeps over 60."

On the awards run of original programming at Netflix
"Enjoy it while it lasts, Netflix. You're not going to be feeling so smug in a couple of years when SnapChat is up here accepting best drama."

Just imagine Gervais getting away with one-liners like that, or introducing The Wolf of Wall Street winner Leonardo DiCaprio with a female genitalia stinger.  Or ripping to shred the silly Hollywood Foreign Press and their dubious journalistic integrity.  Or making fun of their equally silly custom of proclaiming a Hollywood couple's spawn the Miss Golden Globe of the evening-- Poehler darned a Bieber-like wig and an adolescent pout for a gag as Fey's grown-up son whose mysterious father was in attendance.  Fey and Poehler were finer than the scads of bubbly stocked at the tables for the stars themselves.

Yet the show that surrounded them was a messy, overly streamlined one, one seemingly more interested in getting it done than trying to have a good time.  Nearly all the speeches were played with music (sometimes for the best, but even in the worst case of Best Supporting Actress in a TV Movie winner Jacqueline Bisset's bizarre incoherent whatsit could have made for enjoyably trashy TV left alone) which is always obnoxious and nearly always less than tactful.  At least they didn't implement the Jaws soundtrack like the Oscars did last year.  Also the arrangement itself was awkward, more so it seems than usual, as it took forever for winners to make their way to stage, forced to navigate the tricky labyrinth of the table map-- the television winners especially had a lot of trouble considering they seemed to be way out in China versus where the stage itself was.  More so, the pithy drunken banter was sidelined especially in the last hour of the event when it appeared everyone just wanted to hit the road to the nearest party which attributed to some very awkward television.
Not that the Golden Globes presentation has ever been graceful-- few awards show are, but this one felt less produced than even up to the basement standards of the past.  Which meant that those you weren't willing or engaged enough to improvise or coast on the surpluses of their mega-watt personalities were a bit of bore to watch.  Emma Thompson, who presented the Screenplay statue to a richly deserved and adorably bashful Spike Jonze, wins the prize for Best Presenter--  she was either soused to the point to not give a fuck or just the best ham in the world.  She walked on stage with her shoes off (the red on the bottom of her fancy Louboutins, she claimed was "her blood") and martini in toe and once it was time to read the winner, she tossed her shoes to back end of the stage.  Priceless.  While Wolf of Wall Street's cursing consultant Melissa McCarthy stumbled on a promising gag where an injury led her to believe she was "garbageman" Matt Damon which died on arrival.  There just simply wasn't anything as fresh or riotous like last years fumbling of the nominees by Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell or anything as bizarrely moving as Jodie Foster's sort-of coming out acceptance of the Cecil B. DeMille Award.  Most of the speeches themselves seemed a bit off-- a whiff of nervous energy seemed to permeate in the air that never bounced into the fuzzy, gin-soaked fun the Golden Globes pride themselves on.

Which made the more interesting aspect of the show the potential crystal ball the night held in store of Oscar predictions.  Jennifer Lawrence won the first award of the night-- Supporting Actress for American Hustle, and if this elicited rustlings from those not terribly crazy about the film or the perplexing thought that a 23-year-old may wind up winning two back-to-back Oscars, her speech reminded, yet again of her non-fussy, Everywoman allure-- "Please don't do it again," she plead to the HFPA.  She seems to say it all before any of the snarky online guys can beat her to it.  American Hustle was the big winner of the night, winning also Best Picture (Comedy) and a Best Actress prize for Amy Adams, but the evening was spread the wealth affair as the Golden Globes covered their bases on nearly all fronts to stay relevant.  The two other main Oscar frontrunners, 12 Years a Slave and Gravity both won one award apiece, but they were biggies-- Steve McQueen's slavery drama won the top Best Picture (Drama) prize and Gravity claimed a Directing statue for Alfonso CuarónPhew, in this competitive year for Oscar-izing, the Globes didn't forget a major player but also didn't really clear anything up.  And even that wasn't entirely interesting, especially since Best Actress (Drama) winner Cate Blanchett, who delivered the best speech of the evening, has been the anointed one since Blue Jasmine came out last July and duel Dallas Buyers Club winners Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto both seemed to be self-congratulating themselves for their "trans-formative" performances while accepting their statues.

But the show went on, and ended in nearly perfect timing of its three hour programming block.  Hopefully next year (Fey and Poehler are already set to return) everyone will either drink more or less and the show will feel a bit more alive.

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