Monday, 14 January 2008

Golden Globes-Schmolden schlobes

Awards Season limply announced itself last night at the Golden Globes. Carmody Wilson asks-why bother?

If you were surprised or not surprised by the list of winners, there’s no denying that this year’s Golden Globes were noteworthy simply because they happened at all. Presented at a press conference in the wee hours of this morning, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, cowed by the promise of picketing action by the striking Writer’s Guild of America, presented their pared-down event to smiles and golf claps. And thus Awards Season is begun, not with a bang, but a whimper.

Was it worth all the fuss? Most professional prognosticators took one look at the list of stars bellied up to the ballot and made their predictions with a fairly even hand-Julie Christie was favoured to win Best Actress for her turn in Away From Her, and she did. Johnny Depp was thought to be the front-runner for his splashy cavorting in Sweeney Todd, and he was. Daniel Day-Lewis won the Best Actor-Drama award for his yet-unseen- by- UK-audiences performance in PT Anderson’s There Will Be Blood, and Cate Blanchett added a statue to her collection for her supporting performance as Jude in Todd Hayne’s rambling I’m Not There. Atonement picked up a Best Motion Picture-Drama award, and Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly won Best Foreign Film and Best Director. Hooray. Huzzah. Hmph.

The ceremony/press conference was broadcast live by NBC, one of the major players in the strike action with the WGA. Understandably the show had to go on. Pop will eat itself and Hollywood will reward itself. But why it had to go on the air to squirt out its anticlimax to the world is another thing. The Golden Globes, often thought to be the second most important awards event of this self-congratulatory season, is seen as a pre-cursor to the Academy Awards. Who wins at the Globes, depending on what you believe, will not win at the Oscars. The Golden Globes are like the glitziest of runner-up trophies in showbizness. And this event seems particularly dry because there were no stars to gawk at, no directors sucking in their guts with bobble-headed, jutting-chin-ed wives in tow. There were no stars, no directors, and –egads! – no dresses. So it seems that the only reason to air this dry rattling off of names for the masses was a full middle-finger to the WGA from NBC. Only that finger was arthritic, and flagged at half mast.

As for the fate of GG’s big brother, rumours are spreading faster than Paris Hilton’s legs. Some say they will go on as planned, picketing writers be damned, and still others say the writers will deal with ABC, the network which broadcasts the awards, only if certain concessions are met. Maybe they’ll learn from last night’s press conference and hold a Live Emailing Event whereby all contenders are at home in front of their computers waiting for “A message From The Academy” to appear in their inboxes. Or maybe a televised Envelope Opening Event will suffice. Whatever happens, it will be –yawn- televised.

But all of this bodes well for the BAFTAs. As Jonathan Ross mumbled during his pre-show interview with guests Chris Rock and Tom Hanks on Friday, it really was an indication that Parkinson had retired that those stars were there. And so they will flock be-frocked to Britain to be praised, paraded and pampered, in front of many television cameras and adoring fans, just as they should have been all along. With the nominees for BAFTA being announced on January 16th, it will be interesting to see how many Hollywood heavy-weights descend airily on the UK for the attention they were denied by those workman-like Golden Globes. Maybe there could be a televised press conference about it.

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