Why The Golden Globes Are A Sad Joke

Something is rotten in the Hollywood Foreign Press. With today’s announcement of the nominations for the 2010 Golden Globes, it is evident that these awards are no longer about rewarding the “best” achievements in motion pictures for the year, but instead are merely trophies that can be sold off to the highest bidder. The notable lack of prestige in several categories, including only one potential Academy Award flick in the entire musical/comedy category, suggests that the Hollywood Foreign Press doesn’t even entertain the facade of choosing quality. Combine this with the notable lack of smaller films and the snubs of several of the most qualified potential television nominees, and you have a joke ceremony. The ten biggest guffaws I received from this list of nominees are detailed within.

10. The snubbing of 127 Hours for Best Picture and Danny Boyle for Best Director.

Unfortunately, this was somewhat expected while still being disgusting. The King’s Speech, The Social Network, and Inception are virtual locks, and The Fighter and Black Swan are both almost certainly destined to be nominees for Best Picture come Oscar season. This doesn’t change the fact that, while I haven’t yet seen The Fighter or The King’s Speech, 127 Hours is almost certainly better than The Social Network and is definitely better than both Inception and Black Swan. It hosts possibly the best acting performance to date this year in James Franco, which thankfully was nominated, but it took a nearly-impossible story to tell with a claustrophobic location and graphic violence inherent in the plot, and it managed to make it the most heart-warming, life-affirming film I’ve seen maybe in years. Danny Boyle absolutely deserved recognition here, over nearly everyone nominated, and this four-star film should be one of the contenders for Best Picture, so being a nominee should be a given. (Note: the HFPA does tend to only reward one film per studio per category, so Black Swan and 127 Hours were unlikely to BOTH get nominations, and Black Swan has more buzz right now. Still, it doesn’t make it right.)

9. Glee receiving five nominations, including Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Comedy.

Again, this shouldn’t have been a surprise– it won the Golden Globe last year. Yet somehow it is: Glee’s second half of its first season and its season has been wildly inferior to its first half, becoming repetitive and, less excusable still, poorly written. Matthew Morrison hasn’t had to do much “acting” on the show, so passing up someone like Ty Burrell of Modern Family for him is nothing short of outrageous. I have no problem, by the way, with the nominations for Lynch and Colfer. In terms of second seasons, another show which debuted last year, Community, has passed it in terms of wit, ingenuity, and heart. Its exclusion from this list is a head-scratcher.

8. The snubbing of Alexandre Desplat’s score for Roman Polanski’s film The Ghost Writer (and its complete shutout from the ceremony).

The Ghost Writer was one of the best films of the year, using several European actors and directed by a man living in Europe (not by choice… but the point still stands), and it didn’t even sniff any of these categories. Pierce Brosnan and Olivia Williams both should be getting more buzz than they currently are (Olivia Williams in particular), but the most egregious crime of all is the absence of the insanely creepy score by Desplat, one of my favorite scores in years. It sets the mood perfectly, while recalling the Herrmann scores done for Hitchcock films. I’m not certain I’ve heard a better score this year (though the scores for The Social Network and Inception are worthy competitors), and yet it’s left off for… Elfman’s flaccid attempt at being Elfmanesque for his Alice in Wonderland score?

7. The Walking Dead receiving a Best Drama nomination.

If you could receive a nomination for the first three episodes of a series, then without question The Walking Dead deserves to be on here. However, in a world in which Breaking Bad exists, there is no reason this show, with its poor logic and rapidly devolving writing, should be on this nomination list. Then again, what do I know? Pretty much every TV award nominating body failed to nominate The Wire every single season it was on the air, and yet it’s roundly viewed by critics and fans alike as perhaps the best TV show to ever grace the boob tube. So perhaps getting mad about snubs in the Best Drama Television category is like getting mad when you touch Pamela Anderson’s breasts and find out they’re fake. You knew they were fake when you saw them in the first place, why feel so betrayed when the fakeness is reconfirmed?

6. Michael Douglas receiving a best supporting actor nomination for Wall Street 2.

Nominate Andrew Garfield again for the criminally underrated Never Let Me Go. Nominate Pierce Brosnan for the aforementioned Ghost Writer. Nominate any number of the supporting actors from Shutter Island or The Town. Nominate Ewan MacGregor for his lovely turn in I Love You Phillip Morris. Hell, nominate Eli Wallach for his role in Wall Street 2. But please, and I know that sentimentality for Michael Douglas is big right now because of his battle with cancer, but please don’t nominate him for playing Gordon Gekko again, only to quite literally betray what the character stood for. Wall Street 2 was a boring waste of time with absolutely nothing to say on the subject of stocks and investment banking, yet this film gets a nod, saving Douglas’ chances at stealing a deserving nominee from his Oscar nomination?

5. Alice in Wonderland scoring three nominations, including Best Actor, Best Score, and Best Picture.

Alice in Wonderland was a boring ugly unimaginative snoozer, one of Tim Burton’s biggest missteps of his career. How this received any love, even in a supposed “weak year” for this category (see #1 for a full breakdown on why this is a total facade), is beyond me. The story is vastly inferior to the original, the 3D effects were nausea-inducing, and even though Johnny Depp was the best part about the film, he doesn’t really have to do much other than a computer-animation-assisted dance at the end that counts as one of the more absurd and laughable moments in 2010 cinema. They must have just recognized that it was a big hit and rewarded it as such. Also, the Hollywood Foreign Press simply loves Johnny Depp.

4. The Tourist scoring three nominations, including Best Actor, Actress, and Picture.

The Hollywood Foreign Press simply loves Johnny Depp. First of all, the label of this action flick as a comedy is questionable from the start, but never mind that, since I haven’t seen it. It received 20% on Rotten Tomatoes (the worst of all the nominated films), and most of the reviews blamed the lack of chemistry between the leads as the chief reason the film fails. My guess? This is the most obvious example of buying a vote. Convince the Hollywood Foreign Press this film is going to be a big hit, give them proper motivation through gifts or screenings or what have you, and sit back and laugh as your big-budget action flick with two big movie stars gets nominations for major categories despite the fact that it’s currently bombing at the box office in a serious and shocking way. The bottom line: there’s no way this film received its nominations solely based on merit. But again, these are the Golden Globes. You shouldn’t be shocked at this point.

3. The snubbing of SO many great comedic actor performances from the Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy category.

This category contains two undeserving Johnny Depp nominations. Here are some of the performances left off of that list, for reference’s sake: Riz Ahmed with a brave and oddly touching performance in Four Lions. John C. Reilly in the hysterically awkward Cyrus. Jim Carrey in one of his better roles to date in I Love You Phillip Morris (as a six-time nominee, I thought he might have been a lock in this category). Michael Cera in two of his best performances of his career in Youth in Revolt and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 2 (hey, if Johnny Depp can get a nod for The Tourist, why shouldn’t Iron Man 2 count?). Zach Galifianakis in his most heartfelt performance yet in It’s Kind Of A Funny Story. Aaron Johnson in Kick-Ass. Tom Cruise in Knight and Day. Will Ferrell in The Other Guys. Steve Carell who did well in the otherwise odious Dinner For Shmucks. There are so many possible nominations here, all of which would have been more deserved than Depp’s two nods.

2. Burlesque scoring three nominations, including for (?!?) Best Picture.

Many of the movies I named above should have made it into the Best Picture category as well. Since I hated The Kids Are All Right, really the only nomination I’m glad made it in was Red, a breezy fun action-comedy with some great supporting turns from John Malkovich and Helen Mirren. Still, there were so many good comedies that could have been rewarded this year. On the artsier side of this, both Four Lions and I Love You Phillip Morris were daring and tackled some hot-button issues face-on with heart and wit. On the more mainstream side, Cyrus and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World were both two of the funnier films of the year, taking subjects such as commitment, envy, and what we’ll do for the ones we love and spinning them in vastly different but equally inventive ways. Movies like Kick Ass, Hot Tub Time Machine, and The Other Guys are more edgy and irreverent with their humor, but they would have been more deserving nominees than all but Red in this category. The inclusion of Burlesque, a universally panned Christina Aguilera music video co-starring the corpse of Cher, is beyond laughable. It’s funnier than nearly all of the films in this category.

1. The snubbing of animated films in the Best Musical/Comedy category.

This error steps past being funny and treads into anger-inducing territory. Let’s say you hated EVERY one of the films I named in the previous category. Let’s say you honestly thought, out of mainstream live-action musical/comedy possibilities, The Tourist and Burlesque were top five options. This doesn’t undo the fact that there are at least three animated films, Toy Story 3, How to Train Your Dragon, and Tangled, that rank among the best of the year, with Toy Story 3 perhaps being the greatest movie released in 2010. I don’t CARE that there’s a separate category. I don’t CARE that there aren’t any live-action actors in these films. I don’t CARE that you don’t know the director’s names, and I don’t CARE that with How To Train Your Dragon and Tangled, you may not know any of the names of the actors who voiced the characters. What I care about is these three films were better than any of the five nominees, and it’s not even close. How does a thinking person put Burlesque, The Tourist, Alice in Wonderland, and the so-one-dimensional-it-could-be-a-cartoon The Kids Are All Right ahead of these three films? Answer: it couldn’t. Only a sad joke would prioritize those five movies ahead of the best films of the category solely because they’re animated and the five nominees likely greased their palms a little better.

In the end, don’t get mad. It’s the Golden Globes, and the title of this article should be Why The Golden Globes Continue To Be A Sad Joke. Save your anger for the Foreign Press when/if their work here influences Academy voters, so similar snubs potentially occur in a couple of month when the Oscar nominees come out. However, except for Slumdog Millionaire, I don’t think the Oscar winner has been a Golden Globe winner this decade. They tend to reward glamour and lobbyists over the deserving, and while the Academy makes their share of errors, they tend to get more right. If it does have some influence, then I’m afraid the sad joke will be on us.

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~ by russellhainline on December 14, 2010.

5 Responses to “Why The Golden Globes Are A Sad Joke”

  1. […] Just to hammer it one more time, Russell explains why the Golden Globes are a joke (The Password is Swordfish) […]

  2. I disagree with your comment about Douglas’ playing of Gordon Gekko. Make sure you know the difference between directing and acting first before you comment.

    • Since I’ve done both, I feel qualified. And while Douglas’ character being poorly written and directed isn’t his fault, the fact that his character feels like an afterthought in the film and then goes against everything he’s stood for since the first Wall Street at the end means his role in no way merits a nomination.

  3. Good post, I agree with a lot of that, especially when it comes to ‘Ghost writer’ score

    http://musicatthemovies.wordpress.com/2011/01/15/ghost-writer-2010-alexandre-desplat/

  4. Yeah… sad is the word for it.

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