Friday, December 14, 2007


When I was younger, The Golden Globes were thought of as a joke, the bad taste of a relative handful of “foreign movie journalists” (often from almost no circulation papers in nations you’d have trouble finding on a map) who were wined and dined by studio public relations agents and voted according to the amount of access their vote would get them to the inner world of Hollywood.

In more recent times, the TV show of the awards ceremony has made the Golden Globes more famous and popular. For one thing it’s better TV, since the stars sit at tables where they’re eating and drinking, as they used to do in the early years of the Oscars, looking more like regular folks having a good time, though more famous.

By the time the stars get up to present or receive a Golden Globe award, some of them are a little tipsy and more apt to say, or do, something unexpected. And they’re not just movie stars, since the awards are also given out for TV. And more movie stars are honored and therefore attend, because awards for movies are broken into two categories—drama for one and comedy and/or musical the other.

As the Golden Globes grew in star power and the resulting prestige, they began to be taken more seriously by the “Foreign Press Association” members themselves, and began to have an impact on, and become a pretty accurate forecast of the Oscars, which are presented at a much more scripted and controlled televised award ceremony many weeks later.

When I was younger the problem with the Oscars wasn’t so much the control factor, since there certainly were many famous unscripted moments—like the streaker who ran naked across the stage one year—but the winners were almost always easily predictable, usually an actor who should have won for something much better earlier in their career, or a movie that was such a blockbuster and perfect example of the Hollywood machine, it couldn’t be ignored.

In recent years, basically since the Weinstein brothers started Miramax and figured out how to get the attention of the younger members of the academy—meaning “baby boomers” before they become the senior citizens that the Academy is full of—smaller, “independent” films have been the big winners.

But last year was different, with THE DEPARTED going back to the tradition of rewarding a director for work way below the standards of his earlier masterpieces, in this case Scorcese. But “best picture” of last year, not by my standards, or those of many I know, young and old, in the film business.

Now, with The Golden Globe and TIME magazine and other critic’s naming films like NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN as one of the years’ best, I’m afraid there will be sentiment for the Coen brothers to finally win an Oscar for their earlier masterpieces that didn’t get the honors they deserved.

At any rate, the season of ten-best lists and award nominees being announced is upon us. I’ve got a bunch of movies still to see before I give mine. But it’s already bugging me to see NO COUNTRY getting so much attention, when INTO THE WILD, Sean Penn’s masterpiece to date, isn’t, for example, and you just know that several years down the line Penn’ll do some bad imitation gangster flick or some other genre with a lot of blood and guts and murder, and get the accolades he should be getting this year for INTO THE WILD. And that’s just one example. Stay tuned.

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