I got home last night around 9PM and turned on the Golden Globes Award show that had been going for about an hour.
It's always a little surreal for me to watch these things after having left L.A. (Santa Monica actually) for the East Coast almost ten years ago. Mostly because I was so involved in that business (especially as represented at the Globes where movies and TV are both "honored") for the almost two decades I lived out there, and so over those years there were always a lot of familiar faces from my personal life on stage and in the audience at these things.
The Globes ceremony has historically been the most spontaneous and fun, because it takes place as a dinner, where the participants and audience are basically one and the same, almost all tables being assigned to specific movie or TV projects and their producers, directors, writers, and casts. And because it has more "stars" than other awards shows due to its inclusion of TV and it's breaking the top live action film awards into two categories—dramatic and comedy/musical. And because drinks are available, there's usually more of a party atmosphere including the usual embarrassments.
But last night I hadn't been thinking at all about the show and didn't even know it was on until someone mentioned it earlier in the evening. And being away from Hollywood so long now, I assumed I wouldn't have that much connection to it. But once again I got to see people I've worked with, even lived with, and had other relationships with, as well as people who had ripped me off in one way or another or helped me out in one way or another over the years.
But before I realized that was still true, which surprised me (I expected to not know most of the people involved but that hasn't happened yet, maybe next year) it also hit me that this year especially, for me, this show seemed even more absurd than usual.
Not the fun of it or even the opportunity to reward some great artistic or even just commercial accomplishments. But the self-importance aspect of it. People crying or gasping for breath or becoming all serious over an award that only a few years ago everyone in "the business" saw as almost silly, knowing full well that they're given out by a handful of "foreign correspondents" that includes people who know no more about movies or TV and what goes into making individual projects work than your average first grader, people who in the past were easily swayed by gifts (bribes to some) and/or access to stars or the power behind them and/or spin and hype etc.
Yes, the Globes have become more important commercially, as the TV show itself has gained more viewers because of the combination of so many stars all in one place on one night interacting. And the choices have become more thoughtful, often predicting the Oscars and other awards. But still, with what's going on in the world right now, to get up on a stage in front of co-workers and competitors with a face that's too tight to do much emoting with, or looks decades younger than the person whose body it's attached to (I don't want to get too carried away about Hollywood faces, the last time mine was on screen anywhere for more than a few minutes, over a decade ago, I was into my fifties and playing forty and people now and then asked me if I'd had, or assumed I'd had, some kind of face lift, but it was just genes and a relatively calm life at the time), for these folks to take themselves and their projects so seriously seemed almost offensive. And I consider many of them still friends, even the ones I don't have much contact with anymore, I like most of them, a lot.
The good news is the winners almost all deserved it. That was nice to see (although Kate Winslet winning both actress categories seemed extreme, as much as I admire her work, I haven't seen all the women in that category but have heard some of the other performances were light years ahead of almost anything else, like Kristen Scott Thomas in I LOVED YOU SO LONG).
And there were a few acceptance speeches that were worth watching, at least for me. Colin Farrell for one. His seemingly improvised (though I'm sure at least outlined ahead of time, just in case) for his unexpected win for his role in IN BRUGES, revealed to me for the first time how smart and articulate he is (and seemingly newly humble). I thought his speech was in many ways the best of the night—the clearest, smartest, and most sincere. I have a whole new idea of who this guy is and will be paying much closer attention to what he does (and will certainly see IN BRUGES, which I still haven't).
But Mickey Rourke in THE WRESTLER beating out Sean Penn for MILK, as well as the other nominees (I'll list all the movie ones at the end of this post, as for TV the choices seemed okay too, like 30 ROCK and JOHN ADAMS etc.) seemed a little over the top. I actually appreciate what he did in that film, and the whole idea of oldtimers making unexpected comebacks, etc. but, it was nowhere near the best performance by an actor in a film in 2008 (I'll try to post my own reaction to THE WRESTLER tomorrow).
And as for glamour and beauty and all that, with a few exceptions (Selma Hayek, Penelope Cruz, Mary Louise Parker and Marisa Tomei among them) it also seemed surreal with, like I said, people in their sixties looking like they were stuffed or embalmed at thirty-five, etc. (all you had to do was compare them to the non-screen presences, like Scorcese and Speilberg who are now in their sixties and pretty much look like they are, though Scorcese more so since he's always been a bit of an old man and Speilberg has always been a bit of a boy).
Speaking of Speilberg, I thought the highlight of the night in many ways was the tribute to him where they showed a montage from a lot of the films he's made, followed by ones he's produced and early TV shows he directed. I was totally impressed (and they didn't even include any scenes from one of his earliest films that's always been a favorite, SUGARLAND EXPRESS).
And being the rapidly aging sap I am, I even had a few tears in the course of the show, which shows that I guess I was taking some of it pretty seriously myself.
But in the end, who will remember or care outside of the few who will benefit career-wise from last night's events? Next week's inaugural will outshine any awards show this season, and for a long time to come, at least for this old show biz veteran.
Slumdog Millionaire won over: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Frost/Nixon; The Reader; Revolutionary Road
Vicky Cristina Barcelona won over: Burn After Reading; Happy-Go-Lucky; In Bruges; Mamma Mia!
Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler won over: Leonardo DiCaprio in Revolutionary Road; Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon; Sean Penn in Milk; Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Kate Winslet in Revolutionary Road won over: Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married; Angelina Jolie in Changeling; Meryl Streep in Doubt; Kristin Scott Thomas in I’ve Loved You So Long
ACTOR—COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Colin Farrell in In Bruges won over: Javier Barden in Vicky Cristina Barcelona; James Franco in Pineapple Express; Brendan Gleeson in In Bruges; Dustin Hoffman in Last Chance Harvey
ACTRESS—COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Sally Hawkins in Happy-Go-Lucky won over: Rebecca Hall in Vicky Cristina Barcelona; Frances McDormand in Burn After Reading; Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia!; Emma Thompson in Last Chance Harvey
Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight won over: Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder; Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder; Ralph Fiennes in The Duchess; Philip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt
Kate Winslet in The Reader won over: Amy Adams in Doubt; Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona; Viola Davis in Doubt; Marisa Tomei in The Wrestler
Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire won over: Stephen Daldry—The Reader; David Fincher—The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Ron Howard—Frost/Nixon; Sam Mendes—Revolutionary Road
Simon Beaufoy—Slumdog Millionaire won over: David Hare—The Reader; Peter Morgan—Frost/Nixon; Eric Roth—The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; John Patrick Shanley—Doubt
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Waltz with Bashir (Israel) won over: The Baader Meinhof Complex (Germany); Everlasting Moments (Sweden); Gomorrah (Italy); I’ve Loved You So Long (France)
A.R. Rahman—Slumdog Millionaire won over: Alexandre Desplat—The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Clint Eastwood—Changeling; James Newton Howard—Defiance; Hans Zimmer—Frost/Nixon
"The Wrestler"—The Wrestler (Music & Lyrics by Bruce Springsteen) won over: "Down to Earth"—Wall-E" (Music by Peter Gabriel, Thomas Newman; Lyrics by Peter Gabriel); "Gran Torino"—Gran Torino (Music by Clint Eastwood, Jamie Cullum, Kyle Eastwood, Michael Stevens; Lyrics by Kyle Eastwood, Michael Stevens); "I Thought I Lost You—Bolt (Music & Lyrics by Miley Cyrus, Jeffrey Steele); "Once in a Lifetime"—Cadillac Records (Music & Lyrics by Beyoncé Knowles, Amanda Ghost, Scott McFarnon, Ian Dench, James Dring, Jody Street)