It’s no secret that I love awards shows like the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards. “Why?” you might ask (and you probably do as popular opinion states that such shows are shit). I love them for lots of reasons. It’s not because I put a lot of stock into the results (though I do think it’s interesting to see what particular groups of voters choose as the “best” each year). It’s because I love movies and I love celebrating them. And because they’re fun. I like the tradition and pageantry of awards shows, everything from the announcement of the host(s) and the nominees, to the endless predictions and pools, the dresses and tuxes, the red carpet, the opening monologues and the film clips, old and new. I’m a sucker for montages like the one cut together in honor of Denzel Washington (recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award), and emotional acceptance speeches like the ones delivered by Sylvester Stallone (Best Supporting Actor for Creed) and Leonardo DiCaprio (Best Actor for The Revenant). I love seeing lesser-known individuals win and witnessing their moment of glory. It’s fun to see who can present/accept with class/grace and who has too much to drink and succumbs to the pressure. Or who slips up and says something dumb (Tarantino). I like the cheerful winners and the salty losers. When there’s so much talent under the same roof, it’s interesting to see the dynamics at play. Who gets the biggest applause? Who’s chummin’ it up with who? Who’s a victim of their stylist?
So, what’s wrong with awards shows? People complain that they’re too long, but I’d argue that those folks simply aren’t awards show people, and that’s fine. With all the categories (25 at the Golden Globes), speeches, Lifetime Achievement awards, etc., they take awhile. They always do. That’s just the nature of awards shows. Some folks want the results without all the pageantry and are better off waiting until morning for the list of winners. The biggest problem with awards shows is that they shy away from being awards shows and cater too hard to try and appease the masses. They try and fit everything into a fixed amount of time, with no room to go over. On Sunday night, the lack of time and the pressure to pack everything in was apparent and put a damper on the event. The recipients of the night’s biggest prizes were given the least amount of time to speak, and revered filmmakers like Ridley Scott (accepting the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Comedy or Musical for The Martian) and Alejandro González Iñárritu (winner of Best Director and Best Motion Picture Drama for The Revenant) took the stage only to be played off. It’s a bad look for the Hollywood Foreign Press and NBC when Mr. Scott, in his moment of triumph, wants to honor his dead brother by saying a few words, but has to shout over the imprudent music. The commercialization of the event and the construct of network television (feels like half of the runtime was commercials) creates a stop-and-go structure that is counterproductive to the show. As the night proceeded, the crowd became less and less in tune with the proceedings, mingling during the long breaks and continuing to speak while presenters waited on stage, bemused.
Despite the time crunch, the 2016 Golden Globes had it’s moments. In order to have a successful awards show, you need a few things. First, you need a strong host (or two) with a fire monologue. Ricky Gervais is no Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, but he was in fine form on Sunday night in his fourth stint as Golden Globes host. I love Gervais’ television work, but I usually find his temperament at the Globes, while initially refreshing, to be a bit heavy-handed. I’ve always felt that if he could incorporate a touch of class or display some of the heart that he did in some of his shows, it would suit him well. Gervais goes the other way with it, scorching everything in his path and showing utter disdain. The barbs were extra sharp this time around and I think it was his best gig yet, though his hosting style isn’t my preferred brand.
The other things you need in order to have a great awards show are a slate of killer movies to honor and some kick ass presenters to honor them. 2015 was an amazing year for cinema and the Golden Globes honored a lot of worthy films and performances. Andy Samberg, Jim Carrey, Jennifer Lawrence, and Amy Schumer were some of the memorable presenters that helped bring the show to life. Check out my highs, mediums, and lows of the 2016 Golden Globes:
–The Revenant. It’s a somewhat divisive film, but I’m firmly in the “love it” camp and was thrilled to see DiCaprio, Iñárritu, and the film honored big.
-The aforementioned Denzel Washington montage was a short and powerful glimpse into a long and prosperous career featuring many of his iconic characters and performances. Loved it.
-Sylvester Stallone, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Denzel Washington received enthusiastic standing ovations and two of them (Stallone and DiCaprio) delivered heartfelt speeches.
-Andy Samberg presented the award for Best Actress in a TV Comedy or Musical and absolutely killed it. He was funny and classy and the crowd was enchanted by his fake summation of the evening: “It’s been another classic Globes. So many memorable moments. Tom Hanks barfed. Rob Lowe fell off the balcony right in the middle of Cosby’s surprise appearance and full confession. Patrick Stewart removed his bald cap and revealed he’s had a full head of hair for years. Blanchett and Winslet fought to the death over the proper spelling of ‘Kate’, that was nuts. And man, after that the guitar dude from Mad Max played a deeply unsolicited in memoriam.” Ladies and gentleman, our future host.
-Unexpected wins for Steve Jobs. Aaron Sorkin (Best Screenplay) and Kate Winslet (Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture) walked away with Globes and there was a brief moment when Jack and Rose (Leo and Kate) were reunited, much to the delight of social media.
-Well deserved wins for Inside Out (Best Animated Film), Ennio Morricone (Best Score- The Hateful Eight), Son of Saul (Best Foreign Film), and Brie Larson (Best Actress Motion Picture Drama- Room).
-Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Schumer brought the laughs while co-introducing Trainwreck and Joy.
-Jonah Hill dressed up as the bear from The Revenant and was silly in the right kind of way, not appropriate for the Oscars, but perfect at the Globes.
-Cookie Queen Taraji P. Henson. In another only-at-the-Globes moment, the winner of Best Actress in a Dramatic Television Series, exuberantly handed out cookies on the way to the stage proclaiming, “Cookies for everyone tonight! My treat!” Then she barked at someone for stepping on her dress and emphatically put the the music play-off people in their place, “I’ve waited 20 years for this, you gon’ wait!” Good for her.
-Jim Carrey presented the award for Best Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and though his comments were all about himself, they were hilarious and the crowd ate it up. “I’m two-time Golden Globe winner Jim Carrey. When I go to sleep at night, I’m not just a guy going to sleep. I’m two-time Golden Globe winner Jim Carrey going to get some well-needed shut-eye. When I dream, I don’t just dream any old dream, no sir. I dream about being three-time Golden Globe-winning actor Jim Carrey, because then I would be enough. It would finally be true, and I could stop this terrible search, for what I know ultimately won’t fulfill me.” Damn.
-Other fun moments were the cast of Spy introducing said movie, Rachel Bloom’s excited speech after winning Best Actress in a TV Series Comedy or Musical, and Aziz Ansari reading a “Losing to Jeffrey Tambor With Dignity” book when they showed the Best Actor in a Television Comedy Series nominees.
-Ricky Gervais. His monologue had me rolling and once the show got going, his presence wasn’t overbearing, but his sleazy, bearded, beer-guzzling, deprecating act is old hat, and the negativity, while funny, isn’t in the spirit of the event.
-Jamie Foxx presented Best Score and imitated Steve Harvey’s antics at the Miss Universe Pageant, mistakenly reading the winner as Straight Outta Compton. It was funny but it was low-hanging fruit and to the detriment of the actual winner (Ennio Morricone). Also, his daughter Corinne is beautiful, but she lacked grace as Miss Golden Globe, awkwardly showing winners where to exit the stage. (Yes, I’m relentless.)
-Ricky Gervais and Mel Gibson’s uncomfortable exchange added some excitement but felt weird and out of place.
-The time crunch. Prestigious winners were disrespectfully played off and it appeared that some late presenters’ intros were totally skipped in an effort to fit everything into the allotted time. Three-fourths of the way through the show it was like the time was running out in a game of Mario, and people awkwardly rushed through the proceedings while the producers tried to control them like cattle, equipped only with lame music.
-The censorship. Afraid of a fine from the FCC, NBC edited out several comments. The problem is, instead of just throwing a bleep over offending words, they took out entire sentences making it impossible to figure out what they were saying and creating long gaps of annoying silence.
-The egregious commercial breaks. Long, intrusive, and constant.
-Quentin Tarantino. He wants so badly to be down, but he just… isn’t. While accepting the Golden Globe for Best Score in place of Ennio Morricone he mentioned that Morricone is his favorite composer. “When I say favorite composer, I don’t mean movie composer–that ghetto,” Tarantino said. Oof. Django Unchained star, Jamie Foxx disapproved, simply saying “ghetto” with a disappointed look on his face. Tarantino also said the following: “Ennio Morricone has never won an award for any one individual movie that he has done. He has in Italy, but not in America.” He went on to essentially take credit for making that happen though Morricone had previously won 2 Golden Globes and multiple Grammy Awards. Double Oof. Come on, QT.
-Denzel Washington’s “speech” after winning the Cecil B. DeMille Award. He brought his family on stage and went blank. He had a speech in hand but he didn’t have his glasses. He asked his wife to read it but she didn’t have hers. Jamie Foxx came to the rescue and offered Denzel a pair of glasses, but Denzel refused them. The whole thing was odd. I couldn’t tell if he was drunk or if he was merely overwhelmed.
-Stallone’s otherwise stellar speech (also a “High”) failed to mention co-star Michael B. Jordan and Creed director Ryan Coogler. Apparently, the Italian Stallion ran back to the mic and showed them some love, but the broadcast had already cut to commercial.
-Jennifer Lawrence winning Best Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical for her performance in Joy. I love J.Law, but this was perhaps, the most undeserving win of the night.
–The Big Short. One of the year’s very best came up empty-handed and lost the Best Motion Picture Comedy or Musical Golden Globe to The Martian due to some questionable categorization.
The show had a lot of great moments, but it had plenty of issues too. As far as awards shows go though, it was pretty entertaining and a lot of excellent movies were nominated and awarded. I definitely enjoyed watching it. Oscar nominations are announced Thursday morning and the Academy Awards are Sunday, February 28th. Chris Rock is hosting. Can’t wait!
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