Dear Hollywood: Not so ‘Golden’

By Gus Bode

The Golden Globes were on Sunday, and for the five of you out there who care, here’s what went down: ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ took Best Picture in a surprise upset. Kate Winslet received two Globes, and we’re not talking about her chest. Heath Ledger got a Supporting Actor win, just a little shy of a year after his death.

And once again, the red carpet was laid out for an event that is without a doubt one of the most pointless in Hollywood.

The Golden Globes always take place in January in a somewhat informal ceremony that involves booze and celebrity worship. The ceremony is similar to the Academy Awards, which happen a month later, although the boozing at the Oscars comes after the ceremony. The Golden Globes are awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which is composed of roughly 90 journalists from around the world who vote on the best in film and TV.


This may seem like a fair number of voters, but consider the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). That group, which votes on the Oscars, includes roughly 6,000 voters – a far more substantial number. That means that if one of the 90 journalists decides not to vote or not to see a film, the voting is skewed. It’s happened before. Some critics said the 2005 ‘Best Picture’ Oscar for ‘Crash’ was the result of older, conservative AMPAS members being turned off by the concept of ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ making them unwilling to see it, which several prominent members admitted. So if there is bias in the committee that decides the Golden Globes, it’s going to leak through far more easily than in the Oscars.

The Golden Globes have largely been viewed as a prognosticator for the Oscar nominations that come toward the end of the month, but more and more, the individual critics circles around the country are the ones picking the nominees weeks earlier. The Producer’s Guild of America, which gives its nominations about three weeks before the Globes are awarded, have picked at least four of the five of the eventual Best Picture nominees every year for seven years running. The Los Angeles Film Critic’s awards are usually a good prediction of who will take home trophies.’ Looking at the total number of awards given to each film by the various critics, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ should be taking home ‘Best Picture’ at the Oscars, which it did at the Globes. This should be no surprise, as it has been awarded ‘Best Picture’ already by almost 50 other groups.

So ultimately, what is the point of having the Globes? It’s a bit unclear. Perusing the footage and pictures of last night, the general consensus seems to be that the dresses were pretty but the ceremony was long and boring. Kate Winslet gave two enormously bloated speeches, ‘Mad Men’ and ’30 Rock’ won the top TV prizes again (an interesting note that ‘Rock’ is aired on the same network that airs the Globes. Hmm…) and Tina Fey told her Internet critics to suck it, which was the night’s best moment. And Sacha Baron Cohen offended everybody by joking about Madonna.

Sure, it’s nice to see celebrities play dress-up, get together and award each other for being awesome, but how many of these televised ceremonies do we really need? It would be far more prudent to cut the Golden Globes entirely from the awards season and give the glory to the Independent Spirit Awards. They are held the day before the Oscars, involve plenty of booze and are aired uncut on IFC, which means f-bombs and laughter abound. It is certainly far more entertaining than another Sunday night slog through Golden Globe boredom.

Wes Lawson can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 275