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The Golden Globes: Do We Still Need Them?

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With the Golden Globes being held on Sunday I find myself wondering whether they even matter anymore. The awards season that is about to start is supposed to be honoring the best films of the past year ostensibly based on quality. Whether that is the case is debatable, but I must say other than being a big party where all of the lights of Hollywood both old, new and up and coming can shine, I don’t see the point of them. Even though, they have been pretty terrible in recent years, I still don’t share the same feeling for the Oscars or even the SAG awards. At least in the case of the Academy Awards they can get it right by praising a well acted, written and executed piece of work like Argo at the 2013 ceremony. But, with the Globes it is a completely different situation. When watching them in years past and seeing certain movies or performances being touted I often find myself wondering, “Why is this up for an award?” or worse yet, “Why did that movie win?!”

The first reason for my confusion is the very nature of how the nominations get presented and when the show is actually broadcast. In the middle of December, a slew of movies and actors get nominated that the general public have yet to see, but the insiders of the Hollywood Foreign Press have already determined are so good they need to be seen as high above everything else that came out during the year. I remember in 2005, seeing Brokeback Mountain being heaped in recognition when it had still not been released in theaters and being frustrated at that reality. Or even this year it has been concluded that Selma is one of the best pictures, but as far as I’m aware, a great many average movie- goers have not seen it. In the case of both movies, one was steeped in nearly universal praise (Although, I was not a huge fan of it at the time. I thought Capote was much better.) and the other definitely has some promise. However, it leaves me thinking why am I being told that a particular movie is outstanding before I have even seen it? The obvious answer is money. With all the information available today, we now know studios and production companies push certain movies for nominations in the hopes that all the attention they garner will make them a substantial profit and land a coveted Oscar nomination, which will result in even more of a windfall. I can’t comment on whether that is true of the movies this year, as I have barely had a chance to see any of them. However, therein lies my point how do I know that these films are as fantastic as their purported to be if I haven’t even had the opportunity to watch them?

The Golden Globes declining relevance also seems to rest in the fact that many of the nominees are quickly forgotten. How many people have seen and how well does anybody remember the 2013 nominee Rush? Was Inside Llweyn Davis a smash hit that I was not aware of? Similarly, I can barely recall Deep Blue, which earned Rachel Weisz a best actress nod and thought Nicole Kidman’s performance in The Paperboy was hardly one of her finest or memorable and yet she was up for a Globe. (I’m not even going to go into how wrong I thought it was that Ricky Gervais admonished for pointing this kind of thing out with the painfully bad The Tourist when he hosted in 2011.) When confronted with these obvious deficiencies, the necessity of this awards show seems harder and harder to find.

Now to be fair there are times when it gets things right. The groundbreaking film that was Gravity and the brilliant Captain Philips well deserved the title of being two of the best movies of 2013. Furthermore, the nominations of Tom Hanks who was extraordinary in the former and Sandra Bullock who was dazzling in the latter were completely merited, as was Cate Blanchette’s win for Blue Jasmine. Additionally, the Cecil B. De Mille award for lifetime achievement is hardly ever wrong. Last year’s honoree Woody Allen, is an American cinematic master, while this year’s winner George Clooney, has had a long career and in the past decade and a half, has done some of the most intelligent and interesting work in a long time. So, it’s not all bad.

Still despite these attributes its main function seems to have been totally lost. That main function being its ability to serve as a kickoff to a long awards season, a credit to the best movies and actors of the past year, and a predictor of who deserves to attend the Oscars. The Globes happen earlier and earlier each year and in order to compete and make more revenue, the other awards shows like the SAGs and Oscars are scheduled nearly right behind the Globes and choose many of the same winners. This kills the excitement of them by taking away any element of suspense or uniqueness, and shortens the awards season which is what makes seeing them fun. It is arguable that the best movies of the year are being showcased as the present nomination of Into The Wood can attest to. Finally, it hardly acts as a crystal ball for the Oscars anymore. Jessica Chastain won for her fantastic turn in Zero Dark Thirty, but lost an Academy Award and Tom Hanks wasn’t even nominated for Captain Philips. Thus, when these three formerly essential motivations behind seeing them are removed, why are we watching?

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In conclusion, I don’t mean to sound bitter or sanctimonious. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who can give me plenty of good reasons to see the Golden Globes in this and future years. Furthermore, for some it is a fun live gathering to observe from afar. (On, the other hand I’m left with the feeling of being the guy with his nose pressed up against the window, but that’s my own issue.) Nevertheless, since they appear to me to be getting more and more absurd with every year, I’m starting to wonder this: The Golden Globes, do we need them?

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