I'm going to let my better judgment get the best of me. Don't act so surprised -- it happens from time-to-time. Last night, while watching a bunch of Tribeca submissions (and finally getting to a film that surprised the hell out of me, keeping me laughing for virtually its entire 90 minutes), I began writing this second collection of Golden Globes thoughts; one based on the awards themselves rather than the pitiful excuse for a show that attracted fewer viewers than the People's Choice Awards. But as I started furiously punching at the keyboard, I suddenly thought to myself ... Who cares? Oh, I mean, I know you already likely didn't care; but suddenly I didn't as well. I found myself agreeing completely with Eugene from indieWIRE: "Thank you, writers." Whatever good will hopefully come out of the WGA strike as well as whatever hardships have already been created for much of Hollywood, at least this one minor tiny positive thing was revealed clearer than ever: even as the HFPA has managed to long receive more press notice than any other "critics" group, no organization is less reputable in handing out such awards nor less worthy of such attention.
You don't even have to go so far as questioning who won what, but it's certainly easy to do so. Billy Bush, as I described yesterday in detail, couldn't have sounded more stupid, however he did say one thing that was dead one when he mentioned that the HFPA likes to "spread things around." They also like to try to show an independent or rebellious streak, but everything is planned so as not to alienate the big stars or major studios. And so, you see No Country For Old Men bringing the Coen brothers a Best Screenplay prize, but Atonement winning Best Picture - Drama and Julian Schnabel taking Best Director. That's not specifically a criticism of either film: I loved The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and I think it marked a giant leap forward for Schnabel; and I liked Atonement quite a bit, actually, but it is a serious Awards contender less thanks to standout cinematic excellence than to a less disturbing storyline.
Their credibility is shot by the simple fact that even their categories make absolutely no sense anymore. Splitting the Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress categories into Drama and Musical/Comedy is, at this point, so wrong for so many reasons. Why aren't the Director, Screenplay and especially Supporting Actor/Actress prizes split if the primary idea behind doing so is to judge relative quality on a more level playing field? Why are the Drama prizes considered more worthwhile? But more importantly, why are musicals automatically lumped in with comedies. This year, not one of the Musical/Comedy winners had anything to do with comedy. Sure, Sweeney Todd has some macabre, darkly comedic moments, but it is not in any way a comedy. Regardless of how great Marion Cotillard may be in La Vie en Rose (I have not seen the film, yet I've heard she's sensational), it is in no way a comedic performance. Why shouldn't her performance -- in a film that is arguably not even a musical -- or all of Sweeney Todd be in the Drama category? Tim Burton's movie is better than at least four of the overblown seven Drama nominees anyway.
But it's not actually about awarding excellence, for whatever that's worth anyway. It's about staying on the good side of every network and studio so that when the next year rolls around, the HFPA can make a shitload of money by allowing Dick Clark Productions and NBC to produce their little party, and by having its members courted all winter long with SWAG and junkets and free stuff. The Golden Globes are a racket; they're a producer of graft; and while celebrating Daniel Day-Lewis' win, Mad Men receiving the Best Drama TV series prize and other deserving winners should still be done, it would be better to bury the Globes than to honor them. While they once had a significant influence over who might receive Oscar nominations, thankfully, Academy balloting has for the last several years had their deadline before the Globes were announced, so a Globe win is no longer an automatic Oscar nomination. Thank goodness for small favors.