Monday, January 9, 2017

Those Goofy Golden Globes

By Steve Evans

Let's not Monday morning quarterback last night's Golden Globes, beyond the observation that the awards remain the biggest con job in Hollywood. Most everyone knows the Hollywood Foreign Press Association controls the outcome of this lesser event (Oscar is still the gold standard, naturally). Fewer may realize that the Globes are chosen on the votes of less-than-100 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press. They are hardly arbiters of taste or quality in the cinematic and television arts. Yes, but the Globes deliver something the Oscars do not: a looser atmosphere fueled by an open bar. Through the years I've seen celebs stoned as monkeys during this show. Liz Taylor was trashed at the 2001 awards. Jack Nicholson stuck his ass out at the audience three years later during his acceptance speech for About Schmidt.

This is all a jolly lark, of course, and makes for good television (you can still check out Liz and Jack on YouTube), but the idiosyncratic nature of  the HFPA makes the Globes a lousy bellweather for the Academy Awards.

Although La La Land took a record 7 Globes last night, Moonlight will win the Oscar for Best Picture on Feb. 26. This is a political reality as certain as Meryl Streep dissing some asshole who was elected president by a bunch of -- yep -- gullible assholes.

Trump is an easy, though deserving, target. Whether Moonlight deserves to win Best Picture next month is a separate issue from the fact that it's going to win -- because Hollywood will have to deal with the banshee screaming that will result if it doesn't.

Let me be clear: I absolutely agree that Hollywood can do a better job of inclusion by employing people of all creeds, races and persuasions both in front of and behind the camera. I reject the notion that entertainment awards should have a quota system so that X number of minorities or other underrepresented groups are sure to get an Oscar. If films and talent cannot win on merit, then let's abolish awards.

And yet a boorish buffoon has won the presidency in the absence of merit, talent, appeal or even basic human decency. Is it obscene to compare silly awards to the Democratic process? Perhaps not if we drill down to a common motivation between the HFPA and the president-elect. It is this:

The Hollywood Foreign Press, ever-slick as weasel shit, manages to avoid hot-button issues of racism, sexism and quota-based awards by maintaining a ludicrous number of award categories, though especially the top two. They gave Best Drama to Moonlight and Best Comedy or Musical to La La Land. Equal, safe and predictable. Everybody goes home happy after the Globes. By eschewing controversy while allowing celebrities an open mic to blabber drunkenly about whatever comes to mind, the people behind the Globes last night not only solidified their reputation for irrelevance but managed to underline it at least three times, all for the sake of ratings and their own unquenchable thirst for self-aggrandizement. What irks me today is how they reveal themselves to be similar to the scary clown soon to take the oath of office. Whether you're the purveyor of a hokey awards show or a billionaire con artist, it's all about money and attention. Always has been. Dare I say, always will be.

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