Golden Globes: A Recap of Whatever the Hell that was

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Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg hosted the 2019 Golden Globes –or whatever it was that I just watched.

Every year around this time I am faced with the same question. It is a question as mystifyingly obscure as it is omnipresent. Shimmering with a near-existential aurora, it mocks our most basic sensibilities about art and the neverending pursuit of validation and once again this year –despite the tens of minutes I spent searching on google– I am no closer towards reaching a state of mind that can answer these cold and unforgiving questions. That question:

What the fuck is the Hollywood Foreign Press Association?

Like the roar of a gun marking the start of the 100-meter dash, so too does the Golden Globes signal the beginning of the flurry of film award shows leading up to the Oscars in late February. And yet, with the voting bloc that makes up the Hollywood Foreign Press containing just 90 anonymous voters, it’s fair to wonder just how this event got so big. That’s not inherently a complaint by the way. Just like the Oscars or Emmys, I wait with bated breath every year to watch the (considerably faster paced) Golden Globes trot down the red carpet– a fountain of champagne and beautiful faces following in tow. But while they may not have the same unjustifiable prestige of the Golden Globes, it’s not like other award shows aren’t also a blast to watch. Nick Kroll and John Mulaney were a revelation for me last year as they hosted the Independent Film Awards and I find the Critics Choice Awards are always a joy.

If you had the (pleasure?) of watching the Globes last night you’ll understand why this timeless question rings even more pertinent this year around. Why it’s fair more than ever to wonder aloud just why the hell a handful of (apparently) foreign journalists living in southern California are in charge of one of the biggest televised award shows. Because there’s no other way to say it: last night was an at times excruciatingly painful train-wreck. The Golden Globes has always been known for their “off-kilter” choices and the free-flowing alcohol and lack of food served during the award ceremony have lead to some… energetic actions in years past. But last night, from the less talked about problems like terrible sound design and a never-ending excess of advertisements to the much more noticeable problems such as the atrocious job done by hosting duo Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg and some inexplicable winners, may just take the cake.

The struggles of the Oscars to pick an acceptable host have been well publicized in recent weeks, but last night was nothing but a neatly wrapped late Christmas present for the embattled show. The Golden Globes has found itself in hot water for its more “aggressive” hosts in the past (cough Ricky Gervais) and with the election of Trump, the famously left-wing Hollywood has had more than a few things to say when given a nationwide audience. So with a decline in ratings for the Globes and I think an unease in speaking-truth-to-power in fear that it may alienate the snowflakes of middle-America, there’s been a push to avoid more controversial hosts. I don’t know, maybe that sentiment is a little harsh on my part. These are, after all, entertainment award shows and many people see the movies as purely a form of escapism. Hate him or blindly follow him, it can be a drain to hear nothing but the echoes of “Trump” every waking second. But whatever your opinion, I think it’s easy to agree that last night’s hosting performance is not the right answer. It was borderline completely incompetent, and whatever lies in fate for the Oscars it’s gonna shine in comparison.

Building every joke off of the idea that Samberg and Oh were picked because they were nice, our hosts spent most of the opening monologue “burning” members of the audience with sick compliments. Whether it was a nice idea on paper or simply doomed from the start it’s hard to say, but the result was an unwatchable cringe-fest that had me scrambling for the door and my sister hiding her head underneath the table. The deliveries of the lines were poor, but the jokes themselves, which smelled underneath their rote emptiness as if they had been handled with greasy corporate hands, were far worse.

Samberg, as evident by his brilliant work from Brooklyn 99 to SNL to his previous hosting appearances, is fully qualified and capable of delivering a splendid job under the limelight. Tonight though, it was an unmitigated bomb.

Sandra Oh is a phenomenal actress (she won a Globe last night for her work on Killing Eve) and by all accounts a terrific and upbeat person. She is not, however, a comedian.

Almost none of the jokes landed, and while I get that the Globes were trying to leverage the similarly upbeat optimism in both Samberg and Oh, it was a complete and utter failure. That’s, of course, not to say absolutely nothing worked. Parodying the selfies and pizza parties put on by the Oscars to humanize the stars, a genuinely inspired bit had flu shots given out midway through the show and offered a timely dig at anti-vaxers. And while Oh may not have had the necessary comedic chops, when she ignored the garbage the teleprompter was forcing upon her and spoke from the heart there was a glimmer of a much better outing. For example, a heartfelt message delivered at the end of the opening monologue by Oh about the importance of the unprecedented diversity on screen this year was beautiful and tear-inducing, and Oh’s interactions with her parents watching in the audience were adorable.

Golden Globe Awards - Season 76
Sandra Oh may not have won at hosting, but she took home gold when all was said and done.

Despite a problem with audience volume and billions of ads serving as a buffer to the far too slight telecast, the rest of the show went much more smoothly. The Globes for a large portion of the show did what it does best, awarding some well-deserved victores (Alfonso Curran won two awards for Roma and Christian Bale put himself in front for the Oscar after winning Best Actor), shining light on some under-the-radar entries (The Netflix Original The Kominsky Method walked away with two awards including best comedy and Glenn Close won best actress for the unheard of The Wife), and reminiscing with a few well deserved lifetime achievement awards (Jeff Bridges won the Cecil B. DeMille award and Carol Burnett won the inaugural Carol Burnett award). And while the evening strongly lacked more and better material, as is the story every year–from an unfathomably Welsh Christian Bale (Vice) giving a fantastic award speech to some moving speeches from Mark Ronson (A Star is Born) and Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)–there were a number of fun highlights. I’ll attach the full list of winners below, and I believe every award speech should be up on NBC’s YouTube page.

The main attention, however, and quite deservedly so, will go to some of the more peculiar terrible picks. The increasingly controversial Green Book sparked backlash after taking home best screenplay, supporting actor (Mahershala Ali), and best comedy/musical. But while Green Book’s Globe’s leading three wins were surprising and some of the criticisms against the movie valid (I’ll have a full review up shortly) they were not either fully undeserved or out of left field against a movie with an A+ cinema score and wide critical praise. No, the real shock of the night would come for the last 2 awards given: best actor in a drama and best drama were both won Queen Biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. If you read my review of Bohemian Rhapsody you’ll be able to guess my reaction when the film secured a nomination for best drama. While I get that there are entertaining moments to the movie and it is not herein the worst film ever made, the positive reaction some fans have had for this movie is completely inexplicable. I understand Queen matters to people, and I understand why the blithe mediocrity onscreen when set to some of the greatest songs in recent history was palatable. But c’mon man.

 

C’mon.

 

It’s taking every ounce of my miniscule willpower not to open the flood-gates and unleash the swirl of obscenities in my head right now. I can only guess what Bradley Cooper, who was shockingly shut out for his work on A Star is Born, must be feeling. 

Because Bohemian Rhapsody was a mess. It criminally underserved its larger than life subjects. It was not a good film. And yet, of course, here we are.

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Sigh

When I called the question of “who the fuck is the Hollywood Foreign Press Association?” existential in nature I was only half-joking. 90 anonymous, random reporters choosing the best movies and tv of the year. I mean who cares? They’re nobody. Objectively, unarguably nobody. So why do I care what they say? Hell, why does anybody? I mean if you got a group of thousands of American stay-at-home-moms together you could get them to declare Fifty Shades Freed the best film of the year.  And as much as they may act otherwise, the Hollywood Foreign Press members aren’t inherently better suited to make that call. Hell they might even be worse, with studios spending obscene amounts of money to personal advertise their movies to the voters in “For Your Consideration Campaigns”. Votes aren’t earned by quality, they’re bought and sold: the currency used to acquire the massive advertisements that are nominations and wins at the Golden Globes.

 

So why does it matter that Bohemian Rhapsody won a few damned Golden Globes? Why does the Golden Globes matter at all?  It doesn’t and it doesn’t. And yet the glitz and glamour shimmering off of an even below-average Golden Globes is something I just can’t peel my eyes off of. I’ll never understand the Golden Globes. In truth, I don’t think there is anything to understand. But dammit if I won’t watch it again next year.

 

 

Best Motion Picture — Animated

  • Incredibles 2

  • Isle of Dogs

  • Mirai

  • Ralph Breaks the Internet

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Best Original Score — Motion Picture

  • Marco Beltrami, A Quiet Place

  • Alexandre Desplat, Isle of Dogs

  • Ludwig Göransson, Black Panther

  • Justin Hurwitz, FIRST MAN

  • Marc Shaiman, Mary Poppins Returns

Best Original Song — Motion Picture

  • “All the Stars,” Black Panther

  • “Girl in the Movies,” Dumplin’

  • “Requiem for a Private War,” A Private War

  • “Revelation,” Boy Erased

  • “Shallow,” A STAR IS BORN

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture

  • Amy Adams, Vice

  • Claire Foy, First Man

  • Regina King, IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK

  • Emma Stone, The Favourite

  • Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture

  • Mahershala Ali, GREEN BOOK

  • Timothée Chalamet, Beautiful Boy

  • Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman

  • Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

  • Sam Rockwell, Vice

Best Screenplay — Motion Picture

  • Alfonso Cuarón, Roma

  • Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara, The Favourite

  • Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk

  • Adam McKay, Vice

  • Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, GREEN BOOK

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy

  • Christian Bale, VICE

  • Lin Manuel Miranda, Mary Poppins Returns

  • Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

  • Robert Redford, The Old Man & the Gun

  • John C. Reilly, Stan & Ollie

Best Picture — Foreign Language

  • Capernaum

  • Girl

  • Never Look Away

  • Roma

  • Shoplifters

Best Director — Motion Picture

  • Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

  • Alfonso Cuarón, ROMA

  • Peter Farrelly, Green Book

  • Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman

  • Adam McKay, Vice

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy

  • Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns

  • Olivia Colman, THE FAVOURITE

  • Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade

  • Charlize Theron, Tully

  • Constance Wu, Crazy Rich Asians

Best Picture — Comedy or Musical

  • Crazy Rich Asians

  • The Favourite

  • Green Book

  • Mary Poppins Returns

  • Vice

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama

  • Glenn Close, THE WIFE

  • Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born

  • Nicole Kidman, Destroyer

  • Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

  • Rosamund Pike, A Private War

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama

  • Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

  • Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate

  • Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased

  • Rami Malek, BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

  • John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman

Best Picture — Drama

  • Black Panther

  • BlacKkKlansman

  • Bohemian Rhapsody

  • If Beale Street Could Talk

  • A Star Is Born

 

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