A Few Thoughts on Golden Globes

I love the Golden Globes. While the Academy Awards certainly draw the most clout, they often feel over-bloated and pretentious. But when it comes to the Globes, with its round family-style seating and open bar full of free-flowing booze**, the celebrities on hand seem more relaxed and willing to have a good time. Even the order of the ceremonies seems abuzz with intoxication, am I right? You never know what’s coming next!

**Was it just me, or did Mr. Ben Affleck appear to have enjoyed the open bar a little too much last night? Watching him stumble on stage and slur his way through the Best Directors category, I half-expected him to rip his suit off and reveal a toga underneath. Get it together, Batman!

What I really appreciate about the Golden Globes is that they are the antithesis of the Emmys. While the latter is so entrenched in tradition (and seems to delight in rewarding the same show or performer year after year), the Globes love to honor the fresh meat. I mean, I love it and all, but is Brooklyn Nine-Nine the Best Comedy on television? Definitely not. But who even cares because you can’t help but get excited for the new guy! Good for you, Brooklyn Nine-Nine!

But this interest in “new and improved” stands in exact contrast to the show’s somewhat archaic categorization. Films are much more complex these days, often spanning diverse genres within a single running time, so attempting to classify them across definitive lines is problematic at best. Last night, American Hustle took home the trophy for Best Film – Musical or Comedy. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s a great film (and certainly one of the year’s best), but a comedy? I laughed a few times, but the film’s conceit about the atrophy of the American dream was hardly a laugh riot.***

***Though, all things being relative, it is a funnier film than, say, 12 Years a Slave, so there’s that, I suppose.

When it comes to television, the most frustratingly antiquated categories are Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress. For an awards ceremony that really distinguishes itself for drawing distinctions between Drama and Comedy (how Musical is lumped in there I’ll never know, but you know what they say about Les Mis: it’s a real pisser), I don’t understand the smorgasbord that makes up these groups of performers. So, while I find myself enjoying the Globes year after year, the outcome of these awards in particular continues to frustrate me, and this year proved no exception.

Best Supporting Actor

Won: Jon Voight, Ray Donavan

Should have won: Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad or Josh Charles, The Good Wife

Where to begin? First off, let me admit that I only made it through the first three episodes of Ray Donavan before I bailed. The show felt like that one kid in high school who put on a great show of swagger but cried that one time you flicked him behind the ear in the lunch line. For all its bravado and supposed grittiness, the whole thing felt so false. I didn’t buy it for a second, any of it.

And least of all did I buy Jon Voight’s turn as Ray’s estranged father. When he wasn’t cavorting around in his unmentionables or attempting an unintentionally hilarious Boston accent, I found Voight utterly repugnant. And I don’t mean the character; I mean the actor, the man. There’s no performance here, just unadulterated Jon Voight in all his creepy glory. No thanks.

Meanwhile, Aaron Paul’s Jesse Pinkman underwent an epic redemptive arc in Breaking Bad’s final season. And I’m not sure about you, but for me his meltdown in the car as he watched Todd remove his last thread of humanity (you know what I mean) will haunt me forever.  Award deserved there alone.

Josh Charles is also doing killer work on The Good Wife these days. His desk-clearing explosion at Alicia was one of my favorite scenes of 2013, and the subsequent feelings of betrayal and abandonment have deepened Will Gardner, enriched an already deep character. Charles continues to balance the hurt, anger, and frat-boy pettiness perfectly.

Both of these excellent actors more than deserved it.  But instead, Voight took home the gold, Hollywood’s version of the creepy, leering uncle that keeps showing up to family reunions even though you stopped sending the invite. Ugh.

Best Supporting Actress

Won: Jacqueline Bisset, Dancing on the Edge

Should have won: Monica Potter, Parenthood

I haven’t seen the miniseries for which Bisset received her nomination and win (has anybody?), so I can’t comment on her performance. Look, she’s been around for ages and has done great work for so long, I can’t slight the woman for winning the prize. But this feels like a token honor rather than a deserved one to me.

What exactly does Monica Potter, or—for that matter—Parenthood itself need to do to get some awards recognition? It’s one of the very best written, acted, and produced shows on television, delving into the complexities of growing up, growing apart, and growing together as a family. It’s about how family defines us and challenges us, how it supports us and tests us. It’s funny, touching, and beautiful. You’re also guaranteed at least one choke-up an episode, money back guarantee.

You’d think that, if nothing else, Potter’s Kristina Braverman battling cancer would attract the interest of voters. But alas, she headed home empty-handed. Perhaps it’s because she handled the plotline so meticulously, without a shred of the maudlin melodrama that typically defines such plot machinations. Her Kristina Braverman was tenacious, terrified, optimistic, defeated, elated, despondent. We felt every iota of emotion. This was a towering, triumphant performance that very easily could have been predictable and bland.  I dare you to watch the video she made for her family and not shed a tear.

My biggest fear? If this didn’t get her props, then nothing will.  And that’s a real shame.


Still, not everything was so bad. Amy Poehler won for her turn as Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation! Elizabeth Moss won for Top of the Lake! Brian Cranston got some more love for Mr. White, while Breaking Bad also took the trophy for Best Drama!

Plus, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey were adorable and hilarious and everything that is right about the Golden Globes. If keeping them around means wallowing in tradition, then so be it. Until next year!

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