Despite my almost lifelong loathing of the Golden Globes and everything they stand for, I have to say… I’m deeply depressed at their cancellation. Yes, they’re spectacularly irrelevant in terms of honoring exceptional filmmaking, and, sure, they’ve a checkered past what with that whole Pia Zadora/Best New Star of the Year imbroglio*. But when you’ve lived in Hollywood for a few years, you realize that everyone – the talent, the studios and the journalists – is in on the joke; they’re fully aware that a Golden Globe win is virtually meaningless.
So why do they go? To get hammered on national television, of course!
That’s why the Golden Globes are so much more entertaining to watch than the Academy Awards: everyone’s drunk, and no one gives a shit if they win or lose. Actually, that last part is not entirely true. While no one save for the dramatically stupid sheds a tear over losing a Globe, the winners will generally celebrate as if they’ve taken down the Oscar a month early… for about twenty-four hours. Then they sober up, find an out-of-the-way spot for the award in their office and get back to campaigning. And there’s no shame in this because everyone loves to win shit in front of their peers and Jack Nicholson.
And with all due respect to those in recovery (keep doin’ it one day at a time like Schneider, y’all!), everyone loves getting blitzed. Especially in front of your peers and Jack Nicholson (who may or may not be pickled, which is part of the magic). And for one night, we can all sit back in front of the television set and feel like we’re draining way too many cocktails with the stars – all this while enjoying what is reliably one of the year’s most shoddily produced live broadcasts** (courtesy of Dick Clark Productions!). Frankly, I don’t know what I’m going to miss more: the unguarded moments caught as we unexpectedly cut out to the audience (attentive viewers had a window into the failing Witherspoon/Phillippe marriage months before their separation), or the "chug through dead air" edict that makes the Golden Globe drinking game such a harrowing experience.
Whatever NBC does with this one-hour awards-dispensing ceremony they’re airing in lieu of the three-hour pageant of pissed celebrities, the only person sure to be drunk at the end of it is NBC President Jeff Zucker, whose company is out an estimated $15 million to $20 million in ad revenue as a result of the cancellation. Meanwhile, the HFPA and Dick Clark Productions are losing millions of dollars in licensing fees (while hemorrhaging millions already blown on the rental of the Beverly Hills Hilton). If I were capable of feeling sorry for monolithic corporations and dubious agglomerations of so-called journalists, I’d still be kind of amused; while I appreciate the wretched excess that goes into this spectacle, watching it bleed out the other end (with nothing to show for it) is awfully gratifying.
But I am heartsick at the scuttling of all the Golden Globe parties, where the stars traditionally continue the Sunday debauchery into late Monday morning (before ending up back at the Chateau Marmont making out in the elevator with Benicio Del Toro). To think that Hollywood’s drunkest night of the year might turn into just another Sunday night for some of our finest actors, actresses, directors, producers and hangers-on is too much tragedy to bear. Making entertainment is hard goddamn business, jack! Someone’s got to pamper the glitterati! As gift suite organizer Mellissa Lerner compassionately observed in this Variety article, "There’s no reason not to gift the celebrities and trendsetters*** in L.A. due to the strike. They still worked hard on the movies or TV shows. Those movies were still made. Those shows are still on and running." By the way, while the WGA has drained the joy out of most awards season traditions, you’ll be pleased to know that gifting is in full swing. Ain’t no one payin’ for no Armani ’til March.
Veering back to semi-seriousness for a second, the fate of the Oscar broadcast is currently in question. But no one gets seriously crocked at the Oscars, so who cares if they postpone it until April? All the good stuff happens later, and they don’t televise that shit.
Oh, and I wonder how distraught Steven Spielberg is over having his Cecil B. DeMille award knocked into 2009. Not very, I suppose. Personally, I was looking forward to the clip reel, if only to see if they worked in 1941. And while I’m rambling, can we please get back the theatrical cut of that film, Mr. Spielberg? Digitally cleaned-up? ‘Cuz I hate recommending the film to friends, and then having to show them that leaden 146 minute "Director’s Cut". If there’s anything 1941 didn’t need, it was an extra forty minutes. Like an Academy Award-winning screenwriter once told me, you fucked up everything that was wonderful about that movie.
In any event, when we settle in this Sunday to find out who won a bunch of awards don’t matter in the first place, think about the Hollywood elite. Think about what would’ve been the "Atonement table", and how those poor souls – Joe Wright, Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, et al – missed out on the only evening to celebrate the above average-ness of their film. Think about the broadcast’s opening montage, and the of-the-moment pop song we won’t get to hear ineptly repurposed to herald the arrival of John Travolta. Think about Jack Nicholson, who probably wouldn’t have been there anyway because the HFPA somehow didn’t nominate The Bucket List for a fucking thing.
We’ve lost so much.
*It was alleged that Zadora’s multi-millionaire husband, Meshulam Riklis, "bought" the award by flying members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association out to Las Vegas for an opulent press junket. The scandal essentially forced the HFPA to discontinue award. And no one was ever flown to Las Vegas for an opulent press junket ever again.
**On the East Coast. We get ‘em taped on the West Coast.
***Thank god someone remembered the trendsetters!