From John Corcoran-
The first thing I noticed when the Golden Globes began this year was the terrified look on the faces of the celebrity-strewn audience. I confess I did not watch the arrivals–I lost interest in who anyone was wearing years ago. Okay, actually I never cared.
This year I knew something was very different. Over the years the opening shots of the telecast have reflected the state of liquored-up revelry the stars are in. The Foreign Press feeds its celebs (and the Media, more on that later) and the Hollywood Elite, high-end hooch and champagne before, during and after the ceremonies.
Soon the reason for the uncharacteristically morose edginess became evident—the host Ricky Gervais was introduced to markedly reserved applause. Last year Gervais caught Hollywood by surprise. He was snarky, rude, insulting, upsetting—and to my mind—hilarious. Grow a pair, Hollywood–learn to laugh at yourselves. You’re only stars.
This year the crowd started relaxing only after they figured out Ricky had gone into the tank and had decided to pull his punches. He went easy on everyone. That was bad news for two reasons. Anticipation of more snark had made his audience look miserable and defensive; and Ricky wasn’t funny.
By the end of the three hours, almost everyone in the audience realized there was nothing to worry about and seemed more at ease, relaxed and half in the bag—even the night’s losers.
This year’s edition was a snoozefest as entertainment, and I doubt Gervais will be back next year. (Don’t bet against Jimmy Fallon.) However, the GG got a lot of the winners right in the movie categories. In my humble opinion.
You can start with the decision to honor the gifted Morgan Freeman with its Cecil B. DeMille honor—the show’s highlight. And it is no secret that the night’s best picture winners, “The Artist” and “The Descendants,” are favorites to duke it out for the Big Prize later this year. So far, so good.
Movie acting choices made sense, too. Jean Dujardin, wordlessly brilliant in “The Artist” and Michelle Williams, whisperingly sexy in “My Week with Marilyn,” won in the Globes bizarre “Comedy or musical” acting category. In drama, George Clooney gave the best performance of his career in “The Descendants” and who can argue with Meryl Streep doing an accent?
You can’t invite Steven Spielberg to your shindig and not give him something, so an animated honor (“The Adventures of Tintin”) made sure he didn’t go home cranky. I believe they got it right with Martin Scorsese as best director for “Hugo.” The staccato-voiced director thanked everyone he’s ever met in his acceptance speech–except the late Groucho Marx for loaning him the eyebrows.
If a songwriting award is necessary to drag the always publicity-shy Madonna to your event, well the HFPA figured that was a price they were willing to pay.
As for TV? Any show without “The Good Wife” at least nominated for best program can’t be taken too seriously, and I have no idea why most of he night’s TV winners won.
I covered the Golden Globes from 1984 to 1986 and from 1990 to 1997 as entertainment reporter at KABC-TV and later KCAL-TV. I can tell you from that experience, the Globes were by far the most media friendly broadcasts I’ve ever attended. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association—being media themselves—know you keep Media morale up the same way a general takes care of his troops. You make sure they’re well fed. The Globes were (and presumably still are) the only such event where media eat their backstage meals off real china with actual silverware set on table-clothed tables. (Relax sticklers, we don’t get goodie bags and we need sustenance over what can be a six-hour or more lockdown).
The Globes have gotten big time since the days when I used to cover them in person. How small were they then? One year they couldn’t fill their tables and dragooned some reporters (myself included) to sit inside with the stars. I was at a table with the late Robert Stack, Gary Busey, and Carl Reiner. I fully enjoyed my time inside the Velvet Rope with an Untouchable, an Unfathomable and a Comedy Immortal. But, if memory serves, my post show live shot was a little slurry.
–John Corcoran 1/16/12