Can you feel it in the air? The world is alive with Golden Globes excitement! Yes, this Sunday’s star-filled live-television extravaganza is … oh, wait, no, sorry. I was lost in a fever-dream for a moment. Yeah, this weekend’s Golden Globe Awards are actually something of a paradox: the biggest non-event in recent Hollywood history. And these 2022 faux Globes portend a future in which the entire idea of film awards, and the massive industry infrastructure that is built around them, disappears entirely.
But first: If you were aware that the Golden Globes are still a thing, then you either, a) work for the Golden Globes, or b) are me. While a ceremony is indeed taking place at the Beverly Hilton ballroom Sunday evening, there are still no details as to how anyone outside the hotel will be able to follow the proceedings. Maybe a livestream? Through the Globes’ Twitter account? That’s most likely as regular broadcasting partner NBC has dropped out. There is no host. There will be no celebrity presenters. No nominees are scheduled to attend. There will be no media attending. It is the Schrodinger’s cat of awards shows: Who’s to say whether it is alive or dead?
This zombified edition of the Globes is owing to a confluence of factors, ranging from allegations of racism (a Los Angeles Times exposé from last year revealed there were no Black members within the Hollywood Foreign Press Association) to widespread animosity between the HFPA and the entertainment world’s public-relations gatekeepers, to the industry-knocking effects of the pandemic. Whatever the cause, it was decided that the Globes were either dead or in need of a significant reboot, and here we are, not having to care about who does or does not win the 79th Globe for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy (although my money is on Don’t Look Up). Instead, we can all just joke about Snoop Dogg, who was somehow persuaded to announce this year’s nominees a few weeks ago, and his unique pronunciation of the names “Ben Affleck” and “Denis Villeneuve.”
But did we ever have to care about the Globes? Yes and no. The much-mocked membership of the mysterious HFPA has always been a long-running gag, but when audiences watched the show – and at least 18.6 million people did in 2019 – it inarguably helped boost the profiles of the kind of smaller, non-blockbuster fare that makes the industry a worthwhile artistic enterprise.
We can make fun of how disposable, awful movies such as Bohemian Rhapsody won the Globe for Best Picture in 2018, but at the same time recognize the audience-awareness boost given to such recipients as Moonlight, 12 Years a Slave, Boyhood, Brokeback Mountain and The Social Network (that last instant-classic was infamously bypassed by the more vaunted Academy Awards in favour of … The King’s Speech).
The death of the Globes may be well-deserved, but its passing will only help accelerate the current and depressing trendline: less adult-oriented fare making its way to audiences, more mechanical franchises that don’t require awards-season word-of-mouth dominating the market.
The same basic thinking applies to the coming 94th Academy Awards, which already seem a lost cause after last year’s catastrophe. Will ratings possibly be lower this year? Will audiences – from pandemic-cautious adults who have stayed away from cinemas to younger audiences who don’t even think about the multiplex aside from Spider-Man – have even heard of the contending films? Do we just want a three-hour affair celebrating the box-office achievements of Marvel Studios? We’ll get answers closer to when the Oscars announce their nominees on Feb. 8, or as soon as this Monday morning, when we’ll see reaction, or non-reaction, to whatever does or does not happen at the Globes.
Right now, though, any movie that does not involve a superhero – or Vin Diesel, god bless him – deserves whatever minor spotlight it can get. Snoop Dogg, the fate of the movie industry is in your hands.
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