Oh, the Golden Globe Awards. Bastard stepchild of the Hollywood awards community, offshoot of some bizarre organization that no one seems to know all that much about (the Hollywood Foreign Press Association?) -- and yet, it’s No. 2 on everyone’s list of awards. It’s nowhere near as prestigious as winning an Oscar or an Emmy (after all, Pia Zadora has one), and everyone forgets who the winners are the following year. But for at least one night a year they matter, if only to serve as a reminder to Academy voters as to who they should vote for. Oddly enough, though, in a lot of ways the Globes are the superior show, one that’s much more fun and loose and doesn’t take itself so damn seriously. So, in honor of this Sunday’s telecast, we present these five reasons the Golden Globes trump the Oscars:
It’s a Party
As anyone who watches the Globes can observe, they are not held at some massive L.A. performing arts center, but rather at the Beverly Hills Hotel, which only seats a couple hundred people. The room is lined with giant dinner tables and a constant supply of champagne, so if it looks like everyone in the room is having a good time, that’s probably because they are. The Globes are a much more exclusive event than the Oscars, so when you look around that room, you’re seeing the top Hollywood stars of the moment, all of them cutting loose, hanging back and generally enjoying themselves. It’s a bit more like an industry party that just happens to be an awards show, instead of the biggest, most important night of the year for the movie and TV industries.
TV Folks Get Invited Too!
One of the things that has long set the Globes apart from any of the other big awards shows is that it’s not exclusive to movies; the Hollywood Foreign Press Association also hands out awards for television shows, so you’re seeing Meryl Streep on stage one minute and Jon Hamm up there the next. Since the Globes air during midseason, they are also the first to single out the best new shows and talents of the year (Glee is nominated for Best Comedy, for example), and usually well before the Emmys ever get around to it. They chose The X-Files as Best Drama while still in its second season, an honor it never won at the Emmys.
There's Room for Comedy
This year’s expanded Best Picture category at the Oscars is intended to help include more populist films that would otherwise be passed over, but the Globes have been doing this for years by having two Best Picture categories -- one for Drama and one for Comedy/Musical. Granted, this has also made for numerous unworthy nominees (especially in lean years), but more often than not it does serve as a reminder to the awards community that, yeah, comedies do tend to get the short end of the stick from the Oscars. Jim Carrey has received numerous Globe nominations in this category but zero Oscar noms, while such quality comedies like (500) Days of Summer and The Hangover, which probably won’t get much love from the Oscars this year, have been nominated for Globes.
Sometimes the Globes Get It While the Oscars Don’t
In 1995, Toy Story was nominated by the Globes for Best Picture (Comedy/Musical), and four years later Toy Story 2 actually won the award. Meanwhile, both of these now classic films were passed up for major Oscars, and you’ve got to wonder why this was. The Globes have a long tradition of honoring those that might otherwise get passed over, or even making choices that, while unusual at the time, end up making sense years later. Case in point: Steven Spielberg’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence was deemed a disappointment by many back in 2001, but he was still nominated as Best Director by the Globes that year; now it’s shown up on numerous lists of the Best Films of the Decade and is regarded by some as one of the greatest science fiction films of all time. Was Spielberg Oscar-nominated that year? Of course not.
Last but Not Least … Ricky Gervais!
In early 2004, Ricky Gervais was known in the U.S. only to a small (but loyal) audience who saw his series The Office on BBC America. Then he won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy and gave an acceptance speech that brought the house down and made him the one of hottest names in comedy overnight. Now he’s returning to host the Globes (the ceremony's first host in 15 years), and everyone can’t wait to see what he says. Gervais is the ideal choice to host because he’s going to be a perfect antidote to standard awards-show hokum, and he will no doubt deliver a biting monologue that will make the industry audience very nervous and the rest of us in stitches. Can’t wait.