Isabelle Huppert, nominated for her French film Elle and widely considered to be an also-ran up against Natalie Portman and Amy Adams, actually winning Best Actress-Drama? The Night Manager’s British stars Tom Hiddlestone and Hugh Laurie respectively beating People Vs. O.J.’s Courtney B. Vance and Sterling K. Brown in the TV acting-drama categories? The one genuine musical sweeping all of the musical-comedy categories? The most European-seeming TV series, The Crown, winning Best Drama?
Yep, it was the Golden Globes all right, the foreign-leaning awards show we watch more for the promise of a drunk celebrity doing something silly (and instantly .gif-able) than anything else. So, delight in seeing Emma Stone awkwardly trying to hug La La Land director Damien Chazelle at the same time as his girlfriend as he got up to accept an award, and then trying to cover for it like a football player hoping to avoid a Pass Interference penalty.
Get all judgey when the camera catches the only two conservatives in the room, Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn, looking rather displeased during Meryl Streep’s anti-Trump/anti-bullying speech. Laugh at Ryan Reynolds and Andrew Garfield jokingly kissing after the Deadpool star lost Best Actor-Comedy to Ryan Gosling. Mock Jimmy Fallon, the human equivalent of a bullhorn, and his consistent over-excited way of shouting the names of each presenter. Try to figure out what the heck Billy Bob Thornton was talking about with his likely made-up feud with Bob Odenkirk, and then ask your social media friends if any of them have actually watched Thornton’s Amazon series Goliath. Freak out that 26-year-old Aaron Taylor-Johnson already has four daughters (according to his acceptance speech in his Best Supporting Actor win for Nocturnal Animals). Read too much into the demeanor of the female presenter who had to hand Casey Affleck, he of the multiple settled sexual harassment lawsuits, his Golden Globe for Manchester by the Sea.
And then realize that none of it matters.
Or does it?
No, it doesn’t.
Sure. Yeah. I hear you. But does it?
Well, no, not in the grand scheme of the universe and averting World War III and steering the planet toward world peace. It’s just an awards show where a group of 90 American-based foreign writers, dubbed the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), hand out prizes to celebrities who quite often mock the validity of the award in their acceptance speech (as Viola Davis – Best Actress winner for Fences – did this year and Denzel Washington did last year when he was presented the Cecille B. DeMille Award). There is essentially zero overlap between the HFPA and the Academy meaning the people who vote for the Golden Globes have no say in the Oscars (or the various guild awards – Screen Actors, Directors, Writers, Producers). As such, every year the Golden Globes come around someone somewhere has to write an article like the one you’re currently reading or Vox’s “The Golden Globes don’t ‘predict’ the Oscars.”
However, the Golden Globes do matter, even if we think they shouldn’t. The telecast provides a platform for people like Meryl Street to make inspiring speeches. Wins or even just nominations for little-watched shows and movies like Atlanta, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Jane the Virgin, Elle and Moonlight can impact renewal/cancellation decisions and make it just a little easier for a director/actor/writer to get that next big gig. Netflix will now uses its Best Drama win for The Crown to entice even more new subscribers to its service just as Amazon has for the past 2 years with prior Best Comedy winners Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle. As a widely watched live event, it gives all of us movie nerds, celebrity worshippers and/or fashionistas something to chat about on social media. Plus, there’s this (from THR):
This year’s Globes mean as much as any on record. Because the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences pushed back its voting period this year, the Globes ceremony fell right in the middle of Oscar voting, and therefore it could directly influence the behavior of Academy members
If they weren’t already the Academy’s 7,000 voters are probably now reconsidering the merits of La La Land, which swept the Globes with a record 7 wins, as not just a Best Picture/Song/Score/Actress candidate but also Director/Screenplay/Actor. Moreover, maybe Isabelle Huppert and her unbelievably gracious speech for Elle just locked her in for an Oscar nomination, and the standing ovation love in the room for Moonlight’s surprising Best Picture-Drama win might engender good will toward what has to this point been the least-watched among the presumed 3 Best Picture Oscar front-runners (the other two being La La and Manchester).
That being said, this kind of thing has its limits. Aaron-Taylor Johnson, who was a surprise nominee for Nocturnal Animals in the first place and then definitely surprise winner, probably won’t even be nominated by the Academy, which would make him the 10th Golden Globe winner since 2000 to not be nominated in the equivalent Oscar category. And it’s doubtful Atlanta or its wunderkind star-writer-producer-director Donald Glover will see this much love when the next round of Emmy nominations come out.
But Nocturnal Animals is a very interesting movie very few people actually saw when it was in theaters. Atlanta‘s first season episodes were normally watched by less than a million people. As Moonlight‘s director Barry Jenkins said during his acceptance speech for the film’s Best Picture-Drama win, if you’ve seen these things please tell someone. Illegitimate or not, that’s the function of the Golden Globes now, i.e., spreading the word about the best of the year in film (e.g., very few other major awards bodies are going to nominate Sing Street) and the latest and greatest in TV. Plus, drunk/tipsy celebrities doing goofy things.
Full List of Winners at: GoldenGlobes.com