The bar wasn’t very high for the 78th annual Golden Globe Awards and, clearly, that’s the way the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press like it.
In fact, co- hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler literally joked to us in TV promos leading up to Sunday’s ceremonies:
The stakes have never been lower!
Come on, you need this as much as we do.
By any definition these awards are now, have been, and always will be, the equivalent of three slices of sheet cake after an 18-hour nightmare day of zoom calls.
Certainly there’s nothing wrong with that. We all need our stress relievers. Be they desserts, drugs, one-night stands or a triple margarita dinner.
But in the halcyon non-pandemic, pre-insurrection days some or all of those would have followed a bad shift at work or seeing your ex at the movie theatre with a ridiculously hot new squeeze.
Not a year’s plus worth of semi-isolation, mask wearing (note: or defiance) and near encounters with armed government or citizen militia.
This automatically elevates each guilty pleasure we now choose. I mean, if you’re gonna devour three pieces of a tacky cake it better well g-d damned be sugary, chocolately and stick to your mouth buttery.
In the same way, if you willingly decide to spend three hours plus in front of your TV screen watching celebrities accept awards voted on by a bizarre group of 87 international entertainment journalists, none of whom are Black (Note: As we were continuously reminded of all during the show), well that show better darn well be as cheesy, hilarious and train wreck dramatic as an episode of anything you could watch anywhere else on TV during the past year.
Which is, well, quite A LOT.
Given that very high LOW BAR, this year’s Globes were a bit of a… letdown.
Oh sure, they weren’t entirely half-bad. Many deserving film and TV artists won and both Tina and Amy snuck in a few clever bon mots. (Note: They even enabled the perfect Maya Rudolph to cleverly wander onto the stage in full diva drag).
Not to mention, there were some lovely speeches from two legends: 98 year-old Norman Lear (Note: Laughter and family is the key to longevity, folks) and 83 year-old Jane Fonda (Note: Art historically leads our way so it must include diverse voices).
And the heartfelt words of Chadwick Boseman’s widow, Simone Ledward Boseman, tearfully accepting his posthumous best actor honor for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom:
He would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside of all of us that tells you, ‘You can,’ that tells you to keep going, that calls you back to what you are meant to be doing…”
Still, given all of our current circumstances their words were ultimately dwarfed by the smallness of these awards from this very dubious of organizations. Especially when it is compared to the largeness of the disorganization we are all experiencing daily in these strange end of times we’ve all been living through.
So as much as I was personally thrilled for Andra Day’s win as best actress for resurrecting the spirit of Billie Holiday in The United States Vs. Billie Holiday, or the great Aaron Sorkin being rewarded for yet another seemingly unadaptable story with his screenplay for The Trial of the Chicago Seven, I couldn’t help but wonder –
Why the hell am I watching three hours of celebrity zoom clips masquerading as a prime-time network TV special controlled by a group of people I and many of these recipients have little or no real respect for?
Is this exaggeration?
Well, maybe just a little bit. Amy and Tina were live on different coasts. Jane joined Amy live at the Beverly Hilton and presenters such as Chris Meloni (Note: Yes, SVU’s Stabler is back on NBC April 1st and No, that’s not April Fools) joined Tina live at NYC’s famed Rainbow Room.
In addition, a few real-life celeb couple presenters like Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon and Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, showed up non-socially distanced/actually touching in an effort to help us remember that human beings can still stand skin to skin in real time and in real life, live or even on a stage.
Still, these moments were few and far between. All other presenters went solo. And those others who were close and unmasked could only be viewed in their homes or in a hotel room via another dreaded Zoom shot. (Note: And by this time we all have learned to be suspect at the very sight of any person, place or thing that instantly pops up at us via a platform as fuzzy as that).
Is the Chair losing patience with all of this after more than year and taking it out on the Globes??? Or just lost it??
Of course he is!! And has!!
But when you’re promised sheet cake and still get nothing more than a continuation of the very enlarged computer screen you’ve come there to avoid, then what else can you expect???
The following is a list of this year’s Golden Globe Winners: