Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Night at the Globes

Tonight is the night when the final act of the award season begins, the night when the Golden Globes – the first precursor to the Academy Awards push – are handed out and the biggest movie contests of the year reach the last pitch of competitiveness. From this moment on, few people in the movie business will be able to breathe in comfort. Two days is all that separates these awards from the announcement of the Oscar nominations, for instance, and beyond this moment the industry also must contend with the onslaught of Guild awards, which effectively narrow the margin of primary contenders in Hollywood’s last dash for prestige. One may continue to wonder what a ceremony like the Globes can possibly offer in that context considering the Foreign Press’ distant association, but the specifics have never really been the point. If anything, the awards are the perfect benchmark for establishing the tone of the next two months, especially as the drama and hysteria of competitions range from friendly contests to the outright cynical campaigning we come to expect of some powerful studio heads.

For the Globes – and for all those who attend – the political undercurrent is much less prominent, essentially making it one of the more joyous and purest celebrations of Hollywood entertainment. Half of the contest tonight goes to television, and the other half to film; in between, hosting privileges once again fall to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, the same dynamic comedy duo whose brilliant chemistry effectively made the previous two ceremonies so enjoyable. Many a celebrity will undoubtedly be on the receiving end of sharp quips (as usual), and certainly they will also touch on the dreaded controversies that have bombarded the industry in the recent months as well. Do we expect no comments, for example, on the Sony hacking scandal, or the studio banning of “The Interview?” Think again.

For those of us who are still catching up on the contenders, here is the night that essentially helps influence some strategic moviegoeing experiences over the next several weeks. Of the ten films nominated for top honors tonight – five dramas and five musical/comedy endeavors – I have only thus far seen half of the chosen, and predict that I have not even seen the ones that will win top honors. How do I suspect that certain ones will walk away with the biggest awards? Not having a chance to see some films is not a hold back from knowing the trends of awards circles, and after knowing how the votes this year have gone thus far with press organizations and the like, I have a good gauge of how the night will play out.

Now is not the time to submit predictions, though; this night is all about observations. Over the course of the evening, I will be commenting on the ceremony in real-time through social networking, and this page will be updated every so often with that running commentary (just as I did last year, when I reported on the Globes for the very first time in my online blogging endeavors). Who will win? Who will say something audacious? Who will laugh? Will there be any flubs? No one knows, and that is exactly what makes tonight such a spontaneous (if innocent) excursion through the awards campaign.

Let the festivities begin.


[4:02] So why will I not be commenting on what anyone wears tonight? Ill leave that to others. I can't be that superficial.

[4:12] If you have an opportunity to ask celebrities questions on social media, why would you waste your time with "What do you on a day off?"

[4:34] I don't envy the stars on the red carpet, tonight or any night. What a boring slog through the cesspit of bland chit-chatter.

[4:36] Call me perverted, but I would, yes, pay to see Michael Keaton accept an award in his underwear.

[4:45] "Whiplash" was made in just 19 days? Impressive how brilliance can be captured in such a short frame of time.

[4:53] It's so ironic to see Steve Carrell nominated in a drama. But what a pleasant (and deserved) surprise nonetheless.

[5:16] Tina and Amy, that wasn't your greatest opening speech. But the Bill Cosby comment will have people talking for weeks.

[5:18] In a supporting actor category dominated by established names, here comes J.K. Simmons to upstage the party, and quite rightfully so. If you have not had a chance to see his work in "Whiplash," ensure you remedy that as soon as possible. He is brilliant. If this does not cement the odds for additional wins in the final stretch of this awards season, I will be amazed.

[5:29] Billy Bob's comment about always getting into trouble for having opinions is such a factual commentary of our times, isn't it?

[5:37] Already the most poignant moment of any ceremony of recent times, the moment when the HFPA president advocated standing for free speech in spite of what goes on in Korea or Paris and then being met with a room-wide standing ovation is cause to shed a tear of defiant optimism. We live in a dark world where it is easy to be silenced under the threat of widespread violence; to let ourselves be intimidated by that threat is to deny one of the primary functions of our freedom. All of the artists in this room awarded tonight, above all else, are doing so because they refused to be victims of that influence.

[5:50] Zimmer's score for "Interstellar" was infinitely superior to all others. Just sayin'.

[5:54] Having not seen "Selma" or heard the song "Glory," I am nonetheless awestruck by the accuracy of words regarding the acceptance speeches. Sometimes it is hard to fathom that we are still fighting these kinds of battles long thought to be corrected by the civil rights movement, but we do, and often with alarming frequency.

[6:18] 2 big surprises in a row: Amy Adams and "How to Train Your Dragon 2" win awards. But dont assume these are future predictors.

[6:23] I have not gotten around to reviewing "Boyhood" yet (my opinion isn't exactly all that different from the consensus anyway, which is as ironclad as they come), but I will say this for now: Patricia Arquette emerges as one of the most deadpan mothers in the history of moviemaking. To make a commitment like this is an extraordinary mark of loyalty to your craft; to maintain yourself and your sense of methodology in a performance that literally stretches the course of a decade is remarkable and admirable. Her win tonight is one of the big pleasant surprises of the evening so far.

[6:29] I would love to get a gander at the check they had to write in order to get Margaret Cho to do these very bad Korean jokes.

[6:32] "Birdman" wins screenplay, and the faith in good movie writing is effectively restored.

[6:37] Did I miss a news bulletin? Is Lily Tomlin ok? She seemed a little slurred tonight.

[7:15] "If you're in this room, you've caught the brass ring." George Clooney's speech tonight was as much a tribute to Hollywood's passionate family as it was a document of his own individual successes. It was as vulnerable as it was profound. Say whatever you will about his winning the coveted Cecile B. DeMille award, but his accomplishments both on the screen and off are enough to speak for themselves, and his aura as an everyday-man (as exemplified by his speech) continue to make him likable in the eyes of an industry that is ordinarily cruel to those who age. I just wish he would stop obsessing about his flops is all; everybody has them.

[7:22] Congrats to Linklater, the most dedicated filmmaker of his generation. "Boyhood" will endure as evidence of that.

[7:31] Michael Keaton earned this award. Sincerely. Bravo!

[7:47] Biggest upset of the night: "The Grand Budapest Hotel" bests "Birdman" as Best Picture Comedy. Pardon me while I cringe.

[7:55] Cate Blanchett couldn't be there tonight to present Best Actor, so they sent the understudy.

[8:04] You heard it here first. "Boyhood" will win the big Oscar.

[8:10] Final thought: while this year's ceremony was a rather tame endeavor (minus one or two harsh quips by the hosts in the early moment), it nonetheless set the tone which all of us hoped for: one of joyous memories rather than morose brooding. It was the year of ongoing social issues -- racism, sexism, ageism, death, political terrorism and the like -- and yet all of the acceptance speeches were able to take them into a context which celebrated the cause of entertainment as a conduit for informed human experiences. I was a bit surprised that there was no tribute to all those who passed in the prior year, but perhaps that was inevitable. Who would be at all in the space of celebration, after all, when one has to consider all the important voices who were lost this past year?

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