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Hollwood Surprises No One at Most Self-Congratulatory Award Show of Year: Golden Globes Review



Golden Globes 2017: Review


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The Golden Globes are the most pointless award show all season. They are not given by critics or people working in the industry, but rather the HFPA, a group of 89 foreign journalists who are notoriously susceptible to bribes. They nominate sometimes awful films and performances in hopes big stars will show up to their party. It is necessary when selecting a host to find someone who wouldn't feed into the HFPA's already inflated sense of self-importance. Why Amy Poehler and Tina Fey were the ideal hosts for this show is because their jokes, while very funny, were also pointed attacks at the HFPA, the individual stars in attendance, and the celebrity complex as a whole. Ricky Gervais had the same basic idea, except less mean and thus less funny. I was nervous when in August when they announced Jimmy Fallon, the talk show host with a reputation for being nice, as the host of this year's Globes. Turns out I was right to be nervous that Fallon wouldn't bring the needed meanness of Fey, Poehler, or even Gervais. His opening monologue wasn't at all mean, and worse, wasn't really funny either. But Fallon isn't entirely to blame for the off tone of the evening, several of the recipients also decided to pat the industry on the back, but we'll get to them.


Despite the superfluous existence of the award, the Golden Globes are usually among the best actual shows of awards season because the ceremony is quick and relatively painless. There's no In Memoriam tribute, there are none really technical categories that nobody cares about. Before 2009, the Golden Globes never even had a host. This year in particular it held like the Globes were trying to match the grandeur of the Oscars by unnecessarily prolonging the ceremony. There was an opening taped sketch that payed tribute to La La Land, which would go on to break the record for most awarded film at the Globes ever. It was well done, but, again, seemed pointless. I'm sure most of the people watching hadn't even seen La La Land yet. Also extending the evening were the Best Picture nominees being introduced by an actor in the movie before a trailer plays. It's an annoying trend that has now befallen every major award show.

There were a couple of big shocks in terms of winners (Aaron Taylor Johnson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Isabelle Huppert), but mostly things went as expected. Tom Hiddleston's attempt to highlight a serious issue in Sudan during his acceptance speech backfired and came across as congratulating Hollywood, specifically his own show. Then came time for Meryl Streep's headline-making speech after she was awarded the "prestigious" Cecil B. DeMille award. Streep, undeniably one of the greatest screen actresses alive today, chose to politicize her speech. Although she never said the words "Donald Trump", she made several jabs at the President elect, as did a couple others throughout the night. I absolutely agree with the content of her speech: support the arts, protect journalists, and don't mock disabled people. However, I must take issue with the context of her speech. A rich person telling a room full of rich people to be nice to less privileged people. It was self-congratulatory, patting Hollywood on the back for having the "responsibility of empathy". If it did anything, it furthered the political gap in this country. 

Image result for emma stone golden globe winAs far as acceptance speeches I did enjoy, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling both did a nice job. Looking forward to the Oscars, La La Land probably got the biggest boost. I would say it's now the frontrunner to win Best Picture. It's closest competitors, Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea, both took a hit, winning only one prize each. But the HFPA and the Academy don't always align with their picks, like last years when the HFPA chose The Revenant instead of eventual Oscar champ Spotlight. Emma Stone's biggest competition, Natalie Portman, surprisingly lost in her category (to Huppert) and thus lost the chance to make a highly publicized speech, a boon for Ms. Stone.

I don't mean to be too harsh, it wasn't an unenjoyable night of television. Probably the biggest laugh came from Kristen Wiig and Steve Carrell's hilarious introduction of the Best Animated Film category. I usually like Fallon, I think his Tonight Show is the perfect iteration of a late night talk show in the 21st century, but the Golden Globes was not the right fit for him. 

What did you think of this year's Golden Globes? Did you agree with winners? What did you make of Meryl's speech? Let me know in the comments below!

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