It was all the talk on talk radio the morning after: “The Lefty Globes.” One talk show host was summing it up: gay cowboys, pot moms, transsexuals and women presidents. Is Hollywood trying to get the message out by rewarding this kind of edgy work? Or is it marginalizing itself against mainstream America? Either way, the Golden Globes telecast is still more entertaining than the Oscars. It is looser, more evenly paced and the reason to watch is still the good, the bad and the ugly of acceptance speeches.
Unlike the Oscars, the Globes honor television along with film, a line that is getting more and more blurry by the year. Felicity Huffman, for instance, was easily placed in two categories – lead actress for film, lead actress for TV. Jonathan Rhys-Meyers won for Elvis but was also there representing the film Match Point. Steve Carrell won for “The Office” but probably won because everyone loved The 40 Year Old Virgin. The onetime TV stigma is gone, work is work, awards are awards. Everybody wins.
Despite the political themes of the nominated films, the moment on stage is what counts at the Golden Globes. Nowadays there is a virtual competition as to who can give the funniest speech or make the funniest quip. It is important to be gracious and thank everyone else, to never take any credit whatsoever for the job done – but no one particularly likes hearing that unless it’s entertaining. So there is added pressure on the winners to “be funny” that isn’t there on other awards shows.
There were three key standouts for that prize – Hugh Laurie, who won for “House” and picked names to thank at random, Geena Davis who demonstrated perfect comic timing by claiming a young girl had tapped her on the shoulder and said, “Because of you, I want to be president.” Davis waited until the audience had responded and then said, “Well that didn’t really happen. But it could have. And all of this would have been worth it.” She brought the house down. And if more winners were as prepared and poised as Davis, the telecast itself would have been worth it and would have almost made up for E! and its always unbearable red carpet coverage.
Steve Carrell’s speech was one of the best ever. He pretended his wife had written it and he did the whole thing as if she were speaking to him through his speech (“I want to also thank my lovely wife Nancy who wishes I would call if I was going to be home late,” paraphrasing).
Most of the winners, however, gave the usual mumbo jumbo, with the only really sincere “message” speech by Felicity Huffman, who talked about dedicating her award to people who live life on the margins and how great it would be when/if they could finally be themselves.
Usually we tolerate TV to get to film. This year more than others in recent memory, television was the reason to watch. Perhaps that’s because the film lineup for awards this year is interesting, challenging, brave but not all that compelling for a general audience. “Desperate Housewives,” “Lost,” “The Office,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” – all favorite shows of the viewing public. Is it any wonder ratings were up this year?
Let’s face it, this wasn’t the best year for mainstream film, but t was a great year for television. While film was lucky to even find five nominees for lead actress, television was chalk full of great female roles, top to bottom, old and young, on network or on cable, white or black or Asian – there is room for all on TV.
This year, the hit shows were honored and the more obscure shows ignored. There weren’t a lot of surprises in either film or TV – it was all very predictable. But the Globes showed how much of a crossover there is now between mediums, more than ever.
As to it being the “Lefty Globes,” well, the political climate has squeezed Hollywood out and they’re responding to it by writing bolder, more confrontational work. The ever-widening gap between right and left is dividing art and commerce, too. People are taking sides. If you’re conservative, you’ll never work in this town again. And just because the so-called liberals are winning awards doesn’t mean “make love, not war” is spreading to the flyover states. Less politically controversial network TV thrives like never before.
GOLDEN GLOBE WINNERS
Best Supporting Actor (Motion Picture) – George Clooney (Syriana)
Best Supporting Actress (Motion Picture) – Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener)
Best Supporting Actor in TV Movie/Miniseries – Paul Newman (Empire Falls)
Best Supporting Actress in TV Drama – Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy)
Best Actress in TV Drama – Geena Davis (Commander in Chief)
Best Actor in TV Drama – Hugh Laurie (House)
Best Miniseries of Motion Picture made for TV – Empire Falls
Best Actor in a TV Comedy – Steve Carell (The Office)
Best Actress TV Comedy – Mary Louise Parker (Weeds)
Best Actor TV Miniseries or TV Movie – Jonathon Rhys Meyers (Elvis)
Best Actress TV Miniseries or TV Movie – S. Epatha Merkerson (Lackawanna Blues)
Best Writing – Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana (Brokeback Mountain)
Best TV Comedy – Desperate Housewives
Best TV Drama – Lost
Best Foreign Language Film – Paradise Now (Palestine)
Best Original Score – John Williams (Memoirs of a Geisha)
Best Original Song – A Love That Will Never Grow Old (Brokeback Mountain)
Best Director – Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain)
Best Actor Musical or Comedy – Joaquin Phoenix (Walk the Line)
Best Actress Musical or Comedy – Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line)
Best Musical or Comedy – Walk the Line
Best Actress Drama – Felicity Huffman (Transamerica)
Best Actor Drama – Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Capote)
Notable TV This Week
Thursday, January 19
The War That Made America, 9 p.m., KCET.
Lost, all-new, 9 p.m., ABC.
My Neighbor Totoro (****), 10:15 p.m., TCM.
Without a Trace, 10 p.m., CBS.
Friday, January 20
Fargo (****), 8 p.m., IFC.
Secretary (****), 8 p.m., Oxygen.
Erin Brockovich (***), 9 p.m., TBS.
Chicago (***), 10 p.m., Bravo.
Saturday, January 21
Solaris (*), a horrible experiment, 7:30 p.m., IFC.
Austin Powers International Man of Mystery (***), 9 p.m., VH1.
The Singing Detective (***), 9:30 p.m., Sundance.
Y Tu Mama Tambien (****), 9:45 p.m., IFC.
Sunday, January 22
Seven, 8 p.m., TNT.
Masterpiece Theater: Bleak House, with Gillian Anderson, 9 p.m., KCET.
The Shawshank Redemption (****), 9 p.m., SPIKE.
Munich: The Real Assassins, 10 p.m., DISCOVERY.
Monday, January 23
In the Name of the Father (***), 7:30 p.m., BIO.
Monsters, Inc. (***), 8 p.m., DISNEY.
Skating with Celebrities, 8 p.m., FOX.
American Experience: John and Abigail Adams, 9 p.m., KCET.
Tuesday, January 24
American Idol, 8 p.m., FOX.
Anna and the King (**), 8 p.m., AMC.
Commander in Chief, 9 p.m., ABC.
Frontline/World, 9 p.m., KCET.
Wednesday, January 25
Goldfinger (***), 8 p.m., AMC.
Jamie Foxx: Unpredictable, 8 p.m., NBC.
The War that Made America, 9 p.m., KCET.
Rocky (***), 9:15 p.m., TCM.