Skip to main content

Golden Globes crazy like a family wedding

By Gene Seymour
updated 10:01 AM EST, Mon January 13, 2014
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler host the 71st Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California, on Sunday, January 12. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association's annual event is often looked at as an Academy Awards predictor. It also honors the best in television. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler host the 71st Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California, on Sunday, January 12. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association's annual event is often looked at as an Academy Awards predictor. It also honors the best in television.
HIDE CAPTION
2014 Golden Globes: The show
2014 Golden Globes: The show
2014 Golden Globes: The show
2014 Golden Globes: The show
2014 Golden Globes: The show
2014 Golden Globes: The show
2014 Golden Globes: The show
2014 Golden Globes: The show
2014 Golden Globes: The show
2014 Golden Globes: The show
2014 Golden Globes: The show
2014 Golden Globes: The show
2014 Golden Globes: The show
2014 Golden Globes: The show
2014 Golden Globes: The show
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Gene Seymour: What did Golden Globes show? Actress + drinking = interesting speech
  • He says Blanchett, Bissett livened things up with frank remarks; hosts had less to do
  • He says even with two best picture awards, Globes are flawed predictor of Oscar winners
  • Seymour: Globes mostly flashy kickoff of awards season; critic awards better predictor

Editor's note: Gene Seymour is a film critic who has written about music, movies and culture for The New York Times, Newsday, Entertainment Weekly and The Washington Post.

(CNN) -- So what did we learn at Sunday night's Golden Globe Awards? First off, we learned that sketch comedians are so much better at giving acceptance speeches than rock stars, screenwriters and actors who've won Oscars and Emmys for dramatic roles. "Who knew?" as Andy Samberg put it when he delivered one of the evening's most compact acceptances, for best lead actor in a TV comedy or musical in Fox's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" (a surprise winner for best comedy series, by the way.)

We also learned that actresses say the darnedest things on TV when they're drinking a lot. (What was that Cate Blanchett said about Judy Garland and barbiturates when she got the Globe for best actress in a drama in "Blue Jasmine"?)

Gene Seymour
Gene Seymour

One trusts that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which sponsors the awards, has also learned that when you nominate somebody four times for a Golden Globe over four decades without giving her one, you'd better be prepared for retributive pain when you finally come through. Though I have to admit that as the ceremonies trudged along, part of me was hoping Jacqueline Bissett, who finally won a Globe for best supporting actress in a TV movie, miniseries or series as a lonely dowager in "Dancing on the Edge," would get called back for more ragged stream-of-consciousness and disregard for decorum.

The authenticity of her speech, which included a bleeped expletive, somehow burst through the ceremony's glitz -- and, at 69, she still made for a gorgeous-looking train wreck.

But did we learn for sure who's going to win the Academy Awards on March 2? Not really.

5 things we learned from the 2014 Golden Globes

It's true that Blanchett came away as big a favorite in her category as she was before the pipes burst earlier that night, flooding the red carpet. But nothing short of a tsunami will stop her appointment with the best actress Oscar for her rendering of a shattered socialite.

Bisset backstage at Golden Globes
Poehler-Bono kiss among top Globe scenes
Cranston: I'm going to 'Kanye' the stage

The rest are not so clear. "12 Years a Slave" won the best drama Globe, matching most advance expectations. But it didn't win as many Globes as the best comedy or musical winner, "American Hustle." Both Amy Adams' win for best actress in a comedy or musical (which was mildly unexpected) and Jennifer Lawrence's win for best supporting actress (which wasn't) seemed to boost "Hustle's" profile in the Oscar race. But both "Hustle's" director, David O. Russell, and "Slave's" director, Steve McQueen, lost the best director race to Alfonso Cuaron for his orchestration of the harrowing "Gravity."

Let's face facts: Though some insist on seeing the Globes as an Oscar tip sheet, you can't easily align awards that split their categories between comedy and drama with those that don't. Period.

There have been some years where a Globe drama winner gets the best picture Oscar (2001's "A Beautiful Mind") and the comedy-musical winner doesn't ("Moulin Rouge!"). Then there are those years when the opposite is true. (1998, when "Shakespeare in Love" won best picture while "Saving Private Ryan" didn't). And then, too, there are those years when neither of the Globe winners is in the best picture winner at the Oscars (1992, when "The Silence of the Lambs" bested both "Bugsy" and "Beauty and the Beast," and 1993, when both "Scent of a Woman" and "The Player" lost to "Unforgiven," and 1991, when ... and we could go on and on ...).

So as usual, we're left at the end of another Golden Globes show wondering, what exactly was the point? That is, besides the comedy factor, both intended (hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who didn't have nearly as much to do this year as last) and unintended.

Golden Globes: Best moments and GIFs

Maybe it's best to look at the Globes less as tea leaves or portents for future awards and more as shiny paper for the global village to unwrap every January as the true beginning of Hollywood's ritual of self-congratulation.

The various film critics awards are (for the most part, anyway) more measured and thoughtful signals as to what will be taken seriously between holiday openings and Oscar night. But the Globes are when the moms, mall rats and reality-show audiences begin noticing what the more serious and solemn movies are doing with themselves as their makers and actors campaign for support from the Academy voters.

You can downgrade their importance or dismiss their results as much as you like. But the Golden Globes are, like it or not, an Occasion-with-a-capital-O, much like weddings, Thanksgiving and other rituals that often provoke sentiment and warmth -- and slavishness and inappropriate behavior. So wait for the trade awards to get their results out and hope that whomever's in charge of these awards doesn't take anything Bissett says too seriously.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Gene Seymour.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:27 PM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
The Occupy Central movement has already achieved much by bringing greater attention to Hong Kong's struggle for democracy, writes William Piekos.
updated 6:09 PM EDT, Sat September 27, 2014
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits America, Madeleine Albright says a world roiled by conflict needs these two great democracies to commit to moving their partnership forward
updated 2:02 PM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
John Sutter: Lake Providence, Louisiana, is the parish seat of the "most unequal place in America." And until somewhat recently, the poor side of town was invisible on Google Street View.
updated 9:11 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
Julian Zelizer says in the run up to the 2016 election the party faces divisions on its approach to the U.S.'s place in the world
updated 10:19 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says Common Core supporters can't devise a new set of standards and then fail to effectively sell it.
updated 5:45 PM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
Earlier this month, Kenyans commemorated the heinous attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi.
updated 4:57 PM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
David Wheeler says Colorado students are right to protest curriculum changes that downplays civil disobedience.
updated 9:58 PM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
Sally Kohn says when people click on hacked celebrity photos or ISIS videos, they are encouraging the bad guys.
updated 7:55 AM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
Loren Bunche says she walked by a homeless man every day and felt bad about it -- until one day she paused to get to know him
updated 1:41 PM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
ISIS grabs headlines on social media, but hateful speech is no match for moderate voices, says Nadia Oweidat.
updated 8:33 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
A new report counts jihadists fighting globally. The verdict? The threat isn't that big, says Peter Bergen.
updated 5:37 PM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Ebola could become the biggest humanitarian disaster in a generation, writes former British Prime Minister Tony Blair
updated 12:58 PM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
ISIS has shocked the world. But will releasing videos of executions backfire? Four experts give their take.
updated 10:39 AM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
Eric Holder kicked off his stormy tenure as attorney general with a challenge to the public that set tone for six turbulent years as top law-enforcement officer.
updated 9:09 AM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
LZ Granderson says Obama was elected as a war-ending change agent, not a leader who would leave behind for his successor new engagement in Iraq and Syria. Is he as disappointed as the rest of us?
updated 5:10 AM EDT, Wed September 24, 2014
Gayle Lemmon says the question now is how to translate all the high-profile feminizing into real gains for women
updated 3:00 PM EDT, Thu September 25, 2014
John Sutter says the right is often stereotyped on climate change. But with 97% of climate scientists say humans are causing global warming, we all have to get together on this.
updated 8:57 AM EDT, Thu September 25, 2014
Andrew Liepman and Philip Mudd: When we declare that we will defeat ISIS, what do we exactly mean?
updated 4:40 PM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
Thailand sex trafficking
Human trafficking is a multibillion dollar global industry. To beat it, we need to change mindsets, Cindy McCain says.
updated 6:42 PM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
The leaders of the GOP conferences say a Republican-led Senate could help solve America's problems.
updated 10:01 AM EDT, Thu September 25, 2014
Nicholas Syrett says Wesleyan University's decision to make fraternities admit women will help curb rape culture.
updated 9:02 AM EDT, Thu September 25, 2014
Mike Downey says New Yorkers may be overdoing it, but baseball will really miss Derek Jeter
updated 8:32 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
Quick: Which U.S. president has authorized wars of various kinds in seven Muslim countries?
updated 2:17 PM EDT, Wed September 24, 2014
Women's issues should be considered front and center when assessing a society's path, says Zainab Salbi
updated 2:05 PM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
A catastrophe not making headlines like Ebola and ISIS: the astounding rate of child poverty in the world's richest country.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT