The Golden Globes: Fun and Puzzlement in L.A.

Jennifer Lawrence attends the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards
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Jennifer Lawrence attends the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards

Among the ever-growing array that comprises the awards season, the Golden Globes is unique for many reasons.

It’s the only awards show where the awards are handed out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a largely unknown group of journalists who apparently report on all things Hollywood for a world-wide audience which now knows that Kevin Bacon, famous for “Footloose” and most recently a serial killer series on television, has a daughter named Sosie Bacon, who was this year’s Miss Golden Globes. The 21-year-old acquitted herself nicely by managing to steer often confused award winners on and off the stage through what was a long evening.

It’s also an awards show that hands out both film and television awards, which makes for class skirmishes here and there, and in two different categories for the major awards, i.e., musical or comedy and drama, although what constitutes comedy for the judges seems a mystery to me. My guess: it’s a fun thing to do, makes for more major awards and more stars in attendance. All of this goes out the window at the Oscars, but it makes for some odd choices, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” for instance, along with “Nebraska,” “American Hustle” and “August: Osage County,” comedies all, thus avoiding to have to compete with “12 Years a Slave.”

The GGs are also as far as we know the only awards presentation event at which dinner and drinks are served throughout the ceremonies, which allows for the observation that anything could happen. Even best actress in a drama (for Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine”) Cate Blanchett, smoothly graceful, elegant and sexy, allowed that she had fortified herself with a few martinis. Everyone sits at big tables with friends and cast members and wanders around catching up or lining up for drinks. I’ve never seen so much schmoozing and flesh pressing since the last time I saw Bill Clinton at a gathering of more than five persons.

The Golden Globes rest somewhere in significance between Fat Tuesday and the Oscars, and the atmosphere bears that out. It’s comedy tonight at the podium—where mistresses of ceremony Tina Faye and Amy Poehler reigned supreme and close sometimes to obscene but always funny—and the circus of the red carpet where the stars parade, stop and pose, get interviewed, pose for selfies, pose again, get interviewed by everyone from E! folks (not "E" for "elves," although Orlando Bloom was there) but "E" for "entertainment") to bloggers to the fawning fawns of Access Hollywood and the folks from the Today Show. (Matt Lauer in black wraparound glasses and Savannah Guthrie, who is even taller in real life.)

In between, there is the drama on the podium, the handing out of awards, and the long trips to the podium by the winners. Whoever did the layout and logistics for this show ought to be made to sit in Los Angeles traffic for hours on end as punishment. The route—depending where you were sitting—to the podium seemed to be so difficult as getting over Donner Pass, twisted and stops for kisses and attaboys and girls from the tables that the journey seemed to take forever. Former big movie star Jacqueline Bisset, who won an award for best supporting acting in a television mini-series, almost didn’t make it to the stage, where she stood speechless, gave us her grandmother’s favorite saying (“Go to hell, and don’t come back”), almost crashed the bleeping system, and generally won the highlights of the evening awards for drama hands down. She also managed to get the sh-t word for good measure and looked frazzled but lovely.

As for the awards, as the King of Siam might say, they were often a "puzzlement." Best comedy “Brooklyn Nine Nine,” and best comedy actor Andy Samberg? Seriously? The Saturday Night Live vibe was strong throughout, what with that odd choice and Poehler’s win.

It wasn’t much of a hot night for Julia Louis-Dreyfus who’d been nominated for comedy actress in a movie (for “Enough Said” with the late James Gandolfini) and for best comedic actress (for “Veep”). She was shut out and had to endure jibbing from Fey and Poehler for sitting in the movie section. Plus, she lost to Poehler.

As for “12 Years a Slave,” the gripping, moving saga of the plight of a free man in pre-Civil War America, who endured 12 years of life and suffering as a slave, this best movie by far)managed to win best movie against weak competition--but was shut out in best actor (the splendid Chiewetel Ejiofor lost to Matthew McConaughey for "Dallas Buyers Club”), best director (Steve McQueen lost to Alfonso Cuaron for the space saga “Gravity”) and best support actress (the remarkable Lupita Nyong’o lost to everybody’s darling, Jennifer Lawrence, for “American Hustle”). Lawrence, complete with her pixie haircut and just plain goofy honesty, is now officially adorable.

“Hustle” did well for itself—the sharply written and performed hit based loosely on the Abscam scandal of the 1980s, also got a best actress award for Amy Adams and a best musical or comedy award award.

Woody Allen was given a life-time achievement prize, the Cecil B. DeMille Award, for a career filled with original, funny, serious, funny-serious movies and was also rewarded with a tribute from Diane Keaton, ex-girlfriend and Annie Hall. Allen, who won an Oscar for directing for “Annie Hall,” has been much honored and much loved by lady actresses for whom he writes wonderful parts, including Blanchett, who said “Thanks for finally calling me.” Almost every actress who’s worked with him is likely to forgive him for anything with the possible exception of ex-wife Mia Farrow, who nonetheless did her best work for him in “Hannah and Her Sisters” and “The Purple Rose of Cairo.” My personal favorite? “Midnight in Paris.”

Leonardo DiCaprio, alone, looking sharp and hot and very cool, won the award for best actor in a comedy or musical for his endlessly greedy and hedonistic star turn in Martin Scorcese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street.” DiCaprio sometimes brings his mother to awards shows. Good thing he didn’t this time. She might have blanched at the fulsome introduction for him provided by Tina Fey, just before he presented the award for best film. “And now,” she offered, “like a supermodel’s vagina, let us give a warm welcome to Leonardo DiCaprio.”

Bet you won’t hear that at the Oscars.

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Mon, 22 Dec 2014 19:08:33 -0500

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