The Golden Globes mean absolutely nothing and if you don’t love that, we have nothing in common.
The GGs are the slushy Senor Frog’s of movie award shows. Glug, glug, award, award. No dancing. No songs. Just jokes and hokey speechifying. If not one Academy member is swayed by the results of Sunday night’s festivities, I’d still call this a satisfying evening of bleary-eyed, teleprompted entertainment. And not just because Jacqueline Bisset is still crawling the perimeter of the Beverly Hilton in petrified glee.
My real thrill here has more to do with hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler than anything else. These dames. I’ve said it and we’ve all said it a hundred times, but they’re just right as ringmasters: They’re deadpan, comfortable, smart as hell, and in some way they give less of a damn than even Ricky Gervais did. His fatal flaw was trying hard to prove he was over it, giggling like the Duck Hunt dog at all his own jokes. Tina and Amy are simply funnier than everyone in the room and don’t mind if you disagree. Their opening duologue, for some reason, began awkwardly with a joke about tough name pronunciations among nominees (“Chiwetel Ejiofor… Lupita Nyong’o… Tam Hunks”), and come on, ladies: Did we learn nothing from the Uma-Oprah situation of ’95? I was pretty sure we’d learned something. They moved on from that joke and finally killed with a couple of fabulous one-liners: “Gravity is nominated for best film,” Tina began. “It’s the story about how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age.” Yes. Oh, yes. This would only be topped later on when Tina would introduce a key nominee by saying, “Like a supermodel’s vagina, please give a warm welcome to Leonardo DiCaprio.” Irreverent wordplay ’n celebrity zingers. My vitamins.
There were only a few dubious winners in the entire telecast, bizarrely. I’ll run through them right now so we can purge our depression quick. Uh, Leo. He was not nearly as impressive as his competitors Bruce Dern, Oscar Isaac, and Joaquin Phoenix, though he does look like a very serious Fisher Price Little Person. He’ll always have that. Then there was Jennifer Lawrence, a great actress with a gift for candor and fine haircuttery, who won a Golden Globe for her tolerable performance as a completely unbelievable nut in American Hustle. Allow me to join the chorus of gays in your Facebook feed: What am I missing about this movie? It’s a conventional con game featuring famous people looking glamorously ugly. That’s about it. Jennifer Lawrence’s character is a senseless, microwave-breaking housewife who understands her husband (Christian Bale) is a shady twerp who’s in major trouble, but she has no problem making an ass of herself in front of the very men he’s clearly trying to con. I didn’t get it. I don’t get this movie. She wasn’t even the right age for the role. So I had to wince as Lawrence made cute-enough smalltalk at the mic (“I actually did watch all the movies this year. Not all of them, but you know what I mean.”) as more deserving nominees — June Squibb, Lupita Nyong’o, Julia Roberts, and Sally Hawkins — smiled vacantly like lost groundlings below.
I thought Amy Adams gave a stronger and more memorable performance than Lawrence as American Hustle’s accent-shifting snowjobber Sydney Prosser, but I still shivered knowing she won her Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical trophy over Julia Louis-Dreyfus. I know JLD has to lose some awards, but I don’t like being there when it happens. Julia radiates winning energy. Amy Adams had to get special pore surgery to emanate winning energy. Let Julia glow, please.
Now, Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Have you seen this show? Quite watchable. It’s even good! Andy Samberg is a funny and confident talent. But no one would ever mistake this show for being better than Modern Family or Parks and Recreation. No one. It is not the Best TV Comedy of the year, HFPA. Nor is Andy Samberg, arguably one of the show’s less impressive cast members, the clear comedy star of current TV. I pictured Don Cheadle muttering to himself in the crowd, “Now this is a house of lies” and frowning at the ceiling. Fortunately, Breaking Bad’s triumph in the drama category was enough of a morale boost that no one in the room seemed too annoyed with Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s double win. Besides, everyone was still high off of Jacqueline Bisset’s Earth-shattering victory speech for her work on the BBC television drama Dancing on the Edge.
How Earth-shattering was it, you ask? Well, it shattered the Earth.
Things to know here: 1) Jacqueline Bisset took about 12 minutes to stand up. 2) Jacqueline Bisset was panicked enough that she instinctively bear-hugged Jon Voight, and I’ve never been that terrified in my life. 3) Jacqueline Bisset had to complete an obstacle course to get to the stage. She was awarded an ESPY. 4) After three sets of monkey bars and a spiral slide, Jacqueline Bisset arrived at the microphone and said nothing for almost a full hour. 5) Jacqueline Bisset’s silent breathing is my new ringtone. 6) Jacqueline Bisset used swear words and incomplete sentences to convey… excitement? 7) We suffered through Jacqueline Bisset’s many traumas for awhile. 8) Somehow, Jacqueline Bisset’s speech got awesome right at the end, even though the entire speech was a cryptogram within a wordsearch within a Sudoku puzzle. There was some genuine shock and emotion there, and although she was scared as hell, I think we saw something resembling authenticity there. Shine on, perfect human. And I still love Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?.
Other happy moments: Elisabeth Moss won for her stunning work in Top of the Lake. Host Amy Poehler finally nabbed a trophy for Parks and Rec and blushed through a top-notch speech. Robin Wright rocked it too. Oh, and CATE. Cate Blanchett won for Blue Jasmine. She was flustered and perfectly cheekboned and tipsy about it. In fact, she was one Stoli martini away from performing her entire speech as Katharine Hepburn, but she kept cool while being the greatest and Catest. She’s really the reason you have an award show. Some people just peak as humans while giving a speech about their fantastic acting skills, and Cate’s one of them. Her glamor is so, so real, and she always looks like the most suspicious character in a murder mystery. Diane Keaton had appeared onstage moments before to toast Woody Allen with the Cecil B. de Mille lifetime achievement award, so Cate’s win felt apropos and swell — even though Mia Farrow’s son Ronan tweeted this unforgettable tidbit during the award.
Missed the Woody Allen tribute – did they put the part where a woman publicly confirmed he molested her at age 7 before or after Annie Hall?
— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) January 13, 2014
And his mother retweeted it. We can’t forget that Mia Farrow and her son want us to remember this horrifying information. Apologies to Diane Keaton, whose nice speech about Woody Allen concluded with a creepy-ass “song” that sounded like something you’d hear in the attic of The Others, but it’s time to ween ourselves off abject Woody adoration. Fear not, Dianne Wiest, I still have all my feelings for you. (And so does Cate Blanchett, who named Dianne Wiest as her acting hero. Yes, oh yes!)
You’ll be pleased to learn that two major queer roles (played by straight actors, bien sur) were rewarded with Golden Globes last night. Michael Douglas took home another doohickey for Behind the Candelabra, even though I’d argue that Jeremy Renner looked more like Liberace in American Hustle than Douglas ever did. Douglas’ speech was not nearly as horrid as his Emmy abomination (Remember all that juvenile snickering about tops and bottoms?), but he still referred to Matt Damon as “the bravest actor” he knows, which is pretty stupid considering Damon’s “bravery” in Behind the Candelabra amounts to an anal sex scene and a Navratilovan haircut. When-oh-when will people stop mistaking straight actors in gay roles for valiant, fearless heroes? It’s more than annoying. It’s immature and insidious.
Then there was Jared Leto, an expected winner for his lively performance as quippy, tragic transwoman Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club, who said nothing specific about AIDS in his speech but thanked “the Rayons of the world” for inspiration after joking for awhile about waxing his body to play the part. I don’t know. His speech felt sensitive at times, but undercooked and lame at others. I wouldn’t call his glibness homophobic, but I’d call it ill-advised and awkwardly omissive. Matthew McConaughey, who won for giving my favorite male performance of the year in Dallas Buyers Club, also said nothing about AIDS in his address, though the movie concerns the epidemic’s most desperately unmedicated era. Believe me, Matthew McConaughey is educated on the subject. Comprehensively. I wish he’d given us even a modicum of his impressive awareness, is all.
In minor smiles: U2 beat Taylor Swift for the Best Original Song award thanks to their jam “Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, and I’m actually not sure I feel great about that. Did they earn it? I assume Nelson Mandela would choose prison over listening to Zooropa. Melissa McCarthy garnered a chuckle when she presented an award. Leonardo DiCaprio accidentally called Judi Dench’s touching movie “Phil-o-Mania” (coming to Pay-Per-View this March!), and best of all, Emma Thompson — who looked like Annette Bening in a late ’80s Sunset Boulevard remake — chucked her uncomfortable Louboutins and sloshed a drink onstage. This woman is flawlessly hilarious and THE icon of the night. She’s the finest British subject and an angel in America. Perfection. She would’ve scared the hell out of the real Walt Disney, I presume.
What’d you think of the Globes? The winners? The losers? Thank God 12 Years a Slave pulled through with a Best Picture win after losing all of its other nominations, no?