The honoring was still far from over though. With the Golden Globes just days away, the National Society of Film Critics (all 52 of them) grabbed the spotlight to announce its picks for the best of the past year. I’m sure Russell Crowe was on pins and needles.
Which brings us at long last to Sunday’s 59th Golden Globes. Now these prizes are given out by foreigners you know. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association to be exact. Which might explain nominations like Cate Blanchett’s as Best Actress for her work in the groundbreaking cinematic achievement “Bandits” and, as one of the year’s Best Pictures, “Legally Blonde.” Exsqueeze me? Did the movies not have subtitles when these Foreign Press characters watched them or what?
Nominations like that are unlikely to reverse the credibility deficit the 84 member group has suffered since its inception. Neither is the move this year to expand the broadcast by adding an hour of exclusive celebrity interviews a la Joan Rivers’ annual red carpet shmoozefest traditionally broadcast before the Globes on E!. “I know them all” quipped Rivers of the organization’s generally undistinguished members upon learning of the development, “they wait on me in various restaurants!” She’s not the only one who’s expressed disapproval. Steven Brill, editor of the media watchdog magazine Brill’s Content, has called the press organization’s attempt to limit the access of rival press outlets “incredible, certainly improper.”
That controversy aside, there certainly wasn’t much to buzz around the water cooler about. The broadcast itself was distinguished by a conspicuous absence of offbeat-slash-unforgettable showbiz moments like, you know, the time Christine Lahti was taking a pee when she should have been receiving a Globe. Many in the mainstream press attributed the toned down mood and lack of outrageous antics to September 11. My guess is everybody’s just tuckered out from attending too many award functions.
Robert Altman’s Best Director win was the evening’s closest thing to an upset, Harrison Ford’s acceptance of the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement honor the closest thing to a coma so you had to love it when Dick Clark, whose company produces the show, came on at the end and declared it “the biggest Hollywood party ever!”
By recognizing in the end pretty much the same handful of films award shows before it had recognized- “A Beautiful Mind,” “Moulin Rouge,” “Gosford Park,” “In The Bedroom,” etc- The Golden Globes may not have generated much excitement. What the event did generate was cash. Serious cash. The HFPA, which recently moved into luxurious gilt-ceilinged quarters in West Hollywood, this summer inked a deal with NBC worth $30 million over the next 10 years. $30 million. 84 members. You do the math. It’s almost enough to make a BFCA member think about dropping out, applying for Canadian citizenship and signing up.
And there’s your answer I guess as to why new award shows keep popping up. Stick around long enough and the payoff can be huge. AFI, People’s Choice, Critics’ Choice or Golden Globe award- whatever you’re giving out, that lucrative network contract is the prize organization member eyes are really on. And for that you can thank the Academy, so to speak. They started it all.
And that show will go on March 24th. But first, believe it or not, the 8th annual Screen Actor’s Guild Awards and the Directors Guild of America announcements.
It’s official: There are now each year more movie awards than movies worth giving them to.
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