The 2014 Golden Globes was hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. They kept the show zipping along in fine fashion. The biggest upset was 12 Years a Slave winning for Best Motion Picture, Drama despite winning no other Golden Globes for the night. Out of the films up for awards, American Hustle garnered the most with three wins. On the TV side, Behind the Candelabra, Breaking Bad, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine won two awards each. The Academy Awards could have learn a thing or two from the Golden Globes: remove the dances, remove the singing, and give more time to the winners accepting their awards. Click past the jump for a list of winners.
Winner: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (especially Amy Poehler)
In their second year tandem hosting, Fey and Poehler solidified that they belong, especially in an environment as open and carefree as the Golden Globes. Not every joke landed with me (can we stop recycling the joke that Clooney only mates with young, impressionable women? Clooney wasn’t even there, so we even lost out on the awkward cutaway of him being slightly, but handsomely perturbed), but there were a few golden ones (Tam Honks, anyone?). The lampooning of the Ms. Golden Globe segment, with Poehler as Fey’s illegitimate son “Ralph” was extremely well played and gave life to one of the dullest segments of the show. Besides Ralph, Poehler clearly came out with her big win in the best comedic performance TV category, which seems like a minor upset as she beat out three former Globes winners. And then she celebrated by making out with Bono, which is oddly the perfect comedic choice. For my money, Tina and Amy can host every year.
It seems that over time, the Documentary Shorts category of the Academy Awards has become a bit of a checklist. Indeed, this year like many other, the category seems to be dominated by a laundry list of serious-minded yet emotionally wrought films about “serious” topics. Sub Saharan Africa, poverty, homelessness, cancer – these are topics that should by no means be asked to be made into easy sits, nor should they be expected to be cold and clinical.
While these illuminations can feel enlightening, this approach can often do a disservice to its subjects. By drawing awareness to the negative elements, it separates the audience from the ability to connect with the subject. Visual elements can often linger on the bleak realities of poverty often void of life and color Treatment of the subject as pitiable creates a psychic wall of “otherness” between the world of the viewer and the world of the subject. Finally, these portrayals often rob their subjects of agency in the process of social mobility, as a helpless subject tends to be more emotionally compelling.
For better or for worse, this year’s bunch seem to typify this trend with overwhelming waves of well-crafted sentimentality. However, within these films exist surprising and unexpected glimpses of humanity that give meaning to the pathos. At their best, these films subvert the audience expectations of approaches to poverty, death, and even life itself.
Oscar time, Oscar time, won’t you have these Oscars of mine? The Academy Awards annually represent a push-pull, in which one must either decide to become invested in them, ignore them altogether, or learn to stop worrying and love the prom. My own feelings towards them oscillate between options one and three, as I become intensely invested, only to be horribly disappointed by the nominees, but hopefully in the process learn to appreciate the little victories. This is distinctly more difficult when I’m actively rooting for a very likely winner (oh, the heartbreak of The Social Network), but, you know, I feel pretty good about this crop, even as the category to which I am most personally attached – Best Director – is kind of a mess.
It’s that time of year again, friends, to talk of things award and nomination. Yes, the ever-churning onslaught of Oscar season, which has expanded outwardly towards dozens of regional and national institutions just dying to give another award to the same old batch of majority-pleasing movies, is in full swing. And with that comes the opposing contingent, those who are automatically skeptical of anything of which an institution like the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences would approve. They’ll whine about how it ends up being predictable, self-congratulatory, and fairly bland, and maybe they’ll be right, but in the process, they’ll do themselves and the cinema a great disservice by trotting out a term that means nothing – “Oscar bait.”