Golden Globes 2014: The Real Winners and Losers, by Aaron Pinkston
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.
Loser: Spoiler alertists
This is a problem at every awards show ever, and it may have been less of a problem at this year’s Globes than what the Oscars usually gives us, but can we please stop giving away the endings of movies in the showcase clips? Can we at least refrain from keeping them in a recognizable context? Anyone who watched the Globes last night who hadn’t seen Captain Phillips was treated to the most stirring moment of the film. Yes, Captain Phillips is a well-publicized true story, but the particular moment shown is so wonderful in the film because it comes as such a shocking release. In any case, there are dozens of other great moments in that film that could have been used. If the Globes chose to show a recognizable chunk of the finale of Breaking Bad, people would have freaked out — this is a troubling double-standard that needs to be corrected.
Winner: McConaughey and DiCaprio
Two of the bigger surprise winners of the night were perhaps two of the most deserving and gracious winners, too. Say what you will for DiCaprio winning in the “comedy” category, but he was up against four performances that are strongly competing for Oscar noms. All 10 male lead performances will be whittled down to 5 Ocar noms, so perhaps his win portends a nomination where I thought he’d be left out. Then again, the Globes have always been kinder to Leo. For McConaughey, his win might make him the favorite to take home the big prize. What’s more, both men gave fantastic speeches, full of humor and heart. DiCaprio started out with a pseudo joke about the “great comedians” in his category, but ended it with a brief but passionate plea for young film fans to look into the film history of fellow nominee Bruce Dern. McConaughey seemed perfectly off-the-cuff, as if he is just letting this wave of recent success and positive attention continue to carry him wherever it may. It’s always a plus when a winner talks directly to their spouse, and McConaughey’s address was particularly cute. He also (unlike his winning co-star) used the platform to make this a tribute to his true-life character and without getting preachy.
Loser: Jared Leto
Yes, Leto won (and deservedly) for his role in The Dallas Buyers Club, but the headlines are going to be about his bizarre speech. There is a tricky ground when winning for a performance like his as Rayon — you can’t be preachy, but you should probably use the time to talk about the real struggle people like Rayon go through every day. It probably isn’t wise to crack jokes about not using bodily enhancement and complain about having to wax your body as if that was the most challenging thing about the role. Then again, maybe it would have been OK if it was actually funny. Still, Leto is now pretty much cemented as the favorite in the supporting actor category at the Oscars, so I think he’ll end up just fine.
Loser: Woody Allen award presentation
Don’t get me wrong, I love Woody Allen, but his tribute was just off. Firstly, the clip package seemed to be half clips and half title cards. It also smushed films like Whatever Works and To Rome with Love, films that aren’t exactly beloved classics, alongside beloved classics like Manhattan and Annie Hall. I understand that this is supposed to be a celebration of the man’s entire career, but why not highlight the stuff that he is celebrated for? To make matters worse, Woody was unsurprisingly absent. I’m happy the Globes decided to pay tribute, and I wouldn’t judge the awards-phobic Allen for not showing, but it just felt like a missed opportunity. Instead, we were all privileged to see Diane Keaton be Diane Keaton (not a compliment).
Winner: Breaking Bad/Brooklyn Nine-Nine
On the TV side, Breaking Bad and Brooklyn Nine-Nine came out as the clear winners, both winning their respective best series and best actor awards. For Breaking Bad, this is clearly a tribute for the whole series, while the newcomer Brooklyn Nine-Nine looks to sustain this momentum. In my opinion, both are wildly deserved — you can’t ignore the tricky feat of cultural zeitgeist and universal acclaim for Breaking Bad, while Brooklyn Nine-Nine has already become one of the brightest and funniest shows on TV.
I don’t recall if the Globes has always done things this way, but the hodgepodge randomizer they use in giving out their awards just felt odd to me. I understand the end-goal of sustaining ratings throughout the 3-hour broadcast, but giving away arguably the second-most-important award (best TV drama) in the first hour doesn’t make sense to me. Usually you would want the award show to really build with momentum until the final award — I felt none of that and was actually surprised when the final award was being presented. “That’s it?” was my first impression when it should have been excitement over the best drama winner.
Awards pundits have written a lot of words this year about how wide-open a race this year is going to be, and that was realized at the Golden Globes. It may be odd that the ultimate winner of the night, 12 Years a Slave, won no other awards, but maybe it’s not a stretch to see this as the best film of the year without it having the best script or actors or songs. And the Globes win may not even mean it’s a shoe-in for Oscar glory as American Hustle, winner of the best comedy category, has a lot of shine right now. Really, looking at the five nominees in the best picture categories, the comedies may be the higher-profile flicks when it comes to the Oscars. For this particular year, it also isn’t a shock that 12 Years a Slave be given the top award while Gravity’s Alfonso Cuarón won best director. Projecting to the Oscars, there are probably only three clear favorites that won Globes: Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lawrence and Jared Leto. This is a good thing for the Oscar producers, Oscar viewers, and positive indication for the strong mainstream film year we have experience.