The red-headed stepchild

The first Golden Globes awards ceremony was held in 1944, approximately thirteen years after the first Academy Awards ceremony. The big winner that night was The Song of Bernadette (1943), which took home the Best Actress, Best Director and the coveted Best Picture awards. It was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar as well, but was snubbed in favor of a little indie flick called Casablanca (1942). It’s cool if you’ve never heard of it, what with all the Song of Bernadette talk in film and acting classes these days.

Of all of the awards ceremonies to take place in the early months of the New Year (There are many. Very many), the Golden Globes are by far the most difficult for me to justify. The Critics Choice awards allow broadcast critics to speak their piece, the SAG/DGA/WGA ceremonies are strictly peer recognition and even the MTV Movie awards offer up a light-hearted (albeit sloppy and nearly unwatchable in recent years) alternative to the other (usually) stuffy, self-congratulatory proceedings.

My primary beef with the Globes’ existence stems from the fact that it serves little purpose but to signify the likely winner of another, more relevant award. Aside from that Song of Bernadette incident, Globe winners almost always go on to win the Oscar/Emmy, or at the very least get the same nomination. Couldn’t we just save a lot of time and money and just call these folks? Actually, this is the internet age. Couldn’t they just check out a few movie blogs?

My secondary beef is with the origins of the award show itself and, consequently, its inherent nature. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, who is responsible for the Golden Globes’ creation and voting, was originally conceived as a means by which foreign reporters could gain access to Hollywood’s elite. Instead of saying, “Hi, my name is George and I’d like to interview Steven Spielberg,” you could say, “Hi, I’m George from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and I’d like to interview Steven Spielberg.”

Oh snap! It's on like Donkey Kong!

And so the HFPA panders. They can’t help it. It’s kind of their bread and butter. They don’t really want to upset anyone or make an unpopular decision because it would cut off their life’s blood. This year Ricky Gervais hosted the Globes for the second time in a row. It was an interesting choice, although I am not entirely convinced the HFPA was as pleased with it as they’d like us to believe. There are rumors of grumbling, but nothing substantiated. We’ll see if he’s back next year, or, ever gets another silly, superfluous nomination, for that matter.

Me? I’ll stick with the Oscars. When done right, the Academy Awards are a lovely throw back to Hollywood glitz and glam, but also a nice retrospective on film as a storytelling medium. It acknowledges its history. It respects the art without spending too much time (Ha! It’s usually a three hour plus broadcast) patting itself on the back.

Of course, even the Oscars aren’t always done right. Remeber the year they had all of the previous Best Actor nominees come out, stand in a semi-circle and deliver some saccharine, meoldramatic blather about that year’s nominees. That kind of silliness is better left to a sillier award show.

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