Monday, January 18, 2010

Unsolicited Opinion - The 67th Annual Golden Globes

As of last night, the Golden Globe Awards has become my new favorite Hollywood ceremony. Much like the Oscars, the premise is simple - masses of beautiful film elites (and a handful of behind-the-scenes nerdy types) gather together for a night of self-congratulatory celebration. What makes the Globes so much better is the casual atmosphere that pervades throughout the proceedings. The Oscars is an event, but the Globes is most definitely a party. Where else can you see an emcee sipping Foster's (if Ashton Kutcher's Twitter feed is to be believed) while still at the podium? And how about that emcee? Ricky Gervais was devastating in the best of ways, and I like to think that he was able to make it out of that room alive, though it's possible that Colin Ferrel and Mel Gibson are chasing him through deserted Inland Empire subdivisions as I type. Godspeed, Mr. Gervais. And god help you.

However, there was far more on display last night than a vaguely caustic and pleasantly buzzed British comic. There were surprises! There were upsets! There were beautiful gowns and absolutely no awards for costumes, make-up, set design or special effects, which bummed me out because I love those! It was a fun and noteworthy night - here are some highlights:

Paul McCartney: What the hell is Sir Paul doing at the Golden Globes? Oh, turns out he's presenting Best Animated Feature (for some reason) and getting some of the best lines of the night in the process - not only is he "that guy from Rock Band," he also slyly reveals that animation's main non-juvenile audience is comprised of "drug-taking adults." The statement is accompanied by a knowing look on McCartney's part and approving whoops on the audience's. Coraline is up for this one, and I want to see it win just to prove that animation can be a vehicle for strong stories without relying on bright colors and frenetic action to engage an audience. Instead, the Globe goes to Up, an animated movie that is a vehicle for a strong story that doesn't rely on bright colors and frenetic action to engage an audience. It's also the only film of 2009 that made me cry. The director says that he and his crew drew inspiration from their family, friends, wives, children and talking dogs. My dog seems pleased.

Best Score: Up wins this one as well, and the composer is thrilled. However, what he's really happy about is being congratulated by Sir Paul. Can't say I blame him.

T Bone Burnett: My god, that man is tall. And why'd they have him in the cheap seats?

Meryl Streep: This woman is probably running out of mantle space, so I expect her to give the Been There, Done That speech. Instead, she's...humble. Humble, sweet, and genuinely happy. I'm surprised when she chokes up as she makes a quiet, subtle reference to Haiti. It's nice to know that she cares and doesn't just lend her name to the cause du jour.

Jeff Bridges: What a lovable old hippie! Lookit him, thanking his parents! It's about time he won something.

Mad Men:
I'm starting to think that I'm the only person who hasn't seen this show. I know it's about ad executives in the 60s, and I know everyone loves it. And oh, it won Best Television Series - Drama. That's nice. Good for them.

Michael C. Hall: I've never seen your show, sir, but good on you for showing up tonight. May your recovery be swift and complete.

Drew Barrymore: Has she never won anything before? She seems as surprised and nervous as a first-timer, but she's been in the business since she Longer? It's endearing, don't get me wrong, but also a bit odd to me.

Christoph Waltz:
Speaking of charming, how about Christoph "Hans Landa" Waltz? Inglorious Basterds may be the role that defines him for Americans, but I hear he's well known in Austria. Personally, I'll forever know him as the man who scared the hell out of me with his portrayal of a charming, manipulative and utterly sadistic Nazi who would just as soon strangle you with his bare hands as he would order you a heaping plate of strudel. (Mr. Waltz, if you are reading this, I will have you know that I have never eaten strudel, nor will I ever partake of it in this lifetime. Thanks to you, the mere word gets my stomach in knots. I won't even mention the cream.)

Anyway, I had no idea what to expect of the man when he took to the stage to receive his award, but as soon as he opened his mouth, I knew exactly why he won in the first place. Whatever I was expecting, it was not a gentle, soft-spoken, incredibly grateful man who actually had doubts about being able to hold his own with the rest of the Inglorious cast. Sir, no more of that. You made that film. I firmly believe it never would have been the hit it was without you.

Next time, play a good guy. Because you are way too good at being evil.

Best Director: I know I'm not the only one who reacted with slack-jawed disbelief at the fact that Avatar won Best Picture (I've heard the film described as both "Fern Gully in Space" and "Dances With Furries," with the overarching complaint being that the plot and dialogue are terrible), but I'm willing to give Cameron a pass here, if only because of all the new technology he invented to make this film a reality. The man's purpose in Hollywood seems to be making big, beautiful movies by making things that enable him to make aforementioned big, beautiful movies, and I suppose it's only fair to give him recognition for that every so often. And at least now we know that if you want to win a Golden Globe for Best Picture, you just have to sit the judges in front of bright colors and frenetic action. Which makes me wonder just who Sir Paul was referencing earlier.

Cecil B. DeMille Award - Martin Scorsese:
Back when I was awesome and working for All Media Guide, I became friends with the guy who wrote this column. (True story!) Mr. Seibert is a big fan of this year's Cecil B. DeMille Award, so I knew he would be happy no matter what Mr. Scorsese said. And what Mr. Scorsese said was about others - the people he worked with, the people who inspired him, and the people who work to preserve films for future generations. If you have any love for movies, go find his speech on YouTube. You'll appreciate it.

Best Actor - Musical or Comedy: This one was all about Matt Damon. When The Informant! was in theaters and the reviews were coming in, his performance was lauded as one of the best of the year, so it seemed only natural that everyone in the room settled back and took a sip of their drinks while the names of the nominees were read out.

How do you know these are consummate professionals? You know when all of them - each and every one - managed not to choke on their bubbly or forcibly expel it into the face of their tablemate when Robert Downey Jr. scored the upset of the night. (Ok, fine - the second upset of the night. The other one was the evening's final award.) I'd just seen Sherlock Holmes the day before, so his performance as everyone's favorite British detective was fresh in my mind as he made his way to the podium. Everyone was surprised, most of all Robert Downey Jr. You know he's a consummate professional by his hilarious (and apparently ab-libbed) acceptance speech. You can find it on YouTube for now, but I've transcribed it below in the terribly likely event that it's yanked from the site tomorrow.

"If you start playing violins, I will tear this joint apart.

"First of all, I'd like to thank Susan Downey for telling me that Matt Damon was going to win, so don't bother to prepare a speech. That was at about 10 a.m. I don't have anybody to thank. I'm sorry - everyone's been so gratuitous. 'It was a collaboration.' 'We all did this together...' I'm certainly not going to thank Warner Brothers. Allan Horne god [mutters]. These guys needed ME. Avatar was gonna take us to the cleaners! If they didn't have me, they didn't have a shot, buddy! What am I gonna do, thank Joel Silver, the guy who's only restarted my career 12 times since I began it 25 years ago?

"I mean, I REALLY don't want to thank my wife, because I could be busing tables at the Daily Grill right now if not for her. Jesus, what a gig that'd be...

"Guy Ritchie had a great vision for this film and a lot of great people came together and we worked our asses off. And it's just a privilege. By the way, the Hollywood Foreign Press...there's a Holmes quote by Conan Doyle - who was a genius, by the way - and he said, 'Art in the blood is liable to take the strangest forms.' That is why I would like to thank also - or not thank - the Hollywood Foreign Press, because they are a strange bunch, and now I'm one of them! Take it easy."

And that, as they say, is a wrap.

No comments: