The Golden Globes are generally not only the precursor to the Godfather of all awards shows, the Oscars, but are also reliably the most relaxed ceremony of awards season, owing in no small part to the free-flow of champagne.
This year, the tone of the show seemed off. Perhaps that is to be expected owing to the recent horror of the 7.0 earthquake that devastated Haiti, but Hollywood is nothing if not gifted at navel-gazing, and so the mood of the celebrities who showed up to be feted by their peers was particularly noticeable. What jokes were made were almost exclusively at the expense of NBC and the ongoing debacle over The Tonight Show as lines are drawn in the sand and sides taken. Team Jay or Team Coco (Conan O’Brien)? It seems obvious.
As for the awards, it was nice to see Julianna Margulies take the stage for her role in The Good Wife, and even nicer to see her kiss good friend and one-time ER castmate George Clooney on her way up to accept her Golden Globe. Expectedly, Mad Men took home the Golden Globe for best television drama, with newcomer Glee nabbing the statue for comedy or musical.
Mo’nique’s acceptance speech for her performance in the awkwardly titled Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire was also a highlight of the evening, as were awards given to the current Queen of cinema, Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia) and a lifetime achievement award presented to the legendary Martin Scorsese (though one does have to wonder why it has only been in the last couple of years that he has started receiving acknowledgment for his stellar achievements in the industry). Another highlight of the evening was the Golden Globe presented to Inglorious Basterds‘ Christopher Waltz, who turned in an amazing performance in an entertaining film that was sadly overlooked this year.
This is likely because James Cameron has taken over the world yet again, as he did in 1997 with the release of box office king Titanic. This time around, of course, his film is the technological wonder Avatar, and while the film is deserving of praise for its magnificent imagery, it is debatable about whether or not that it was deserving of the Best Director and Best Drama nods it received here. If the Golden Globes are the precursor to Oscar, no doubt more deserving films such as The Hurt Locker or Up in the Air (my personal favourite) will be passed over.
And Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) was a surprise winner in the best dramatic actress category, bypassing darlings Emily Blunt (The Young Victoria) and Carey Mulligan, whose performance in An Education established her as an up-and-coming star.
Still, the Golden Globes did get most things right. A major theme of motion pictures in the last several years has been that of redemption. Last year, we had Mickey Rourke redeeming his career in The Wrestler, a film about a man attempting to redeem his career (and his relationship with his daughter). This year, it’s Jeff Bridges’ turn in Crazy Heart, and he won a Golden Globe for the role tonight.
If Hollywood remains true to itself, expect to see the life story of Drew Barrymore, who won a Golden Globe this year for her work in HBO’s biopic Grey Gardens, on a screen near you. Drew, memorably, had a wild childhood filled with drugs and debauchery, but has since established her career as an actress and producer. Or perhaps, even more likely than Drew’s life story is that of career and life redemption arc of Robert Downey, Jr., a fact not lost on the man himself as he noted in perhaps the most memorable acceptance speech (for Sherlock Holmes) in years, when he thanked longtime supporter (and producer and director) Joel Silver for resurrecting his career twelve times in its 25 years.
It would break my heart to see Downey return to the life he had before his latest and most lasting redemption, but in the meantime, I’m going to soak up every enjoyable moment of his profound talent.
And thanks to him for redeeming the Golden Globes.