Globes don’t glitter
Award season has officially kicked off with Sunday’s Golden Globes and this year there are enough televised ceremonies to make one’s head spin.
Somewhere in the midst of all of the People’s Choice, SAG, Tony Awards, Grammy Awards and Emmys, your average TV viewer is exhausted before the “official” season even begins.
Yet they still manage to draw a crowd. Never mind that award show ratings have been falling for years — the major award shows are still some of the most watched events annually.
Last year, 37 million people tuned in to the Academy Awards and 17 million watched the Golden Globes.
To most of us these numbers are likely surprising — after all, who hasn’t heard the groans when the advertisements begin? Many viewers find awards season tedious and shallow, especially the Golden Globes.
There are some good reasons for this. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the voting body for Golden Globes, lacks the prestige of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The HFPA has only 90 members selected from journalists and critics outside the US that write about US media and film. By contrast, the Academy is composed of more than 6,000 voters that work or have worked in the film industry.
The Globes have also been accused of voting based on star power rather than in the interest of a specific performance and being open to influence. The most famous scandal occurred in 1981 when little-known actress Pia Zadora won the Newcomer of the Year award, despite that the film for which she was nominated had not been released in the US in time to be considered for the Globes.
Many believed Zadora’s millionaire husband Meshulam Riklis bribed members of the HFPA with lavish parties and trips to Las Vegas in exchange for their votes. Standards for Globe voters are now stricter.
But are the Oscars really that much better? The Academy is criticized every year for voting politically. They tend to prefer prestige films and reward actors for career achievements or perceived previous snubs rather than the nominated performance.
As a result, the more casual Golden Globes sometimes make the better pick. Last year, prestige powerhouse “The King’s Speech” took home the big prize at the Oscars, but “The Social Network,”which was largely considered the better film, won out at the Golden Globes.
In 2005, the same occurred when blatant Oscar-bait “Crash” took home the Oscar while the Ang Lee film “Brokeback Mountain” took home the Globe.
Ultimately, the films that stand the test of time could escape the notice of all the award shows and not to their detriment. These ceremonies do not shape film history and the Globes do not pretend to.
The evening is about entertainment and Rick Gervais offending people, but that doesn’t keep us from watching. Award shows are a fantastic marketing tool for all of the DVDs and resumes stamped “Academy Award Winning.”
They’re also a great showcase for designers and fashion labels to make their name. Yes, award season is long, unnecessary, self-aggrandizing and more than a bit shallow — but it can also be a lot of fun.
If you enjoy the pageantry of the evening or just check the winners later on, enjoy the red carpet without guilt this season. There will be plenty of time for seriousness on Monday morning.
Emily Brooks is an economics senior and may be reached at [email protected]