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Marshall Fine

Marshall Fine

Posted: January 17, 2011 09:55 AM

I'm ready to start a Facebook campaign to dump Anne Hathaway and James Franco as hosts of this year's Oscars to give the job to Ricky Gervais.

Snarly responses from his targets aside, Gervais was the only thing that made the patently bogus Golden Globe Awards broadcast bearable Sunday night.

Obviously, Hollywood stars don't like to have their praise parade rained on by a comedian calling, "Bulls**t!" from the opening minutes of the whole proceedings. But really -- what other sane response was there?

Tom Hanks and Tim Allen were only the last in a parade of celebrity presenters who obviously didn't like being the target of Gervais' pointed remarks. Yet Gervais was the evening's one bright spot -- except for Robert De Niro's unexpectedly funny speech accepting the group's Cecil B. DeMille award. De Niro mocked the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as people who existed mostly to present awards and have their photos taken with the stars. His speech was obviously written for him -- but De Niro delivered it with conviction.

His point -- and it's the truth -- was that the HFPA is a joke. There have been endless articles about just how tangential its members are to actual press coverage of Hollywood, how they accept trips, gifts and other gratuities in exchange for their support of certain unworthy films.

The most famous example, of course, is their presentation of their New Star of the Year award to Pia Zadora in 1982. The most recent? Nominations for The Tourist and Burlesque, two of the most roundly skewered films of 2010.

So for Gervais to mock the HFPA as tasteless, bribe-taking toadies -- well, the truth hurts, right? And then to take the air out of the various celebrities in the room -- hey, what's the matter? Too important to be mocked, Tim Allen and Bruce Willis?

Until NBC began airing them, the Golden Globes were just another meaningless step in the run-up to the Oscars. As it is, the Globes are simply This Week's Awards Show. There seems, literally, to be an awards show per week from the beginning of January until the beginning of March, when the Oscars present statuettes to movies that have already outlived their sell-by date in the public consciousness.

I repeat, the HFPA is a joke -- and so are the Golden Globes. So, in turn, are those who enable them by pretending that they mean something. But because they are a cash cow for NBC, they wear a mantle of legitimacy conferred by the simple act of being televised on an actual network.

So good on you, Ricky Gervais. I read what apparently was meant as an unflattering comparison of Gervais' performance at this year's Globes to Stephen Colbert's daringly on-target performance at the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner.

But Gervais was brilliant with the little time he was given. If anything, there should have been more of him and less of the other crap.

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