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Michael Russnow

Michael Russnow

Posted: January 18, 2010 07:04 AM

The Golden Globes a Disappointment: Gervais was Mixed and Lots of Winners Weren't Prepared

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The Golden Globe awards are often the best of the awards shows, because they're more freewheeling and it appears no one really takes them seriously. While they are viewed as a prognosticator for the Oscars, their results are mixed.
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They gave the Best drama award to Brokeback Mountain, while the Oscar went to Crash. Same with The Aviator, whereas Million Dollar Baby got the Oscar. For the year 2007, Atonement won the Globe , but the Oscar was awarded to No Country for Old Men. A few years ago, Babel beat The Departed, which went on to win the Academy Award.

The list goes on, but it's not a major problem, as various awards organizations be they critics associations or unions like SAG and the WGA usually conflict in many of the awards.

For me, anticipation of Ricky Gervais as the first emcee in over a decade made the show somewhat of a letdown. Perhaps it's unfair, as the hype would almost be impossible to live up to. He wasn't bad, but I'd call it a middling effort with some of his material spot-on, but quite a bit more was flat, including a threadbare bit to promote his films and TV shows, which went on much too much. Plus, there were times it appeared he wasn't even prepared and was ill at ease -- and not in a comic sense.

His appearances as a presenter on previous awards shows such as the Emmys were hysterical, and perhaps it would be best for him to go back to such focused and sprightly moments, which were delights. As a full-fledged host, he just didn't have the right stuff.

As for the pacing of the show, director Chris Donovan got a number of things wrong, including showing Leonardo DiCaprio instead of Jeff Bridges, who was being announced as Best Actor-drama nominee for Crazy Heart. Maggie Gyllenhaal wasn't even introduced, just suddenly appeared to give a pitch for donations to the suffering in Haiti. And didn't Donovan rehearse presenter Felicity Huffman, who didn't seem to know what she was doing?

He also showed outsized prejudice towards many of the winners, cueing the orchestra to give them the hook, whereas he let others, usually the actors, go on and on, and on and on some of them did.

For starters, the first award recipient Mo'Nique, the expected winner as supporting actress for Precious, took her sweet time waddling her way to the podium. A really long time. Not because she was so far away, but she clearly milked the moment. I find it hard to believe it was not a conceit, followed by a more than 2-minute speech.

She was impassioned and self-indulgent and took advantage of the audience's generosity, blaming her rambling on not wanting to make herself look egotistical as if she expected to win. Is she kidding? She was the favorite. Doesn't she have a PR representative to clue her in?

And she's not the only one. Comedy Actress winner Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia) spoke for three minutes in a bit of a daze. With all the awards she has, can't she come prepared? I'm sorry. Yes, she's an icon, but she could have taken a lesson from The Blindside Drama Actress winner Sandra Bullock, who, though her speech wasn't short, it appeared brisk, as if she cared enough to engage us while thanking the requisite folks who'd helped her. And kudos to Motion Picture Comedy Actor winner Robert Downey, Jr. for Sherlock Holmes, whose schtick was very, very funny.

Best director James Cameron for Avatar also went on too long, over two minutes. None of the aforementioned people were musically interrupted, whereas the poor animation winner for Up was urged to get off very soon, as were the winners for foreign film, Germany's The White Ribbon and musical scoring for Up, plus Up in the Air writers Sheldon Turner and Jason Reitman. And it was very surprising that supporting actor winner Christoph Waltz, the wonderful Austrian who stole every scene in Inglorious Basterds, was also musically shown the door. I guess if the production staff has never heard of you or can't pronounce your name they assume the audience couldn't care less. Yet the actor, now becoming familiar to American audiences gave a very charming speech, however flustered by Donovan's cheap shot.

The Grey Gardens producers hogged the stage after winning for Best Mini-Series, and after one of them endlessly talked it seemed the second one would just say thank you. But then she wouldn't stop. Yes, the music played, but never got louder, so you had to wonder what was the point? Were they just serenading them?

Drew Barrymore babbled on, winning TV Mini-Series Lead Actress for HBO's Grey Gardens, whereas classy lead dramatic series actor Michael C. Hall of Showtime's Dexter somehow managed to give his thanks in less than a minute. And TV supporting actress winner Chloe Sevigny of Big Love was a bitch, actually lambasting the poor guy who helped her onto the stage, because he'd accidentally stepped on her gown. Wasn't it her own fault for wearing a train? Was she going to her wedding afterward dressed as a bride?

Long speeches can sometimes be effective and emotional, but few were so this evening. A lesson can be learned from Martin Scorsese, who, in over three and a half minutes, was precise and to the point, schooling us in the importance of film preservation and the legend of Cecil B. DeMille, whose name emblazoned the career achievement award he'd just been given. Yes, he knew of the honor beforehand, but everyone nominated is a professional and should be courteous enough to take the time to plan and not steal precious moments from those later on. My only complaint re Scorsese's tribute came at the end of the film montage, which gave undue emphasis and was more of a trailer, for his soon to be released film, Shutter Island.

And, though her speech was generally fine, how is it that Julianna Margulies, a deserved winner for CBS' The Good Wife, in thanking her producers, mentioned Ridley and Tony Scott, David Zucker and Brooke Kennedy, but not executive producers Robert and Michelle King, who had also written the pilot which provided her with a job?

So, for me the Globes telecast was a mixed bag. Overly long, with a few pointed moments by Gervais and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who both poked fun of the NBC late night comedy shows fiasco, made more intriguing considering the awards telecast was broadcast on that network.

Michael Russnow's website is www.ramproductionsinternational.com

 
 
 

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