Monday, Apr 23, 2018
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Kirk Baird

Not so Golden: Annual awards show has the feel of a popularity contest

Welcome to the Blade blog Culture Shock, a three-times-a-week riff by Pop Culture Editor Kirk Baird on pop culture news, events, and trends. The blog will appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings here, with the odd night or off-day posting if something is merited.

Avatar as best dramatic film. The Hangover as best comedy film. Sandra Bullock as best actress in a drama. James Cameron as best director.

There's a reason I don't watch the Golden Globes. Frankly, the only reason I tuned in to last night's gem of an award show, the 67th annual Golden Globes, was for blog material. From a cynical critical perspective, I wasn't disappointed.

The Golden Globes, to me, is the equivalent of a cheerleader tryout: It's about popularity as much as anything else.

Not to take away from the previously mentioned winners, but does anyone who's seen The Blindside and Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire really put Bullock's performance ahead of Gabourey Sidibe? Bullock is great for Bullock, as a sassy Southern woman who inspires and is inspired by a homeless teen turned football star. But Sidibe's performance as Precious, an illiterate teenage girl who has been repeatedly molested by her father, haunts you long after you have left the theater.

Bullock's Globe win will go down as another Julia Roberts award, given to a hardworking, cute actress who isn't quite as talented or chameleon-like as many of her peers, but showed courage by stepping into a dramatic role. It certainly helped Bullock's chances that The Blindside was seen by considerably more people than Precious and was the biggest surprise hit film of the holidays.

The Hangover was funny, though it dragged in the middle. (500) Days of Summer, which was beat out by The Hangover in the best comedy or musical category, happened to be the smartest romantic comedy since, perhaps, Annie Hall. Seriously. But The Hangover was one of the highest-grossing films of the year and a sequel is already in the works. So, advantage The Hangover.

I did enjoy Avatar, but it's one of Cameron's lesser efforts, and certainly his weakest script. Groundbreaking visuals and theater technology does not make for best drama of the year. If the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a group of nearly 90 reporters who cover show business for overseas outlets, wanted to acknowledge Cameron's arduous task in making Avatar with a best director nod, I could accept that. I may not agree with it, but I could accept it. But not best drama.


If Avatar wasn't on its way to possibly supplanting Titanic as the biggest movie of all time, there's no way it gets this award ... probably doesn't even get a nomination. But this is the Globes, where popularity counts for as much as anything else.

Now that I've vented my spleen at those Golden Globe winners ... I do applaud their awarding Mo'Nique best supporting actress (Precious), Meryl Streep best actress in a comedy or musical (Julie & Julia), and Christoph Waltz best supporting actor Inglourious Basterds.

But my favorite award of the night went to Jeff Bridges for his memorable and moving portrayal of a washed-up country singer in Crazy Heart. I can only hope this Globe for best actor in a drama helps his chances for that deserved and ever-elusive first Oscar.

Other than those award winners -- and a much-deserved win for Michael C. Hall for his brilliant work as a serial killer avenger in Showtime's drama, Dexter -- the best part of the Globes was its host, Ricky Gervais. The British comic was funny and inspired for most of the night, and wasn't afraid to take shots at some of the stars around him, including Mel Gibson:

"I like a drink as much as the next man, unless the next man is Mel Gibson," Gervais said as he introduced Gibson, who famously was arrested for drunken driving and then launching into a tirade against Jews a few years ago.

Gibson, known for his sense of humor, seemed to laugh off the joke. Others, though, didn't seem to care for Gervais's cutting remarks.

It's safe to say the comic won't be winning any popularity contests after Sunday night's performance. Which means Gervais's chance at winning another Golden Globe diminished considerably.

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LINK: For all of Kirk Baird's Culture Shock riffs

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