Sunday, January 12, 2014
When I think of the Golden Globes, I think of Kate Winslet. No, no, no, not her gushing, gloriously over-earnest speeches when she scored two statues for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress back in 2009. I’m talking about this year. I’m talking about how she’s been nominated for Best Actress for “Labor Day”, a film which no one outside L.A. County has even seen. Hell, can we be factually sure the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has even seen it? Okay, they probably have (possibly), but let’s say for the sake of the argument that they have not. Is that such a bad thing? No. It’s not, and it’s not because by nominating Kate Winslet, this ensures NBC can offer multiple shots of Kate Winslet during the telecast. Now I don’t know about you, but I know myself, and hell be damn sure when I watch the Golden Globes I want Kate the Great to be at them. This is not about achievements in the medium, you see, this is about Hollywood putting on its Office Christmas Party roughly a month late. Kate the Great is an invaluable member of the Hollywood team. She should be at the party.
The Golden Globes air this evening on NBC. This means it’s time for critics who bemoan how awards don’t really “matter” to bemoan an awards show, which seems entirely arbitrary since an awards show’s entire purpose is to bestow awards. But they have to bitch about something, I suppose, and the Golden Globes and shameless schmoozing will do for today. To Twitter with the pitchforks!!! The Golden Globes, however, have never not been shy about their non-altruistic intent. That’s why they don’t keep the cocktails off screen. They’re on the table in HD, part of the show. The ceremony itself was originally a monotone affair of no great import until in 1958 The Rat Pack, bored stiff, decided to spruce up the proceedings, hijacked the stage and improvised as boozy masters of the ceremonies. Why if you listen closely today you can practically hear an incredulous Frank from the grave tell the latest lameazoid to point out the GG’s irrelevance on account of Madonna’s statue for Evita to 1997 to “lighten the fuck up, pal, and have a drink, why don’t you?”
Every article that hits the web around this time includes a variation of the history of the Golden Globes rise to prominence, and each variation will note how the Hollywood Foreign Press created itself to specifically in order to have greater access to the top actors of the day. Perhaps their intent was noble, to write in-depth think pieces about their craft and creations, or perhaps their intent was merely starry-eyed, to create an association to hand out some awards to hob-nob with Hollywood’s best and best-dressed once a year. I think that means I’m supposed to criticize them, to accuse them of simply finding an organizational excuse to host a bitchin’ party, but I’d rather not, thanks.
And yes, I'm fully aware a film critic’s role is meant to dissect the movie world’s various products and offer analysis regarding respective quality and content. But I sometimes fear that such incessant analysis loses sight of cinema’s utterly essential escapism. This is why over the years I have come to appreciate David Thomson more than any other film critic/historian/essayist, because he seems the one most willing to both critique films and revel in their inherent Movieness. These are important distinctions to make, and it is important to distinguish the Golden Globes as being more part of the Movies than part of Filmmaking, if you catch my drift.
Which brings me back to Kate the Great. Her real name, as established earlier, is, of course, Kate Winslet, whom I humbly believe to be our finest working actress. Except when presented and seated, champagne flute in hand, at the Golden Globes, she is a Star - i.e. Kate the Great. Call me star struck and rule me out of order, fine, but I’m willing to forsake my role as wannabe film critic for one (or two, counting the Oscars) night each year to merely be a movie fan. And as a movie fan, I supremely appreciate the chance to be a fly on the wall by sitting on the couch in my pajama pants of Hollywood’s Office Christmas Party. Because Christmas Parties are not truly consequential to a company’s production or quality. Rather they are a chance to cut loose, take it easy, party up, and sing some karaoke.
Which is why the Golden Globes really need to add a karaoke segment. If Kate the Great could just belt out a little Lita Ford tonight, I’d be the happiest guy not in the room.