' ' Cinema Romantico: Ray of Light

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Ray of Light

The 2021 Golden Globes were not canceled, merely rescheduled for late February, much like the 2021 Academy Awards were rescheduled for late April. I know, as a Very Serious Critic™ I am legally mandated to issue a complaint about the fraudulent Globes and their celebrity obsessed governing body, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), but, as I have said so many times before, I can’t bring myself to complain about an event as transitory as Hollywood’s Office Christmas Party. I can walk and chew gum at the same time; I can evaluate art and appreciate Emma Thompson walking onstage at the Beverly Hilton with her heels in one hand and a martini in the other. And boy, I missed the Globes this year, given how recently they have always fallen right at the end of the worst week of the year, the one after New Year’s, this little bright spot in a room where the Christmas tree no longer stands and everything seems so vast and helpless. I wanted to imagine what Meryl Streep and Eddie Murphy were talking about between commercials; I wanted those weird little moments you only get at the Globes.

Weird moments like the 1998 Globes, an all-timer, when Ving Rhames gave his Golden Globe to Jack Lemmon just because he was Jack Lemmon, which seemed to deftly toe the line between both truly honoring Lemmon in Rhames’s own strange way and commentary on how getting a Globe in the first place doesn’t mean all that much, and Christine Lahti being in the bathroom when she won Best Lead Actress in a Dramatic TV Series. That last one is mentioned a lot. Less frequently mentioned is the 2010 Golden Globes when country western singer/songwriter Ryan Bingham missed winning Best Original Song for “The Weary Kind” in “Crazy Heart.” Bingham, however, was not in the bathroom; he was at the bar, getting some beers to bring back to his table. 

It has been a trying, terrible 10 months. And yet even as the pandemic continues to rage and American democracy teeters, as our psyches splinter and we are put on edge day after day, we are being tasked with maintaining the machines of capitalism like everything is normal, which merely doubles our pre-existing exhaustion, as Anne Helen Peterson wrote, if not quite in those words, smashingly, though sadly, on the recent nadir of America’s productivity obsession. I am not asking for us not to be vigilant, and I would like to think everybody here knows that, I am just asking for us to bring more of that Ryan Bingham being at the bar when his Golden Globes win was announced kind of energy, to eschew compulsion for nothing but the result, to allow space to switch off and recuperate, to say: give me a goddam minute. 

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