2011 Golden Globes: Nikki's Non-Analysis

Here I am, only for informational purposes, posting the 2011 Golden Globes nominations held by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association with the awards to be broadcast live on NBC on January 16th. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: it’s a completely meaningless awards show by a scandal-riddled organization on a network desperate for ratings. That’s why I opt out of analyzing the nominations every year: because the Golden Globes have zero integrity. Studios and networks who lavishly lobby the HFPA almost always score nominations. Stars win in direct correlation to their glamour quotient. Everything about the awards is geared towards hyping the media’s interest and the telecast’s ratings. Even the small motley group of 85 mostly freelancers who belong to the HFPA won’t grant membership to the real foreign journalists at the prestige newspapers across the world. That’s because the clique don’t want to dilute the financial bonanza they receive from the studios and networks who arrange exclusive interviews about the year’s movies and TV shows. NBC and Dick Clark Productions could clean up the Globes but choose not to.

Even the HFPA’s 17-year publicist Michael Russell who no longer has an association with the GGs sent a letter to HFPA president Philip Berk back in March (and only recently sent to me and others) accusing the organization of “a number of questionable business practices of the HFPA which we have brought directly to your attention this year that need to be changed or they would imperil both the telecast and the legitimacy and integrity of the organization if the news ever leaks out”. But Russell provided no specifics beyond a few marketing and advertising contretemps. Berk responded that these “undocumented allegations are false, and no more than the veiled and unfounded threats of a disgruntled former consultant”. Then again, let’s not forget that, in 1968, the Federal Communications Commission accused the HFPA of misleading the public as to how the winners were determined, alleging that Globe winners were determined by lobby and by who would show up to receive the award rather than blind poll. NBC subsequently refused to broadcast the awards until 1974.

Nowadays, the entire entertainment industry props up this pathetic broadcast because it’s seen as a night-long marketing tool. Therefore, it’s ridiculous for anyone to consider the movie categories as a window on the Oscar frontrunners, especially since only once in the in the last six years has the winner of one of the Golden Globe best film prizes gone on to win Best Picture at the Oscars (2008’s Slumdog Millionaire) though that came after an 8-year Globe/Oscar winning streak. So I refuse to treat these nominations with any seriousness. (And if you don’t want that, then for crissakes stop reading me… But do read my Deadline colleagues who will analyze today’s nominations.) The only reason I can think of to tune in is because, over the years, Jack Nicholson has mooned the audience, Jim Carrey has talked out of his butt, Christine Lahti was locked in the bathroom, and other unscripted weirdness occurs at this intimate dinner. Including 1982’s low point when Pia Zadora’s husband bought her best “New Star Of The Year”.

  1. Perfectly put Nikki. The Golden Globes is basically like the rich people (big studios) throwing themselves a giant party for being so amazing while the real unsung heroes (tiny budget films that don’t have the same level of distribution or star wattage) are left out of the loop.

    What a complete joke of an organization.

    1. TS3 HAD to be nominated or there would have been public and industry shock and outrage and thus their “paying for a nom” tactics would have been further brought into the light. Right now it’s just thing thing everyone knows but doesn’t talk about. Snubbing a flick like Toy Story 3 would have cause it all to be talked about, ridiculed, and then they would have been screwed because it would no longer be the elephant in the room, it’d be a damn zoo.

      1. Plus Sony paid to fly these so-called “journalists” to Las Vegas for an all-expense paid weekend to see Cher perform at Caesar’s Palace.

        Except for the unsuspecting American public, everyone in Hollywood is in on the joke that is the Golden Globes.

  2. I feel a little better about the nominations now that I read this. I’m just a movie fan girl and entertainment writer, so I didn’t know much about the background/inside info on them.

    Good to know. ;)

    1. The Tourist didn’t pay a cent. What happened was that publicity savvy star Angelina Jolie pulled aside Philip Berk and said, “I’ll offer you a quid pro quo. If you nominate me, Johnny, and the film, I’ll guarantee that we both – and Brad – show up at your show.” Otherwise she has nothing going on this year to advance her career, and she and the two guys have to keep up star appearances and plug their 2011 films. The Golden Globes and HFPA is a farce hoisted once a year by them and complicit NBC (and Hollywood) once a year. Everyone knows it’s a joke, but it gives undeserving movie stars an outlet for free publicity they would never get from the Oscars.

      1. ” . . . she has nothing going on this year to advance her career.”

        Exactly what cave did you crawl out of? Did you forget Jolie just had Salt this past summer? Did you forget Jolie just directed her first feature film? Sell your petty nonsense elsewhere. Jolie’s career needs no help from the HFPA.

      2. What a stinking pile of bilious venom! When exactly did this buttonholing of Berk occur? It sure doesn’t sound like the Angelina Jolie I know.

        In what universe do AJ and Brad Pitt need any career building assistance?

  3. The Oscars aren’t far behind…a marketing ploy masquerading as “celebrating cinema” or some such drivel.

  4. It is what it is.

    Hollywood’s first prom of the season where the attendees not only receive meaningless and rather ugly/cheap looking awards…they can get drunk doing it.

    And the public gets its first look at the Hollywood mentality that all that glitters is gold.

    The truly sad part is that the recipients actually believe their piece of gold means anything.

    I heard they did cancel the Bernie Madoff award for spinning the biggest pile of crap into gold.

    What a joke!

    The politics of the awards season has truly taken the shine off and away from much of the great filmmaking which is accomplished.

  5. Nikki most of the films Golden Globe nominated not all the public gets to see outside the spheres of New York and Los Angeles. Most lmited releases don’t get out in wide release for more the public to see. I stop watching the Golden Globes a long time ago. Why nominate a film which some of the American public gets but not all? Here’s an example Slumdog Millinaire I bet didn’t run in small nor medium markets. The closet release here in the southeast was Jackson,Ms. It’s like the distrubtures,indie producers,and others in the elite clique have stereotypical look at the rest of America as idiots. Which isn’t true I might add.
    Another mistake: Sony didn’t give the Social Network a much broader release. 2,000 cinemas? Give me break.
    Now another fault that turns some off at Golden Globes: some of the unnessarry political Anti-American speeches by the winners. That is a major turn off. May NBCU should rexamine the whys the ratings drop every year.

    1. Actually films like SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and SOCIAL NETWORK were available for wide playoff as they expanded. Maybe you need to blame your local theater operator—or better yet get together several hundred people who will guarantee to buy tickets to see there films so the theater owner realizes there is an audience to support quality movies.
      And certainly you were able to rent SLUMDOG on DVD and the same for SOCIAL NETWORK next spring. With VOD and DVD you can see the most esoteric films at home. It isn’t the theater experience, always my first choice, but be realistic—it is a business.

  6. Umm… did Colin Firth not win for “a Single Man” last year? Though the Oscars did not think him worthy. It was not a big studio film and Colin still (I don’t think) does not make a giant splash (like say, J. Depp) as far as name rec. goes. So, say wht you will. GG did right by Mr. Firth last year…

  7. I’m with you Nikki, this list of nominations is an absolute joke. Unlike you, however, I’m not above a bit of analysis, so here goes:
    BEST PICTURE – DRAMA
    They got this one pretty much right, though I think 127 Hours deserves to be here over The Fighter, as well as in the directing category. The film (127 Hrs) is all about it’s acting/directing/editing though, so I’m not sure how it got a screenplay nomination. It’s a true story with one page of dialogue. Where’s the screenplay exactly?
    BEST ACTRESS/ACTOR – DRAMA
    I’m happy the Blue Valentine actors were nominated, though I would’ve liked to have seen Robert Duvall recognized for Get Low over Wahlberg for The Fighter. 
    BEST PICTURE – COMEDY/MUSICAL
    This is where the nominations go FUBAR. I mean really really screwed up. With the exception of The Kids Are All Right, all of these movies were universally panned by critics and audiences alike. For a second I thought I was looking at the Razzie nominations! Where’s Toy Story 3? Are animated films ineligible for Best Picture? I agree it was a horrible year for comedy, but what about the more deserving Please Give, Solitary Man, Greenberg, Cyrus, Jackass 3D, or even the overrated but still better Easy A?! I’m surprised they didn’t nominate MacGruber for g-d’s sake!
    ACTRESS – COMEDY
    Jolie for The Tourist? Really?! And while Stone and Hathaway were perfectly competent, since when does mediocrity warrant recognition?? What about Marisa Tomei for Cyrus or Catherine Keener for Please Give? Two underappreciated actresses who deserve much more of the spotlight than they’re usually given. 
    ACTOR – COMEDY
    They should’ve just scrapped this category altogether this year. I don’t see one deserving nomination here, with the exception of Giamatti who, although I haven’t seen the film, is phenomenal in everything he does. It’s always nice to see him given a shout out. But where’s Michael Douglas (Solitary Man) and Ben Stiller (Greenberg)?
    SUPPORTING ACTOR
    Overall agree with these with the exception of Douglas who should have been nominated for Solitary Man and who has no business being recognized for the disappointing Wall Street 2. His spot should have gone to Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right), Tom Hardy (Inception), Vincent Cassel (Black Swan) or Armie Hammer (The Social Network).

    That’s pretty much all I have to say on the matter. I’m sure True Grit deserved to be nominated somewhere but I haven’t seen it so I can’t say. 

  8. Toy Story 3 is ineligible for Comedy/Musical. Because, you know, it’s animated. Not a real movie. Not like Avatar or anything.

  9. Most non entertainment biz population thinks of the gg as silly ostentatious frivolousness.
    The costumes are fun and always a few jokes.
    Chugs and hugs.

  10. While your thoughts are echoed by many, I don’t see that their nominations this year or any recent year are that different from anyone else’s. I think now its mostly the personal disgust and jealousy over HFPA’s influence that colors people’s opinions about the organization. I mean are they REALLY that much worse than most other award givers? They appear more elitest because of how small there I are I suppose. And they are, by and large pretty wretched people. Some people who I have known who are members and are decent people routinely tell me horror stories about the sinister doings of the other members. They loath and fear each other. Once, when I went as a guest of one of my friends to a premier, I was told to act like I didn’t know my friend…in case my presence would somehow be used against them by their enemies.

    They are largely poor, struggling and miserable slaves of the machine. Whoever gets all that broadcast money, it ain’t the members I’ve known. They have power but they don’t seem to be able to cash in on it in any meaningful way. They are wined and dined but its almost like they’re people getting free food from the Salvation Army as opposed to making bank. To give an example of the paradox, I went with one of the members to a screening on the Warners lot of a major tentpole motion picture. Though I was a nobody, everyone knew my name because I was with one of THEM. They were all REALLY nice to me. Because…who knows what INFLUENCE I could have as one of their friends eh? We went into the huge theater which was empty save for HFPA peeps. Many came by to say hi to my host and see if that person was ok. The film unspooled.

    After the film ended, we were all treated to a 4 star quality “lunch” and then shuttled off the lot. Little did they know how broke both of us were. How utilities were being shut off and worse. It’s all bullshit but they’ve been able to pull it off so far. At least as being able to get a lot of really nice handouts. But that’s all the members really get. No money. No real fame or journalistic respect(and some members actually do or did warrant it). I mean can anyone name an actual member?

    Criticize all you want but don’t level all the hate at the HFPA. They’re just a leg of a weird studio PR/Awards Triangle trade. I guess the publicists would make up the other leg. It seems to serve them all and it gives the media (including Deadline) something else to talk about during the winter since the government news makers are sleeping (of course..when aren’t they?).

  11. Ah yes, 85 part-time writers whose most important order of business when they show up on set (or at junkets) for roundtable interviews, is getting a picture taken with (or an autograph of) the movie star. While it’s all an embarrassment, what’s more cringe-inducing is the occasion when an actor wins a Golden Globe and then show actual emotion, as if this award means anything.

  12. How disappointing. I mean, it’s always politics, but there should still be some sort of honesty & integrity to the awards. I hope to one day be nominated, and I’d like that nomination to actually mean something.

    I’d be interested in your take on all (or most) awards…Oscars, BAFTAs, Tonys, etc. What about the Spirit awards?

  13. Why so serious Nikke? We’re talking about movie awards not Congress voting on Healthcare. All award shows are one big marketing ploy because if they weren’t they wouldn’t be held on tv.

  14. Completely agree with Nikki! However it’s always fun to watch celebraties get visibly drunk, everyone involved knows that these awards mean absolutely nothing in the long run, it’s just Hollywood fluff at its worst!

  15. Nikki nailed it, absolutely.

    When major awards lack integrity, everyone loses. It’s never been a fair game, of course, but the last decade has seen both the Globes and Oscars tainted beyond belief. And all for the Almighty Ad Dollar.

    The end result? The awards become about parties, raising one’s rates, and ad/product marketing, while culturally, and as a mark of excellence, they mean less and less every year.

    Very sad.

    EXAMPLE: Ask 100 people at mall who won Best Picture (Oscar) last year. Or the year before. I’ll even give you a stacked deck: Let’s make it a mall in LA, say, Century City or the Beverly Center.

    You might be lucky if 15% could remember the Best Picture Oscar from either year. Or worse yet, even CARE.

    Now, try that same survey trick at a mall in, say, Ohio. If you dare.

    I’m thinking the HFPA and the Academy “gets” this diminishing paradigm, and has resigned themselves to simply keeping the awards alive via tactics of Bread and Circuses, and for as long as they can.

    In the meantime, those parties are fantastic, right? So, let’s enjoy them while we can, as the paradigm burns itself to a dot.

  16. “Woody” in Toy Story 3 got screwed because: 1) he can’t walk down a red carpet, 2) he can’t get drunk in the ballroom before the cameras, 3) stories about him get no ink in in the HFPA’s home country of “Muldavia” where they have to get press clippings to get paid and get proof of worthiness to remain in the HFPA. NBC’s Standards and Practices has to police a contest such as Miss Universe because prize money is involved, but the Golden Globes dross statue means nothing at the bank.

  17. Hey don’t get me wrong, I think Simon Beaufoy did an outstanding job with Slumdog Millionaire; it’s one of my favorite films and I think the screenplay was the most important part of the movie. It’s just that with 127 Hours I didn’t think it was the screenplay that was important. I’m aware a screenplay is more than just the dialogue, that the story is if anything more important. But like I said, this is a true story! And a simple one at that: Guy goes biking, guy meets girls, guy leaves girls, guy gets arm stuck under rock, guy cuts off arm. And it’s all detailed in Ralston’s book. So if the story has already been completely mapped out before the script was written, and the script contained about a page of spoken word, I just don’t see where there was an amazing, nominatable script here. Again, I loved the film, but I thought the quality work here was done by Boyle, Franco and the editor.

  18. Except for the fact that Cher wasn’t nominated for an award. Her song was but Diane Warren would be the one to accept it. Why are people so surprised that the only musical to come out all year would get musical nominations? One could argue it’s spot as a best picture contender, but the original song nominations were well deserved. Heck, even “Nine” got multiple nominations last year and it was a massive critical and commercial bomb. Of all the films to make the cut in the musical/comedy category, Burlesque was the easiest one to predict for nominations from the GG. I’m way more surprised at the love for The Tourist.

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