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Golden Globes: a joke, a fraud, utterly predictable

It’s always difficult for me to sit through the Golden Globes. Not because it doesn’t make for interesting television — it’s almost always more fun than the Oscars, thanks to those upside-down Moet bottles in ice buckets on every table — but because the Globes are a big fat f------ fraud. Everybody seems to know that, but nobody seems to care any more. But I did catch most of Sunday night’s farce, I mean festivities, on TiVo.

What a joke. And I’m not just talking about Ricky Gervais saying the award for best special effects should “go to the team that airbrushed the [Sex and the City 2] poster.”

I’ve said it 147 times before, and I have to say it one more time: The Hollywood Foreign Press Association sounds like some august body created by the United Nations, but in reality it’s a group of about 90 journalists, some of whom don’t even work full-time covering the industry or reviewing films. As Robert De Niro noted in his bite-the-hand-that-feted-you speech, a lot of them are more interested in posing for photos with stars than in performing actual journalism or criticism.

Just last week, a former publicist for the Globes sued the HFPA, claiming fraud and payola.

From Sharon Waxman of the Wrap: The lawsuit, filed by Michael Russell, validates criticisms that have dogged the HFPA for years — that Berk has repeatedly rebuffed attempts to open up the membership to a wider number of people, and to halt corrupt practices.

It states that Berk would not do so because it would endanger his own perks as an HFPA member.

“Berk refused to do so because he and the HFPA were profiting from the existing arrangements,” the lawsuit states.

When Berk was introduced on Sunday, we were told he writes for FilmInk in Australia and Galaxie in Malaysia. Good for him, even if the latter is a breathless fanzine with lots of pullout posters and glossy pics.

Although I was one of the few critics that actually enjoyed “The Tourist,” I had to join the chuckling when Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp received Globe nominations. The HFPA might as well have issued a statement saying, “Of course, we don’t think ‘The Tourist’ is awards material. We just want those two fabulous stars to show up!”

And show up they did — along with Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, the cast of “Glee,” Michael Douglas, Natalie Portman, Christina Aguilera, Colin Firth, Mark Wahlberg, Robert Pattinson and dozens upon dozens of Hollywood’s biggest names.

All buying into the notion that if you get as few as 25 votes from this ramshackle collection of journalists, you get a trophy and you get to go onstage and bask in the applause from your fellow celebrities, knowing there will now be even more Oscar buzz surrounding you.

Virtually every winner performed the same ritual: first you look stunned, then you hug your tablemates, then you make your way to the stage, where you express astonishment that you’re in the same room with Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons, and you can’t believe amazing company you’re in and that the other nominees are all great inspirations to you, and what an amazing journey it’s been, and thanks to my agents and my director and my castmates and oh yeah whatever the guy’s name was who wrote the script, and now they’re playing that music which means I have to stop talking, so thanks once again, and I’m now I’m going to turn the wrong way before they lead me offstage.

Nearly all of the women looked far too tanned and far too thin. Some of them were so heavily made-up, worked-out and gussied up, They looked more like animated versions of themselves than actual people. Wasn’t it like six months ago that Emma Stone was this cute but regular-looking gal who could have been your neighbor’s daughter or a college student working at Starbucks?

Now, she looks like...someone else. Jaime Pressley maybe?

The ceremony itself was pretty much like every other awards ceremony, with the Thank God Ricky Gervais was such an a------. At least he pumped some uncomfortable electricity into the room, as he rattled off the lesser-known films of presenters, ripped Cher, introduced Bruce Willis as “Ashton Kutcher’s dad” and made light of the partying ways of Charlie Sheen and Robert Downey Jr.

If Kathy Griffin did the same routine for a cable special, nobody would have blinked. But that Gervais had the balls to make fun of “The Tourist” in front of Brangelina, that he brought a glass of wine to the podium, that he didn’t seem to give a flying bleep that his routine wasn’t exactly killing — it made for interesting viewing. (Also entertaining, albeit unintentionally: the sometimes painfully obvious, sometimes utterly inexplicable choice of shots. Annette Bening wins the Golden Globe for portraying a lesbian —quick, cut to Jane Lynch, she’s a lesbian! On other occasions, we’d see shots of Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgewick, or Tom Hanks, or Tina Fey, and it had nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the moment at hand.)

After Gervais introduced Downey, the “Iron Man” superstar could have been speaking for the more sensitive superegos in the room when he said, “Aside from the fact that it’s been hugely mean-spirited with mildly sinister undertones, I’d say the vibe of the show has been pretty good so far, wouldn’t you?”

Other celebs weren’t the least bit offended by Gervais’ routine, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

As for the awards: utterly predictable. Just about everyone and everything that won at the Globes will win Oscar as well. Maligned as the HFPA might be, they pretty much got it “right,” i.e., they’re in tune with most of the Top 10 lists and critics’ awards that have been handed out to date. “The Social Network” won Best Picture, and it’ll win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Natalie Portman and Colin Firth won the big acting trophies — as they will in February. Globes winners Christian Bale and Melissa Leo aren’t locks in the supporting categories — but they’re serious contenders. (Bale is the frontrunner.)

So even though the Globes shouldn’t be taken seriously and shouldn’t be considered as a trendsetting precursor to the Oscars, that’s exactly what they are.

And this much you can take to the bank: no matter how much James Franco and Anne Hathaway bring the fun as the co-hosts of the Oscars, they won’t be 1/10th as mean-spirited and sinister as Mr. Gervais.



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