Before the Golden Globes begin at 5:00 on Sunday afternoon at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, we should all get a few things straight.
First, the Globes are chosen by only about 80 people – the voting members of the 85-member Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which is made up of full and part-time journalists covering Hollywood for foreign publications. (A handful of them aren’t eligible to vote.) They’re working to change their tattered image, but they’ve never been the most credible group, and their imprimatur certainly doesn’t make a winning film any better or a loser any worse.
Second, winning the Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama on Sunday would not make “Boyhood” or “Selma,” or “The Imitation Game,” or anything else the slightest bit more likely to land Oscar nominations, or to win the Best Picture Oscar six weeks from now.
Oscar ballots, after all, were all turned in three days ago. And by the time final Oscar voting begins on Feb. 6, even the Academy members who’ll still remember what won the top Globes won’t care, and certainly won’t use that knowledge to influence their own votes.
See photos: Golden Globes 2015: The Nominees (Photos)
If you want an award that will mean something in predicting this year’s Oscar race, wait for the Producers Guild Award on Jan. 24.
So as long as we can get that straight – this is a weird and small group of voters; their judgment isn’t authoritative; they don’t influence the Oscars – we can enjoy the party.
And that’s what the Globes want us to do, anyway. I mean, which of these sets of Golden Globe factoids do we remember more?
A. “Avatar” beat “The Hurt Locker” … “The Social Network” beat “The King’s Speech” … and “Atonement” beat “No Country for Old Men.”
B. Ricky Gervais made fun of Robert Downey Jr. and lots of other stars when he hosted … Jodie Foster kinda sorta came out in her speech last year … and Christine Lahti once won a Globe when she was in the bathroom.
The answer is B, of course. The Globes are about looseness first and foremost; they’re about what’s said far more than they’re about who wins.
So yeah, some people care if “Boyhood” can ride its wave of critical awards to a Golden Globe victory, or if “Birdman” can hold off the big musical “Into the Woods” and the unexpectedly popular “Grand Budapest Hotel” to win the Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical category.
But more people care if Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are going to make jokes about Bill Cosby, and if the rain will turn the red carpet into a soggy mess, and if any stars will take the stage visibly inebriated.
“The more they drink, the better the show,” a longtime show crew member told me this week – and can you imagine a staffer at the Oscars plying the talent with liquor to make the show looser and livelier? I can’t.
Hell, once the Oscars start the Academy makes you pay for your drinks in the lobby bar. At the Globes, you don’t even have to leave your seat to get free booze.
So what happens on Sunday night won’t tell us much about the movies in contention or the awards race in general. Maybe, for what it’s worth, it’ll tell us a bit about the HFPA – whether they want to go along with the mainstream critical opinion and vote for “Boyhood,” or make a statement about the tension in our streets today by voting for “Selma.”
They’ll announce predictable winners and surprise winners, some people will try to act as if it all means something, and by the time Oscar nominations are announced four days later, it’ll all mostly be forgotten.
There will be time later to keep asking how this particular group of people got the power to make all of Hollywood show up to their party, but for now we might as well have another drink.