Before I get into what happened at the Golden Globes this year, I think I need to address some personal issues. Consider this the weird narrative that comes before an online recipe when you’re thinking, Why are you talking about your son’s third birthday? I just want to know how long to put this chicken in the oven… But I promise there is a point.
My morning routine consists of me waking up about a half an hour before my morning class that day and spending at least a third of that time swiping through the DailyMail Discover Story on Snapchat. The story always consists of a random celebrity leaving the gym or getting a smoothie, something wildly barbaric and something about Meghan Markle. I know this doesn’t sound like the healthiest way to start one’s day, and trust me I know that. I guess I started doing it under the guise of keeping up with pop culture. But my greatest critique as of late is the complete lack of content tabloid magazines have these days. Due to the pandemic, there is little to no actual news about new arts or media outside of the odd celebrity Instagram post or Twitter battle.
This brings me to the Golden Globes.
Finally, I remember thinking. At least there will be a source of actual content for once. So the question remains, did the Golden Globes deliver?
Well, yes and no.
Watching the program was satisfying enough. There were equal amounts of snubs, surprise wins and feelings of “Oh man, I should really watch that” scattered throughout, which is what I mostly look for in award shows. It was par for the course.
I particularly enjoyed the fact that, due to the pandemic, actors were broadcasted into the show from their own homes, so we got to see stars dressed to the nines in their own living rooms, surrounded by their families. It was a sweet touch and led to iconic moments like watching Al Pacino doze off in his chair and Jason Sudeikis show up wearing a tie-dye sweatshirt.
As for the actual results of the show, I’m happy to report that “Emily in Paris” took home exactly zero accolades (the very fact it was nominated made me extremely upset). The more legitimate snubs from the night include Viola Davis for Best Actress for her role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Maria Bakalova for her breakout role in “Borat’s Subsequent Moviefilm” and all the actors in David Fincher’s “Mank,” which had established stars like Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried.
I would argue that for all of these losses there were equally deserving wins, like Andra Day’s Best Actress win for her role as Billie Holiday in “The United States v. Billie Holiday,” Rosamund Pike’s win for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for her role in “I Care A Lot” and Daniel Kaluuya’s win for Best Supporting Actor in any Motion Picture for his role in “Judas and the Black Messiah.”
These were all phenomenal films, and I felt proud to watch them get recognition for their work. Of course, I was also proud to see “Schitt’s Creek” win Best TV Comedy series, though I wasn’t as surprised given its Emmy Awards sweep earlier this year.
I suppose my real disappointment with the Golden Globes stems from my own expectations. I’ve felt confused about why we even have award shows anymore as they don’t feel like a real metric of measuring art. Despite this, I hoped the Golden Globes would prove me wrong by at least kicking off conversations about contested wins and introducing me to new media I passed over over the past year. While the latter was achieved to an extent — I definitely need to see “I Know This Much Is True” and “Small Axe” — conversations I’ve had regarding the results have tended to fall flat.
This is an observation I’ve realized is tied to the fact that DailyMail completely ignored the Golden Globes — apart from calling out some poorly chosen outfits. This isn’t to say that DailyMail is the pinnacle of journalism, the litmus test for what is worth talking about regarding relentless pop culture and celebrities, but its subject matter is designed to include controversial and attention-seeking material. This lack of award show content within tabloids only cements how vanilla and borderline archaic the entire concept of an award show is. Sometimes I have to ask myself why award shows are even relevant anymore. It seems with every passing year, particularly during this pandemic year, the idea of patting Hollywood titans on the back seems like a pointless charade.
While I was proud of some of the Golden Globes wins, it wasn’t an enrapturing feeling — I was equally proud to watch a stranger successfully jaywalk when I was people-watching out of my window this morning. I think it’s more worthwhile spending the time you would have spent watching an award show simply watching one of the programs that was nominated and deciding how you feel about it yourself.
If I was running an award show in 2021, I would seriously reevaluate how to reaffirm the prestige of my awards so it seems like there are greater stakes. Why should the average person care who wins or loses? This year, more people are watching and streaming television, and yet the Golden Globes saw a 60% decrease in viewership. This reflects a serious shift in the values held by viewers — I think we’ve all realized there are more exciting things to watch.
We’ll have to see if award shows can break out of their hollow molds and do something that deserves our attention again.
Daily Arts Writer Sarah Rahman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.