No Best Picture nomination for The Dark Knight or Milk? Tom Cruise for Best Supporting Actor? What about James Franco getting nominated for a prestigious award for Pineapple Express? (At least that gives us a definitive answer to the age-old question: "What were they smoking when they came up with these nominees?")
Relax, people. This is just the Golden Globes. I know they didn't exactly happen last year due to the writers' strike, but you remember the Globes, right? It's that swanky celebrity party that Hollywood disguises as an awards show so producers can get it televised. It's the one where the stars sit at round tables with their cast mates and drink champagne all night long. It's the one where Robin Williams sometimes has to crash the stage to accept awards on behalf of the true winners who missed hearing their names called because they were in the bathroom. It's the one that even invites TV stars to attend (although they are required to sit in the back).
It's a bright, shiny event that everyone makes a big fuss out of as a predictor of the Oscars. But really, the only thing that the Globes and the Oscars have in common is that they both have red carpets full of finely attired movie stars. The Globes only sometimes get it right. Their track record is actually kind of pathetic when you consider the fact that since they break up most of the major awards into drama and comedy divisions -- thus, ending up with almost twice the number of nominees than the Oscars -- they have nearly double the chances of getting it right.
Last year, the Globes handed out Best Picture trophies to Atonement (drama) and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (musical/comedy). No Country for Old Men went on to win the Oscar for Best Picture. Sweeney Todd wasn't even nominated. They also picked Cate Blanchett from I'm Not There over Michael Clayton's Tilda Swinton for Best Supporting Actress. For Best Director, they favored Julian Schnabel (for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) over the Coen brothers. They even failed to give a Best Screenplay award to the one person who was considered a lock for an Oscar in any category last year -- Juno's Diablo Cody.
So don't cry for Batman or Harvey Milk. We haven't seen the last of those guys yet. Instead of indulging in righteous anger over shameful snubs, let's try to remember what we love about the Globes: They're usually a much more fun and unpredictable telecast than the Oscars, and they have a better track record of making movie fans happy than they do of predicting the Oscars. In years past, the Globes was the one awards show where movies like Moulin Rouge and Almost Famous got the hardware I felt they deserved. Both of these movies went on to receive Oscar nominations for Best Picture, but they had no chance of winning against the brand of dour dramas the Academy usually favors.
This year, think how joyfully vindicated all the Mamma Mia! fans will feel if their beloved musical wins a Golden Globe for Best Picture. And seriously, how could anyone root against Franco being rewarded for a movie he so clearly had a great time working on? Even if you didn't enjoy Pineapple Express, you have to admit you're at least be curious to see what he'd say in his acceptance speech.
The Golden Globes are a semi-prestigious awards show with a respectability level that rests comfortably between the lameness of the People's Choice Awards and the stuffiness of the Oscars. They often award great films that audiences enjoy but which lack the prestige to make the cut with the Academy. Plus, the free-flowing alcohol keeps things loose and leads to some great candid moments. That's what keeps me watching year after year.