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Doubting the hegemony of the Golden Globes

Critically and culturally speaking, the Golden Globes aren't taken seriously. Perhaps this is because the Academy Awards have been around 15 years longer, remain focused on the silver screen and don't try to be an authority on all commercial film media on both major mediums. The Oscars don't split their attention with genre-specific categories of the GGs. It often feels like the actors themselves do not take it seriously. There is often a more jocular atmosphere to the Globes, possibly owing to the Godiva chocolates, ever-flowing Moet or the tabled format, which promotes a more social aspect during the proceedings.

This is reflected by the informality of acceptance speeches with the wry host, the Office creator Ricky Gervais, referring to it as "a night of partying and heavy drinking." Gervais was occasionally missing in action near the end of the evening, creating a weird gap in presentation that somehow jibed with the relaxed vibe of the ceremony. Where was he? Looking for his suit jacket? Checking his back for scratches? Juggling Globes backstage? When he was there, he was irreverent and confrontationally funny in a way that would never be expected during the Oscars.

Most people consider this award ceremony to be tea leaves for the Oscars, but that may have changed in recent years. It almost seems as if a backlash is occurring. Last year, the competing awards had completely disparate choices for best film, best director and best screenplay and the awards have only shared the same best picture pick once in the past five years. Because of the chill aura of the Globes, the Academy Awards seem to want to create even more distance between them and their decisions. Plus the specificity of the genre separation on the Golden Globes doesn't translate well to the narrower, singular award categories of the Oscars.

In some ways, the Golden Globes are more honest in providing a somewhat arbitrary system for supplying what society now requires in media: ranking. The live appointment TV format provides the event status that gets people interested and the award show concept has a low-attention-span-friendly pace, both of which are perfect for tweeting. A focus on the red carpet fashion leading up to the event rather than the actual presentation of awards has historically skewed these programs towards a female demographic, though new media has recently narrowed that gap.

On the other hand, football is seen as the uber-male antithesis of this Star magazine preening. This couldn't be farther from the truth. During the NFL playoff football that preceded the Golden Globes, the viewer is similarly inundated with ads and promotional tie-ins. Prognosticators and fans alike deride quarterback Tom Brady for his flowing locks and eagerness to hock male Ugg boots and support alpha males like Ben Roethlisberger, regardless of their offstage misgivings.

Trying to explain the significance of the New York Jets beating the New England Patriots (or Paul Giamatti beating out Johnny Depp and Jake Gyllenhaal) finds me elucidating aspects far from the core of the action. Telling an uninitiated outsider that the star wide receiver for the Patriots got temporarily benched for making fun of the rival coach's wife's (alleged) star turn in a foot fetish porn video during a press conference is not much different than remarking on how Anne Hathaway's Globes dress makes her look like a human disco ball. This calls into question how much of what we view is actually about what we're viewing and how much importance really lies among the fringes of our media. V

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