Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Golden Globes, Part 1

Technically speaking, the awards show season will begin with the Broadcast Critics on Friday night. But the first really show that everybody will be paying attention to will begin Sunday evening when the Hollywood Foreign Press honors the "best" in movies and television.

Now, as much I love these awards shows, the hype, the circus, et al, the choices that these critics make often leave me baffled, starting from their very arbitrary decision as to what is a comedy and what is a drama. I thought that Up in the Air was a lot closer to the former, but it was listed in the Drama's with The Hurt Locker and Precious. In 2002, after winning a Best Actor in a drama Globe for Alexander Payne's brilliant About Schmidt, even Jack Nicholson confessed to being baffled because "I thought we did a comedy." Of course, this was the same year Nicholas Nickleby got a Best Comedy nod, a distinction I'm pretty sure Dickens himself would dispute.

The clarity in TV is not much better. For one thing, the Globes have always tending to classify certain shows that our combinations of comedy and drama into the comedy category, but there's always a sense of being random here, too. Ally McBeal, Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty have been ranked to the comedy category, even though the mixture of the two genres was uneven at best. Six Feet Under, on the other hand, ended up in the Drama category, though I've always felt that particular position was somewhat more precarious. This year Nurse Jackie and The Big C are in a similar position, though I'm inclined to say they weight a bit more towards the serious side.

And of course, there's that subtitle, 'best Musical' which the voters never had to worry about until Glee. This takes them off the hook from having to decide about it's comedy potential, but has already caused major uproar with those who write for shows like Modern Family or 30 Rock. I'm pretty sure this combination of bias is why Housewives and Ugly Betty never won Best Comedy at the Emmys, and why Glee lost last year. Considering the immense popularity of both shows, this doesn't seem like an issue that's going to be resolved soon--- unless the TV people feeling like adding some new categories.

I like the Globes, and they have a tradition of recognizing shows that didn't get the same appreciation in the community they just didn't get in the Emmys like Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Shield. They also recognized The Sopranos and Sex in the City years before the Emmys were willing to acknowledge them, but since I didn't much care for either show, I'll refrain from commenting. They'll also on occasion recognize a well done network show like Felicity, Once and Again, or 24. I'd like to say this means they're a lot less stodgy than those people at the other awards shows, but since they often refuse to acknowledge other highly qualified overlooked programs such as Buffy, Battlestar Galactica, Homicide or The Wire in favor of Nip/Tuck or Melrose Place, I'd say they're often more in love with appearances rather than quality. They're also not immune to the habit of recognizing the same show or actor over and over for no apparent reason. Sarah Jessica Parker won three Best Actress trophies, none of which I think she deserved. Mad Men's a great show, too, but it hasn't deserved to win the last season. (But that's a personal call, so I'll let that go for now.)

Usually, I have only a casual interest in who wins the films awards because, as I explained in an earlier post, I don't normally see most of the films until they come out on DVD. But this year, I saw several of the likely contenders , which probably makes me better up than some of the voters. However, to keep this post from going on interminably, I'll just list my posts for TV shows in this post, and deal with my film choices in one later on.

Best Drama: Always a difficult call, this time it's a lot tougher than usual, as there are several new contenders that could triumph. Mad Men could make it a four-peat, but this is still very close. For the moment, though, I'm going to give the edge to Boardwalk Empire. It's an HBO show, which the Globes like, and it's their finest offering since Big Love. However, just about any of the picks is a good one, which I normally can't say.

Best Actor, Drama: After three consecutive Emmy wins, Bryan Cranston finally got some recognition from the Globes for his superb work on AMC's Breaking Bad, which was otherwise shut out. Jon Hamm gave a superb performance in 'The Suitcase' episode of Mad Men, which could help. But I think this year the Globes will recognize Steve Buscemi for his performance on Boardwalk Empire. He's an acting veteran with over twenty years in the business, and the Hollywood Foreign Press loves to acknowledge a great actor.

Best Actress, Drama: Another very tough call. Elisabeth Moss deserves to win something for her work on Mad Men, and she'd get my vote for the Emmy. But I think that it' more likely that they will honor Juliana Marguiles for The Good Wife. Her work on this show was ignored by the Emmys, and even though she won last year, this time I think she deserves a second trophy

Best Musical or Comedy: Why they continue to nominate The Office is beyond me, but the other five choices are brilliant comedy. Basically, you have sitcoms and dramedys. With five nominations, Glee leads all contenders, usually a good sign, but Will & Grace perpetually got four nods and it didn't help them. I think Modern Family will win at the SAGS, but here is Glee is the veteran show. I think (and hope) it will repeat.

Best Actor, Comedy: Alec Baldwin's had a lock on this ever since 30 Rock premiered five years ago, so the big question is: can Jim Parsons in The Big Bang Theory, who beat him at last years Emmy's, break his stranglehold? I'd like to see Matthew Morrison for Glee triumph, cause his character does everything Baldwin does and sing and dance, but I'm betting that this time Parsons will emerge triumphant.

Best Actress, Comedy: And here the question is, which strong, powerful actress from a quirky Showtime dramedy will prevail. It could go to Edie Falco, who already has a couple of trophies for her work on tHE Sopranos. But I think that the show that is fresher in viewers minds will prevail, which is why I'm picking Laura Linney in The Big C.

Best Supporting Actor: Always tough to figure out which way the supporting categories will turn because they merge all three specialties. I've beefed about this before, though, so... Tough one to call, but I think it's going to come down to Chris Noth for The Good Wife vs. Glee's Chris Coifer, and Coifer has had more swinging for the fence moments on the show this year.

Best Supporting Actress: I was sure Jane Lynch was going to win last year in this exact category, but Chloe Sevigny for Big Love (who honestly should have gotten an Emmy nod) won. Now Lynch faces competition not only from Sofia Vegara on Modern Family, but the stunning Julia Stiles' work on Dexter. Man, this is the toughest call yet. I pick Sue Sylvester... by about an inch.
Stay tuned to this spot to see my picks for the movies.

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