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The Most Important Awards Show Ever

By admin Published: January 14, 2008

Well, the Golden Globes have come and gone, almost in a blink, and it tells us something very important about awards shows ...

The awards don't matter.

All right, they matter some. Congratulatory ads will generate tons of revenue for the show-biz trade publications. And movies and TV shows looking for an extra bump will tout their Globe wins while promoting themselves.

But last night's Globes announcements, the remains of a famously glitzy ceremony derailed by the writers strike, showed how little the awards themselves matter when it comes to making television.

Zipping through a reading of nominated names, with clips, and then announcing winners, the Globes telecast had no glamour, no unpredictability, nothing to move us to tears, no gaffes that could mark careers forever. It just had, well, awards. And while people have noted before that some viewers consider the gowns, the goofs and the talk to be the most important part of big awards shows, last night proved that they're not the most important. They're the only important things.

NBC tried to make a little something from the Globes announcement. Instead of carrying the press conference (since it had lost its exclusive on that and people could find it on other channels), it packaged the nominees, clips, winner announcements and what might very generously be considered analysis by Bush and Nancy O'Dell.

I won't argue that Amy Ryan in "Gone Baby Gone" was a deserving contender, and I wouldn't have been too bothered if she had won over Cate Blanchett in "I'm Not There." But Bush said he was "a little bit shocked." "I thought Amy Ryan for sure. Amy Ryan has been there a long time. She's almost two decades, her career. Two Tony nominations. She's a real seasoned actress. People loved her performance. And I think at the end of the day, with Cate Blanchett, it's a woman imitating a man."

Blanchett was not merely "imitating a man." She was taking a well-documented period in Bob Dylan's life -- one that's heavily on film -- and gathering a lot of Dylan's mannerisms and still finding a character, and doing it all marvelously.

Again, no knock on Ryan. But her having two Tony nominations is not a way to judge a single performance. Nor is the length of her career, even though Bush seemed to view longevity as an important touchstone for acting; with Jon Hamm's win for "Mad Men," Bush noted "he's been around for awhile." I think Hamm was very good also. But, at best, you can look at Bush's comments as a reflection not of what's quality but the sort of sentimental nonsense that inspires awards voters to do their worst.

Still, the abbreviated Globes -- like CBS's clumsy attempt to air the People's Choice Awards without a ceremony -- say that Hollywood might just as well forget about awards and throw a couple of big, rowdy parties for the cameras every year. Unfortunately, based on awards evidence to date, those parties would go on too long, some of the guests would insist on singing and late in the evening everyone's wits would be dulled. Even more unfortunately, a lot of stars wouldn't show up -- unless there was a chance of going home with a statuette.

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