The popularity of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and their Golden Globes ceremony has been on a steady decline as it has become more and more evident that they favor the flashy and famous as nominees and winners over the talented and deserving hopefuls each year.
Said popularity has taken yet another turn for the worse as new accusations of bribery have come hot on the heels of the announcement of this year’s nominees, which included some fairly reprehensible names and titles as awards contenders.
The controversy mainly revolves around two particular films: The Tourist, starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, and Burlesque, which stars Cher and Christina Aguilera. Both of these movies were nominated in the Best Picture Comedy or Musical category, while both also have been overwhelmed with a bombardment of poor critical reception and massive box office failure.
The Tourist cost $100 million to make, had two of the biggest stars in the world in the leads, and since its December 10th release, has only made a little over $53 million worldwide. Burlesque is doing a little bit better box office wise…sorta. That one cost $55 million to make and has made over $35 million worldwide since its November 24th release. And again, both movies have seen horrendous critical review to boot. It takes no unique mind to wonder what exactly is the reasoning behind these nominations. At least Alice in Wonderland, which is also an absolutely absurd nominee, made over $1 billion in worldwide box office to dwarf its $200 million budget.
This is now taken to a whole new level with the most curious reveal that Sony, who is involved in the distribution of both The Tourist and Burlesque, treated Golden Globe voters to a quaint little trip — or “junket” as they call it — by flying them to Las Vegas, putting them up in luxury hotels, covering all meals, and even setting up a nice, intimate private concert with none other than Cher herself.
Now, one could call this just “buttering them up,” or perhaps it’s an innocent attempt to one-up another studio’s offering. But in any and all cases, it stinks, and these are the things that need to stop. When did it become so difficult for people who love movies to watch all possible contenders, pick the best of the best in each category, and then pick the most deserving winner? Popularity and politics and TV ratings and, of course, money have all tainted the very point of handing out awards each year. A lot of movie fans look forward to awards season every year; it’s highly enjoyable to see as many of the top movies as possible, make your own personal picks, and make an event out of awards night. But what’s the point if studios can just send voters off on lavish trips in exchange for a nod?
Sure, the Oscars are by far more popular and trusted than the Golden Globes are, but you’d really like to see the Hollywood Foreign Press trying to remedy all of the negative feedback they’ve faced over the years (this is not the first time they’ve been pampered), and trying to stand grow and evolve their show. And let’s not allow the Academy Awards to get away so cleanly either — they’re winners also tend to be who or what happens to be the most popular or most socially important at the time. Most recently, this became glaringly obvious with wins by Sean Penn for Milk (should have gone to Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler), and Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side (should have gone to anyone else).
What I personally did not know that makes this all even more interesting, is that the Globe voters are much smaller in numbers than the Oscars. The Hollywood Foreign Press is a private organization and only consists of 81 members that “competitive” studios need to “win over,” whereas the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science has 6,000 members.
In the end, this is only topic made for movie fans like myself to vent and complain about. Sadly, after years of sacrificing integrity for perks and attention, it doesn’t appear that anyone can really do anything about it. And to be fair, the whole “Comedy and Musical” category is pretty lackluster and there’s not a lot you could say should be nominated instead, but this doesn’t really make up for the Price is Right showcase these voters were given.
Thankfully, not all of the nominees are a joke and there is still the hope that though deserving candidates were snubbed out of nominations, those that really earned their spot will come out on top.