The Discomfiture of the 2014 Golden Globes

There is no awards show like the Golden Globes. It does its best to hide behind a carefully cultivated veil of refinement, but glimpse briefly under the surface and everyone is eager to reveal their drunken, hot mess of a state. Last night’s ceremony, held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, proved to outdo itself in terms of how overall uncomfortable it was to watch 1) People walk the unnavigable route from their table to the stage and 2) Acceptance speeches that all assured, “I wasn’t expecting this.” Either the second element was all contrived or Hollywood self-esteem has diminished markedly.

Returning again to host, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey
Returning again to host, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler returned to host by popular demand, though, once again, Fey struggled to keep up with Poehler; granted, Fey did have the best joke of the night before introducing Leonardo DiCaprio: “Like a supermodel’s vagina, let’s welcome Leonardo DiCaprio.” The evening began with an awkward start as Jennifer Lawrence uncertainly accepted the Best Supporting Actress award for her role as Rosalyn Rosenfeld in American Hustle (the film that would sweep most of its nominations throughout the night).

J, Law at the 2014 Golden Globes
J, Law at the 2014 Golden Globes

Jacqueline Bisset, the second winner of the night for her role in Dancing on the Edge, apparently felt compelled to one-up Lawrence for shyness and weirdness by standing there in what looked like a drunken stupor and occasionally spouting something nonsensical. With the tone of blundering and blubbering set for the night,  the ceremony almost developed into a farce as Alex Ebert (of Ima Robot and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes fame) accepted the award for Best Original Score for All Is Lost and noted with semi-faux modesty, “Even the most deft pen is a clumsy tool.” Also on the soundtrack front, U2 predictably won for “One Love,” a song featured in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (a film that obviously needed to be thrown a bone somehow).

A smile as forced as her speech.
A smile as forced as her speech.

Among other strange occurrences was the camerawork, exhibiting that perhaps the cameraman had a better sense of humor than Fey and Poehler combined–particularly when he flashed to Jessica Lange’s expression after she lost to Elisabeth Moss (one of the most flagrant upsets of the night). By the time the ceremony was drawing to a close, the apparentness of free-flowing alcohol was undeniable (case in point being Leonardo DiCaprio pronouncing Philomena as Philomania).

Amy Poehler had one of the more coherent speeches of the night
Amy Poehler had one of the more coherent speeches of the night

Paolo Sorrentino’s win for The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza) also proved to be one of the more comical speeches as he remarked of Italy, “Thank you to Italy. It’s a crazy country, but beautiful.” This film was, surprisingly, one of the few acknowledged that genuinely deserved to win. Among other movies seemingly snubbed for those of a lesser caliber were Nebraska (which lost out for Best Original Screenplay) and Inside Llewyn Davis (which won for nothing, a testament to how unsettled people are by its realness). But at least Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey took home awards for their respective roles in Dallas Buyers Club.

Introducing the award for Best Picture (Drama)
Introducing the award for Best Picture (Drama)

Taking the proverbial cake for camp was Diane Keaton accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award on behalf of Woody Allen (who would never be caught dead in Los Angeles unless he was actually dead). Although it was a generally endearing acceptance (especially as she obliged us all with Annie Hall-like garb), there was a somewhat overly schmaltzy moment when she sang an acapella version of “Make New Friends.”

Annie Hall revisited.
Annie Hall revisited.

On the TV front, however, the awards were markedly more just (apart from Cate Blanchett winning for Blue Jasmine and then finding a way to mention Judy Garland’s barbiturate use). And, likewise, the TV people seemed to be doing far fewer drugs. Happily, Brooklyn Nine-Nine was recognized in spite of its newness and, most happily of all, Girls and Lena Dunham were shirked. And so, in general it wasn’t a terrible night at the Golden Globes, merely one of the most graceless and uncoordinated ones.