All that glitters and nothing that's good



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Katey Sagal's win at the Golden Globes this past Sunday was one of few welcome surprises. -- Image courtesy of latimes.com

Yes, folks, it’s that time of year again. For weeks now, smaller award shows have been doling out prizes to the best films and performances of the year, all in hopes of building buzz to the Academy Awards, the pinnacle of Hollywood glitz, glamour and recognition.  

The Golden Globes, given out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) — a group of voters notorious for their ability to be persuaded by a well-coordinated PR assault — are the uber-glitzy stepping stone to Oscar glory for many films.

But despite what the HFPA thinks of itself, the Globes are like the attractive girl at the party clearly trying way too hard to be edgy, beautiful and more important than she really is. Her efforts only more clearly show the areas in which she fails to be what she aspires to.  

The Globes, put in a language we all can understand, are the non-Regina George members of the Plastics from “Mean Girls.”

The Emmys — the main kudofest for television shows — came and went in August this past year, honoring many television Globe nominees and winners. Trouble is, the Emmys won’t announce 2011 nominations until summer. No buzz coming out of the Globes, no matter how seemingly great, is guaranteed to carry a show to an Emmy nomination in the same way that Globe wins for “The Social Network” probably forecast wins for the film in equivalent Oscar categories.

The television awards at the Globes are misfits, and the producers of the telecast treated them as such. An alarming number of major TV awards were breezed through in the first hour of the show, leaving even minor film categories for more important time slots deeper into the show when the attendees, and possibly audiences, are boozier. Why a pointless award like Best Original Song — which was never, ever going to anyone but Cher and Diane Warren for “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me”, even before “Burlesque” distributor Screen Gems invited the HFPA out to Vegas to see Cher’s live show on their dime — came long after the Supporting Acting categories for TV is baffling. Almost as baffling as the HFPA’s decision to nominate Piper Perabo, who is easily the worst part of USA Network’s “Covert Affairs,” for her work in that series.  

I’m left wondering why, as an amateur television critic, I should care about the Golden Globes. Yes, it was telling (though not unexpected) that “Glee” found a lot of support with voters. Yes, it was frustrating that, once again, the winners seemed to be disproportionately film actors who came to TV rather than actors whose main medium is television.

But despite some welcome surprises — including a well-deserved Actress win for “Sons of Anarchy”’s Katey Sagal — the HFPA depressingly held true to its usual inclinations: Reward shiny new shows for being shiny and new. Hence the wins for Steve Buscemi and his absurdly lavish new HBO series, “Boardwalk Empire” (the most expensive series on the block), as well as “Glee”’s win for Best TV Musical/Comedy Series (for better or worse, the buzziest TV series out there). For the HFPA, all that glitters should be rewarded with a gold statuette.  

Unfortunately, all that glitters isn’t solid gold in terms of relevance. (Yup, still talking about you, Piper Perabo.) If the Globes want to be an interesting cog in the PR wheel of TV kudofests, then they’ll have to be more discerning with their nominations, as well as treat television actors the same as film actors.

One thing that should never change, though, is the Globes-as-boozy-dinner-party vibe. Loose-lipped celebrities making loopy acceptance speeches comprise at least 80 percent of the value of watching the Globes, and when the TV awards are as lazy as these, that percentage climbs even higher.

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