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COLUMN: The Golden Globes prove awards shows are useless


The cast and director of "Green Book," from left, Viggo Mortensen, director Peter Farrelly, Linda Cardellini and Mahershala Ali backstage at the 76th Annual Golden Globes on Jan. 6 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. Tribune News Service Buy Photos

It’s awards show season, which means it’s time for the things I love to be completely overlooked once again.

Putting the spectacle of the night aside, the 76th annual Golden Globe Awards showed that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association flirts with the idea of recognizing meaningful and important movies without actually bothering to do so. 

That’s the case with most awards shows, anyway. When 2004’s drama about white people solving racism, “Crash,” won Best Picture at the 78th Academy Awards, it beat out the Ang Lee-directed tragic gay romance “Brokeback Mountain.” 

When an award show does get it right, like when Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” won Best Picture at the Golden Globes and at the Oscars in 2017, it’s almost surprising. 

However, those pleasant surprises were few and far between at this year’s Globes.

“Green Book,” about an Italian-American bouncer from the Bronx driving a black pianist on his concert tour in the South in 1962, won Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy. “Green Book,” arguably yet another movie about white people solving racism that was called corny and misguided in the New York Times, took home the award over films that I and many critics considered better, such as “The Favourite” and “Crazy Rich Asians.” I know it’s all subjective, but come on.

The movie also took home awards for Best Screenplay and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, for Mahershala Ali’s performance as jazz pianist Don Shirley. I’m looking at Ali’s win as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association making amends for overlooking his Academy Award-winning performance in “Moonlight,” but the screenplay win is a kick in the face to films like “If Beale Street Could Talk” and Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma.”

“Bohemian Rhapsody,” the Rami Malek-led Freddie Mercury biopic following the rise of British rock band Queen, won Best Motion Picture - Drama. The choice is an interesting one. “Bohemian Rhapsody” currently has a 62 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a 48 percent on Metacritic. While those scores aren’t always indicators of quality, they are indicators of conflicting critical opinions, making giving a Best Picture award to a movie with that low a score a controversial pick. 

For example, “Bohemian Rhapsody” winning means that “A Star Is Born,” the Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga-driven drama, lost. “A Star Is Born” has a 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and opened to near-universal critical and audience acclaim.

The only award “A Star Is Born” took home last night was for Best Original Song, recognizing “Shallow” as the absolute bop it is. While the movie’s nominations for Best Actor and Best Director for Cooper weren’t exactly locked in, Lady Gaga losing Best Actress is a tragedy.

Her performance as rising pop star Ally is at times breathtaking and heartbreaking, and — no spoilers, but— the film’s final shot of just her face might be one of my favorite endings to a movie in a while. The Golden Globes snubbing her in favor of Glenn Close’s performance in 2017’s “The Wife” is a wrong I only hope will be made right at next month’s Academy Awards. 

But that’s the thing: I’m bracing myself for disappointment. Awards shows are flashy marketing grabs dressed up in designer gowns and celebrity smiles, and not an honest evaluation of what films are lasting works that deserve to remain in the cultural canon for years to come. 

I’m still going to watch the Oscars, though. 

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