Is anyone looking forward to the Golden Globe awards?
There isn’t much left of the awards race in 2021. The pandemic shut down movie theaters, with many productions evacuated next year’s Oscars. All we seem to have in the way of conversation and buzz is Twitter, which is a poor substitute for real live audiences enjoying a communal experience elbow to elbow in the dark. It is also a poor substitute for the way movies are sold to voters: big parties and big stars is the long and short of it. Now all we seem left with the age-old word, whether a film is “important” or not.
The pile for acceptable movies is small and getting smaller, not bigger. The massive hive mind that needs to consume controversy every day, with a shame chaser, has mostly devoured everything else which left only the Golden Globes. The Golden Globes has seen its share of controversy over the years but they have mostly survived it because in the old days most people got not to take the Globes very seriously. It’s sort of like taking the tabloids seriously or The Bachelor. But lo! 2021 has decided that yes, the Globes do matter. Really? The Globes? Yes, the Globes because everything matters now if there are a lot of people looking at everything for any weaknesses that can be found. The hunt is on for racists, racists everywhere. Sexists, homophobes, transphobes everywhere. EVERYWHERE.
Their recent high point was when Ricky Gervais dressed them all down in one of the single greatest moments in awards history. Of course, he is smart enough to know that the world of the Hollywood elite is selling themselves as “good” but assuming that makes them in a position to lecture the rest of America on how they can be just like them and also be “good.” Throw a couple million their way and maybe they’ll think about it. How about that.
Why would humor even exist if not to puncture the panic and delusions we can sometimes get caught up in. You make a joke and you laugh about it and it helps you live to see another day and sort of out the tensions that thrum through our culture.
Gervais kind of flamed out, as this is not a group that likes to have their virtue questioned, and it’s worse now than it’s ever been.
Hollywood and all major corporations seem to have been swallowed up by the body snatchers, with very few willing to be honest anymore. They’re too scared. They won’t pick the movies they actually like. They won’t vote for the movies they believe are best. Even when they pander as much as they possibly can they can fall short of the constantly evolving demands of the purity police.
As diverse as this year’s slate of Golden Globes offerings are, they still were met with the scandalous news that this insular group of people who come from different countries all over the world have committed the mortal sin of not having a single black member in all of their history. That sounds bad, right? Until you realize they are pretty much a group of people whose membership has not changed in decades. Every so often a new one is added but for the most part these are lifers, like the Supreme Court.
They just didn’t think that way because in general, Europeans don’t. That is changing, of course, as the Black Lives Matter movement becomes popular in other countries, as does the strident woke-think that is driving people secretly crazy but as yet still has massive leverage to drive change. Or at least that is what people think it does. Does it really though? Does it fix poverty or the rising crime in cities or anything remotely useful? Nope. But it is a matter of aiming your target at people who care about their image and thus they will move mountains to maintain it.
Look, I spent years writing about how white Hollywood was and how unfair that was and why they needed to diversify and be inclusive. I was known as an early advocate for social justice on my website, awardsdaily.com. But the Academy and the industry have made huge moves in that direction — no matter what they do, however, the goal posts keep getting moved and the last thing anyone talks about is whether these movies are the best of the year or not, which is the whole point.
The Globes has three women nominated for Best Director for the first time because last year the big controversy that, though many women directed films, none of them got in for Best Picture. To make matters worse, the film Joker was in play and if you hated Joker and you saw no women nominated that was plenty enough to prove the industry was rife with sexism, even though the Globes are pretty close to having gender parity.
I remember writing a research piece for a certainly online women’s center that is funded by Jane Fonda. I usually gather the stats in a given year and write up a report on inclusivity. But last year they wanted me to write of the great injustice that Greta Gerwig did not get nominated for Best Director. They wanted me to write about it as though it was a sexist decision but I told them I could not. I couldn’t do it because the Best Director race was extremely competitive and every single nominee had won a major award already. Joker had won the Venice prize for Best Picture, The Irishman had won the National Board of Review, 1917 had won the Globe for Best Director, Parasite had won the Palme, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood had won the Globe for Picture in the Musical/Comedy category. Little Women wasn’t even anywhere near close to being a contender and it wasn’t even very good (at least, not to my mind).
But the narrative had to be that it was sexism driving this, even though Gerwig had already become one of the very few women to earn a Best Director nomination at the Oscars. That was the first time I had a personal experience with the narrative being manipulated into a kind of truth, but not one that was based in truth. The Washington Post and the New York Times said they were sexists and thus, that became the accepted truth.
I don’t think I will be hired back this year to write for this company because they definitely wanted me to tow the line, which I did not want to do. I felt strongly enough about it that I didn’t want to lie. If I’d liked Little Women better I might have but I found it badly structured, confusing and distorted to satisfy Generation Woke. It can’t always be about everything other than quality. I for one got into this business because I love great movies.
I am definitely not built for this new world when it comes to covering film awards. I believe in advocacy and inclusivity - most people are coming from a good place. But there is always going to be the bottom line that if you’re talking about representation, white people are still 60% of the population in this country. That means, in general, what they want to watch are going to be stories that reflect themselves and their own life. They are less likely going to want to watch a scolding or a lesson telling them how racist they are - or worse, a lecture explaining to them how to “do better.” So the bottom line is often what drives casting choices and what drives film awards.
However, the audience for the films that get into the awards race is shrinking. And their idea of what defines a great film is fast becoming about whether or not it meets the standards of the new Left. They watch movies now to see what is wrong with them, as they do film nominations. No matter the amount of diversity in the Globes nominations this year since none of the Best Picture Drama nominees have inclusive casts (even if two are directed by women and one by a woman of color) that signals to the hive mind online that they are racists.
The audience is fast becoming an audience of people who belong to a religion. And that religion has very strict rules, as it has its strident ideology:
This tells them who they are and what defines who they are to a broader community. They only align themselves with companies that pander to them, like Oreo cookie spouting the lingo on Twitter. Or Taco Bell or K-Mart or AT&T with their own Black Lives Matter policies and antiracism training.
Most people watching the Golden Globes tonight aren’t going to be watching to be entertained. They are going to be watching to be cops, waiting to find the one wrong thing to make a big deal about. Write an article about. Justify their existence about.
To quote Freddie deBoer’s Planet of Cops:
The woke world is a world of snitches, informants, rats. Go to any space concerned with social justice and what will you find? Endless surveillance. Everybody is to be judged. Everyone is under suspicion. Everything you say is to be scoured, picked over, analyzed for any possible offense. Everyone’s a detective in the Division of Problematics, and they walk the beat 24/7. You search and search for someone Bad doing Bad Things, finding ways to indict writers and artists and ordinary people for something, anything. That movie that got popular? Give me a few hours and 800 words. I’ll get you your indictments. That’s what liberalism is, now — the search for baddies doing bad things, like little offense archaeologists, digging deeper and deeper to find out who’s Good and who’s Bad. I wonder why people run away from establishment progressivism in droves.
And that is likely how the Globes will be watched and how they’ll be covered. The last thing they’re going to be about is the quality of the work and the performances.
Out of this stagnation will come adaptation and with that, a new species. The Daily Wire competing with Hollywood by providing outsider entertainment for conservatives is a great start. The more competition there is, the better the variety of offerings, the more it will move the needle away from stagnation.
That is going to be true across the board, with sites like Substack offering a place for the fired to have a voice, to alternative social media platforms and hopefully to publishing houses and podcasts.
The film awards race, however, is very much under the thumb of an audience that can’t much stand them anyway and see them as out of touch and old fashioned. The bigger the audience for movies and award shows, the better they will be.