Anyone else think the Golden Globes are better than the Oscars?

Listen, I love the Academy Awards. Love watching them with friends and a bottle of cheap champagne. Love talking about them for the entire year before they happen. Love the fact that winning an Oscar apparently makes you live longer and have lots of kids. But if we’re talking about pure enjoyment, I’m a Golden Globes guy. I have no idea what the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is, or why they seem to think that “Comedy” and “Musical” are one and the same. I realize that they just love throwing nominations at a specious array of big-name stars: How else do you explain all the nomination love for Nine?

But if it’s little more than a slapdash, fame-besotted celebrity booze cruise, the Golden Globes are also the most enjoyably old-fashioned pageant left on TV. Here’s a few reasons (besides the free-flowing social lubricant) why I prefer the Globes to the Oscars:

1. The Golden Globes are on the right side of history

Globe haters love to point out the questionable past winners (call it the Pia Zadora Paradigm). But the HPFA arguably has a better track record than its more prestigious sibling. Look no further than three of the greatest miscarriages of Best Picture justice in Oscar history: Crash beating Brokeback Mountain, Shakespeare in Love beating Saving Private Ryan, and Ghandi beating E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.

All three losers have become essential classics, while the three winners’ reputations have all suffered (or, in the case of Crash, fallen into the toilet bowl of Starz Original Programming). Well, the Golden Globes gave their best Motion Picture -– Drama award to Brokeback, Ryan, and ET.

2. The Best Musical/Comedy Awards are secretly brilliant

Without a doubt, the separation of Film and Lead Acting nominees into two separate genres is the most illegitimate thing about the Golden Globes. But here again, the Globes’ track record is better than you expect; in fact, looking at the winners’ list in the past decade is like imagining a more robustly clever, less masochistic alternate-universe America: Toy Story 2, Almost Famous, Moulin Rouge!, Chicago, Lost in Translation, Sideways, Walk the Line, Dreamgirls, Sweeney Todd, and Vicky Christina Barcelona.

The nominees are even more fun: Would the Oscars have ever recognized Best in Show, Bend it Like Beckham, Borat, Hairspray, In Bruges, or The Squid and the Whale, outside of the Screenplay Award ghetto?

And let’s be honest: the Oscars have always segregated drama and comedy actors. The difference is, Oscar voters just don’t bother to recognize comedic performances at all. Some of the most mesmerizing winners of Comedy/Musical Golden Globe trophies weren’t even nominated for Oscars: I’m talking Jim Carrey channeling Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon, or Sally Hawkins’ infectiously cheerful role in Happy-go-Lucky, or Gene Hackman giving the performance of his lifetime in The Royal Tenenbaums.

Heck, even the Academy seems to realize that the Globes are onto something. They can talk all they want to about how there were always ten best picture nominees in the ’30s, and widening the field this year is just getting the Awards back to basics, but you and I both know that the five extra Best Picture slots are directly intended to get Dark Knight-style blockbusters (and maybe – gasp! – more than one comedy) into the big show.

3. The Globes are openly (as opposed to secretly) “rigged”

Yes, there are all kinds of stories about people bribing the HFPA, but you know what? I think it’s plenty more disturbing that no one bribed the Academy, and they still didn’t let Anvil! The Story of Anvil, The September Issue, or Tyson get onto the best documentary shortlist. I find it offensive to think that Stephen Daldry and Ron Howard have been nominated so many times without blackmailing every member of the Academy.

The Globes don’t pretend to be unbiased. They nominate famous people. They nominate newly-famous zeitgeist personalities (see: Precious, Slumdog Millionaire). They nominate great films and terrible films, and usually give the award to the great film. In the process, the Globes more closely resemble the original Academy Awards than do the modern-day Academy Awards, because…

4. At the Golden Globes, Show Biz People are all one big happy family

It’s completely nonsensical to think of James Cameron being in the same room as the cast of Cougar Town, or Christoph Waltz being just a couple tables away from the cast of Glee. But one of the zippy pleasures of the Globes is the high-low mixing of every level of the Hollywood stratosphere. And because they’re at dinner tables (instead of crammed into an auditorium), you get the sense that the actual awards are a mere distraction for the party guests, that they’re all just waiting for the next commercial break to get back to talking about wonderful things we’ll never know.

Don’t believe me? Check out this video of Ving Rhames handing off his Golden Globe to Jack Lemmon:

I think that might be the most joyful image of the Hollywood I’ve ever seen. The way the audience claps even louder when they see that Ving Rhames is crying; the shout-out to Stanislavsky; the sudden turn from mawkishness to spontaneity when Rhames says, “Is Mr. Jack Lemmon here?”; the way that the audience gives a standing ovation when Lemmon walks up to the stage; Jack Nicholson at the 5:17 mark, apparently asking Lemmon to pass the Globe along to him; Lemmon, speechless, wonderfully improvising his way through a speech (in another life, he would have been a great Michael Scott).

The whole thing is so infectiously giddy, at once hilarious and moving. It’s the perfect Golden Globes moment.

So that being said, and putting prestige aside for a moment, anyone out there with me that the Globes are better than those Oscars?

Comments (69 total) Add your comment
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  • Celia

    I know I prefer the Globes over the Oscars. The atmosphere is just so relaxed and the show isn’t 10 hours long like the Oscars.

    • Muffy

      All award shows have become uber BORING! All of them.

  • Corran

    I still think Crash was better than Brokeback Mountain. Forget the subject material of Brokeback Mountain and you have a standard love story. Crash was really the first film that established a successful interweaving of stories, combined with amazing performances, and heartfelt moments.

    • Keith

      No. That technique had been perfected before in other films, maybe not in popular American films with big name actors, but there was nothing original about Crash in technique or subject matter or how what subject matter was conveyed. I’ve seen after school specials that were more effective.

      • alex

        i HATED CRASH. Brokeback is more and more touching everytime i watch it

      • crispy

        Same for me. I just watched it again a few weeks ago and noticed even more depth than the last time I saw it. I honestly can’t believe when people say Brokeback is a standard love story. I’ve never seen a love story where one of the lovers is so traumatized by his own love that he punishes himself for it and lives out his life alone and regretful.

      • John

        Crash was about as subtle and nuanced as a sledgehammer.

    • Brian

      Crash was a mess of a movie,despite the fine acting.

    • halo

      I read the short story, and I’m so not impressed by Brokeback.
      You are right, they are several movies AFTER “Crash” that used the interweaving story line. After, not before. “Babel” being the one that pops into mind first.
      You are right, BM is a “love story” a standard one at that. I am guessing its popularity has more to do with the fact they there are not that many “gay love stories” as BM.
      Crash though, is the better movie. Makes you think for hours after watching it.

      • crispy

        1994 – Pulp Fiction
        1999 – Go
        1999 – Magnolia
        2002 – The Rules of Attraction
        2004 – Crash

      • GHB

        The Hours (2002)

      • Duy

        1993 – Short Cuts

      • jackjack

        Don’t Forget Love Actually (2003)

      • Phil

        Don’t forget about Nashville. That was the same multi-characters interweaving-storylines premise, and that was back in 1975.

    • Keith

      crispy, your description of Brokeback is dead on. The movie doesn’t function so much for me as a love story as a great tragedy–how self hatred and self denial can be so complete that it imprisons you for life–that is NOT standard fare. The tragedy of the story is that Ennis doesn’t even recognize his feelings AS actual love until the end, until after Jack is dead. Again, that is not standard fare.

      I offer another (better) film using similar techniques: Amores Perros

      • crispy

        Yes! I love talking about Brokeback with people because its characters are so complex. I’ve found that most people don’t even get it; they just assume that Jack was murdered without realizing that scene was merely Ennis’s imagination, another product of his lifelong fear of who he truly was.

    • chris

      “Crash was the first film that established interweaving of stories” ?!?! Are you kidding me?! what about reservoir dogs? Pilp Fiction? Memento?!

  • Melinda65

    The Student Activities Assn. showed Gandhi when I was in college. Despite it being free, I couldn’t convince any of my friends to go with me, so I went by myself. I fell asleep partway through and I think I left at intermission. E.T., OTOH, I saw 3 or 4 times in the theater (okay, the last time I was at the drive-in with friends and I spent more time visiting with other people than watching the movie, but still.)

  • Colleen

    I’ve always felt that it’s the open presence of alcohol at the Golden Globes that makes them completely awesome. That, and they’re willing to let Ricky Gervais host.

    • Ambient Lite

      Here, here! I’m not an awards show fan in general, but I’d be willing to check this out for Ricky Gervais.

    • MsSuniDaze

      Totally. Booze and Gervais…I’m so there. I watch both but prefer this one. Everyone seems to actually be enjoying themselves.

  • GoMe!

    I think the Oscars are more exciting than the Golden Globes (the ceremony). Last year, the ceremony with Hugh Jackman was so much better than whatever the Golden Globes had. And the fact that the Golden Globes don’t show a clip with every nominee that’s announced just makes the ceremony a little boring. I’m sure the people who attend the ceremonies would probably prefer going to a GG ceremony than an Oscar one because it'[s more relaxed. But as someone watching from home, I definitely am more entertained with the Oscars.

    But I do consider the GG award very important and is definitely up there with the Oscars. I wouldn’t say it’s better. (I mean the Golden Globes have done their fair share of snubbing!) But you listed some really good reasons why people should take the GGs more seriously!

  • Conor

    the stars can get drunk too, thats the best part for me, and I agree with all you said, much better award show, but tell me this, why are all the other networks airing new episodes against it, they don;t do that for Oscar? thank God for the DVR!

  • Robyn

    The Golden Globes are my Superbowl.

  • Keith

    I like the golden globes just fine, but I think they can be just as overrated. The oscar is still the big prize and, for me, the suspense inherent in that reality makes for a exciting ceremony.

    • Celia

      I agree. I think the Golden Globes is more enjoyable to watch, but the actual Oscar is more impressive. It’s the award everyone wants to win. It makes you legit. The Globes does a better job of recognizing all actors in different categories, instead of just dramatic actors in film.

  • Ramo

    Shouldn’t the headline read “…Golden Globes IS better than the Oscars?” You’re referring to the show itself, which is a single entity, not a collection of award statuettes.

    • Monty

      Grammar Nazi

  • Erin

    I know this is slightly off topic since we are comparing Oscars and Globes, but they have an even better track record of getting it right with the TV categories. Remember when Keri Russell won for Felicity? Or when Buffy was nominated? I always feel a sense of vindication at the Globes from the Emmy snubs.

  • M Weyer

    I don’t know about the Oscars but definetely better than the Emmys as they’re willing to recognize fresh faces rather than vote for the same people every year.

  • alex

    Look how Young Matt Damon (highlights!) and David Douchovny look! all of them.. wow.

    • Tookie

      That was a very moving clip, and I also enjoyed seeing the stars who are so much younger, and those who are gone.

  • Lisa Simpson

    The Globes show can be more entertaining because of the alcohol involved, but there are more Pia Zadora wins and nominees with the Globes than with the Oscars. Really, it’s just a bunch of drunk foreign journalists throwing a show and handing out awards that nobody ever remembers.

  • m

    It’s sad that we live in a world where we are so weak we need to win awards based on the opinions of other people to judge our abilities as actors.

    • Nix

      I am sorry you can’t get back to Utopia. Honestly, what other world are you imagining where these things don’t matter? Pol Pot’s Cambodia?

  • Kim

    I love both for different reasons: the Globes for the drunk glamour and the Oscars for the sober glamour.

    Ah, the “toilet bowl of STARZ Original Programming”? Really? Have you seen Party Down? Granted Head Case is hit or miss and Crash was DOA, but Party Down is one of the most original comedies out there (Jane Lynch, anyone?) and Spartacus promises to be campy goodness.

    • orville

      I’m with you. I love them both for different reasons (though there’s hardly an awards show I don’t like). But another reason that the Globes beat the Oscars is that the acceptance speeches are so much better (and more clever). Also, when the celebrities get in a “say anything they want” mood, at the Globes it’s in a fun way. At the Oscars, it tends to be in a deadly serious, political way.

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