A look back at the Golden Globe Awards

The current entertainment awards season officially kicked off last Sunday, Jan. 11, with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s (HFPA) 72nd Golden Globe Awards.

While underappreciated at times as a sort of an awkward younger sibling to the Academy Awards, the event typically honors a wider pool of talent and contributions. Where the Oscars tend to be more conservative and predictable, the Globes oftentimes produce more surprising outcomes.

As the popular saying goes, always be yourself, unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman. And, to amend that statement, even if you can be Batman, be Michael Keaton. Why?

Keaton said in his Golden Globe Award acceptance speech Jan. 11, “Work hard, don’t quit, be appreciative, be thankful, be grateful, be respectful. Also don’t whine ever. Don’t complain and always, for crying out loud, keep a sense of humor.”

Keaton’s words include key values – hard work, thankfulness and respect – for teamwork to make profound pieces of art.

In all of the Golden Globe Award winners this year, one trait in particular jumps out, and that is teamwork. It sounds cliche, but maybe that is because it is true.

Conveying truth is one of the foundational qualities of good art, exemplified in coming-of-age epic “Boyhood” (winner of best drama motion picture) with it’s much-talked-about 12-year production period. A film like this can in no way exist without the extremely dedicated cooperation of the cast and crew.

It’s a wonder how director Richard Linklater (best director of a motion picture) was able to assemble such a tight, effective and moving film over such an extended period of time. His use of time could have been used merely as an attention-grabbing gimmick in the hands of a less experienced or capable filmmaker. But Linklater has created a work of art, not a gimmick, that gives the film believability and soul. Impressive performances from Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke, and Patricia Arquette (best supporting actress in a motion picture drama) also prove indispensable in the storytelling.

The importance of collaboration is also evident in the intricate masterpieces “Grand Budapest Hotel” (best musical or comedy motion picture) and “Birdman” (best screenplay of a motion picture), both for their remarkable ensemble casts and fastidious behind-the-scenes work.

Great machinery will typically render itself invisible, as in the instance of director Alejandro González Iñárritu (best screenplay of a motion picture) and his “one take” approach to shooting “Birdman.”

However, when it comes to Wes Anderson, director of “Grand Budapest Hotel,” the director becomes a kind of benevolent puppet-master. In every detail of the production, his distinctive sensibility shines through. It has been said that any frame from one of Anderson’s films could be a painting on its own, and this is definitely the case given the old-world setting featured in “Budapest” or his earlier effort “The Darjeeling Limited.” It’s almost as if his movies are the bizarre, yet beautiful, love-child of a baroque painting and a 1970s-era documentary.

Well-crafted feature films and their participants are not the only honorees at the Globes, though. In the realm of “television,” Amazon made its mark with two wins for “Transparent” (best musical or comedy TV series & best actor in a musical or comedy TV series – Jeffrey Tambor). This follows the breakthrough of Netflix’s “House of Cards,” which has garnered attention at both the Golden Globe and Emmy awards for the past two seasons.

However, whereas the Emmys have been less willing to open up to emerging digital series like “Cards,” “Derek,” or “Transparent,” the Golden Globes seem more ready to embrace the new format as an equally valid and substantial artistic expression.

After losing to Bryan Cranston in last year’s competition, Kevin Spacey finally pulled off his first Globes award for best actor in a drama series for “House of Cards” (his co-star Robin Wright won best actress in the same category in 2014).

Spacey’s and Wright’s respective performances, along with those of the supporting cast (I’m looking at you, Kate Mara), are real, multilayered and powerful. Complex, even confusing characters are necessary to avoid their “becoming good-or-evil” stereotypes and convey the twisted web of behind-the-scenes Washington politics.

What awards for digital series does not mean, however, is that traditionally-broadcast series are ignored in favor of unconventional choices. FX drama “Fargo,” for example, is a show that’s garnered extensive attention both at the most recent Emmy awards and also at the Globes (best miniseries or TV film & best actor in a miniseries or TV movie – Billy Bob Thornton).

A worthy companion piece to the 1996 Coen Brothers movie of the same name, “Fargo” is yet another instance of how the right team of people – Martin Freeman’s awkward chemistry with Thornton is wonderful – can elevate a concept from ordinary or even overdone to something noteworthy.

Such words could be said to describe any number of great films or television series.

Nowadays, the post-postmodern nature of our culture makes originality hard to come by. Even when a work of art seems original, because of the Internet’s resources, it’s become increasingly easy to track down the influences of your favorite filmmakers.

The movie world is an intricate web of hard-working artists, and thanks to relatively open-minded awards like the Golden Globes, these individuals can gain traction to keep doing what they do and be recognized for their extraordinary accomplishments.

Brian McCray is a junior studio art major and an arts & entertainment writer for Cedars. He enjoys drawing, writing, watching movies and composing short bios of himself.

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