Filming location for spaghetti westerns in Almería, Spain

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© 1987-2018
Scott R. Larson

Building façade in Cannes, France

Golden Globules

Okay, let’s cut right to the chase. Let us deal frankly and forthrightly with the major question left hanging in the air in the wake of Sunday night’s Golden Globes awards program. And that question is, of course, as follows. When I inevitably win a Golden Globe—probably for adapting a screenplay from one of my novels—will the Irish claim me as one of their own?

This is a question that has intrigued me for years. I am constantly fascinated when the Irish media fixate on the Irish or quasi-Irish who distinguish themselves on an international stage. For example, Ireland’s press burst collectively with pride, as it should, over Saoirse Ronan winning the prize for Best Actress in a Film (Comedy/Musical) for Lady Bird. She is clearly and indisputably Irish—even though her Wikipedia page describes her as “an American and Irish actress.” Sure, she was born in The Bronx, but her Irish parents moved the family home to Dublin and later Carlow when she was three. Moreover, you only have to hear her thoroughly Dub accent to know where she is “from.” And her acceptance speech was the most natural and un-pretentious of the whole evening.

A more interesting case is playwright/filmmaker Martin McDonagh, who also did well on Sunday. His film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri won four awards, including Best Film (Drama) and Best Screenplay for McDonagh personally. The Irish seem quite happy to claim him without quibbling about his London birth and upbringing. After all, both of his parents are from the West of Ireland, and he has dual citizenship. Moreover, many of his plays (The Beauty Queen of Leenane, The Cripple of Inishmaan) are set in Ireland. He’s one of our own, you can almost hear the punters nodding over their pints.

Daniel Day-Lewis did not win in his category on Sunday but, in the past when he has, the Irish have always been happy to count him among the Irish winners. Though a Londoner by birth and upbringing, he has been a resident of County Wicklow for years and has dual citizenship. In a way, it’s too bad he didn’t win since he says Phantom Thread is his film acting swan song. On the other hand, maybe this just wasn’t the year for a story about an older, self-obsessed, controlling man and his complicated relationship with a younger woman?

Sorry, I apologize for introducing gender politics into a serious awards ceremony like the Golden Globes. After all, the countless voters in the nomination and awards process were surely laser-focused only on the artistic merits of the various works and not merely on the political moment, right? There were no political considerations in showering so many awards on, say, McDonagh’s film, Ronan’s film (written and directed by the wonderful Greta Gerwig) and the series Big Little Lies and The Handmaid’s Tale, right? After all, these awards are voted on by huge numbers of people cutting across huge swathes of society and the various artistic communities. Sorry, that’s not right. I meant to say they represent the collective judgment of the nominees’ professional peers. Whoops, that’s not right either. I mean, the awards are actually chosen by the huge and inclusive numbers of serious and highly trained journalists, numbering in the thousands—if not tens of thousands. Okay, I don’t know how many journalists actually voted, but I do know that only members of something called the Hollywood Foreign Press Association get to vote, and it has fewer than 100 members.

Yes. This has turned into what this was always going to become—yet another annual rant about the Golden Globes.

In the past, the one redeeming quality about the Globes was always the fact that nobody at the ceremony actually gave a damn and they were all drunk and the HFPA always brought in some rake like Ricky Gervais to give them all a good verbal scalding. This year, given the state of things, they went all serious. Has there ever been a worse and less funny monolog than the one by Seth Meyers? If only there were some way to get in touch with Bob Hope and tell him that his perfunctory late-in-life Oscar emceeing is now forgiven. Sorry, Seth, but a couple of lame quips about Kevin Spacey and invoking the eventual death of Harvey Weinstein seem witty only to the religiously converted. But at least all the fun wasn’t squeezed out of the evening. In a blatant attempt to show the world that the sexual abuse scandals had not turned Hollywood’s elite into a bunch of prudes, each winner engaged in a couple of minutes of heavy petting before going on stage to accept her award.

Were there any good moments? Sure. Oprah Winfrey’s speech was lovely. It was heartfelt, important, eloquent, moving and inspiring. She may be the only billionaire who can invoke domestic workers and farmworkers without sounding clueless and patronizing. Contrast that with Meyers’s cringe-worthy attempt to get serious by talking awkwardly about the little people. I just wish Oprah—who has long spoken out bravely about her own abuse—had been speaking out about the treatment of women in Hollywood sooner, instead of being so cozy with Weinstein for all those years. Well, at least she never called him “a god” as Meryl Streep once famously did.

It was great to see 101-year-old Kirk Douglas on stage, even with all his infirmity. Frances McDormand’s acceptance speech was very good. She can do no wrong in my eyes. What else? It’s always good to see Carol Burnett. Okay, I’m running out of good things to say. Well, how about the various activists who were invited to make the evening seem less trivial and more important? That was cool. There were female role models there such as, um, Tonya Harding. Really? Tonya Harding being toasted on an evening that was meant to a be all about the wrongness of assaulting women? Really? Really?

That’s it. I’m done.

Really? Really? (Sorry, I can’t stop.) Really?

-S.L., 9 January 2018

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