Golden Globe Nominations: Flirting with Tradition

19 Dec

By Comic Relief

Though there’s certainly a lot to say about the importance or relevance of the Golden Globes Awards ceremony, one has to accept it is one of the arbiters of Hollywood and western filmic cultural taste.  Just to be transparent, we at LIH have been critical of the ceremony in the past.  If you want to see what we said about last year’s ceremony please click here [1].  At other Hollywood concerned sites, cultural critics like’s Internet maven, Nikki Finke believe the Golden Globes ceremony has lost all credibility do to it’s frequent pandering to Hollywood special interests [2].  Going back as far as Pia Zadora’s 1982 frankly nepotistic (and possible financial donation) and actual nomination as “New Star of the Year”,’s Danny Miller echoes Finke’s concern when he even references a full history of scandalous occurrences that appear to tarnish the ceremonies’ validity[3].

This is exactly why audiences so vehemently hiss when issues enter the ceremonies that have more to do with Hollywood politics than reviewing the previous year’s movies.  Why should this be upsetting, because these topics may have a huge influence on the way films are reviewed? They cloud perspectives, color reviews, and minimize the audience’s ability to scrutinize freely and independently.

Choices of the ceremony content describe western and certainly the English-speaking world’s values, appetites, aspirations and expectations of western film creation, distribution, and audience’s interests.  Do these values change every year?  Yes, they do.  Just as politics, needs, desires, fascinations and beliefs change the current slate of movies reflect some aspect of the film communities interests and concerns.  Whether those interests are confined to studio development obsessions, theater and video distribution outlet passions or restrictions, or the general public’s tolerances or compulsions: are up for us to decipher.  So in a year like 2011 how might we describe the local, international, interests pertaining to commercial film and entertainment industry?

Before I start I should be clear that like beauty, progress is in the eye of the beholder.  Meaning what individuals define as stasis, progress, or conservatism is completely subjective.  Whether positive or negative, one’s place in the world will completely define one’s outlook and evaluations.  Despite what you will be told there is no neutral middle ground, all perspectives are a reflections of individual expectations and the contemporary beliefs about this time period.

Clearly the US, the continental site of Hollywood, is in the throws of an economic recession.  The country remains active in military struggles around the world. Outside of these understood political battle grounds the country remains, trade-wise, the largest exporter of Entertainment in the world.  The United States fell as the world’s top economic power along time ago, yet the US’s influence in regard to the cultural, philosophical, and democratic spheres has remained fairly intact.  That said, ideas about existence, economic power, political options, sexuality, spirituality, ethnic autonomy, gender relations, is all in debate in many different sector of our world.  The film world represents just one site that allows representation of these sometimes disparate and contrasting views.

In my humble opinion, though less so than what seems likely for the Academy Awards, this list of conservative topics seems best inspired by a country fearful about national conditions.  When Newsweek’s Michael Gross says “the failing tide of the past few years hasn’t lowered all boatshe’s making a critical metaphor [4].” He is claiming that we haven’t all suffered equally.  An equally alienating or for many, Time magazine’s Rana Foroohar expresses an entirely contradictory observation.  When she says “the American Dream, like the rest of our economy, has become bifurcated,” she is claiming one either experiences the recession like one community or another [5].

Purely focusing on movies and not the environments they are distributed within.  Yet what I think is difficult to determining is whether the movies are expressions of their main themes or are they merely defined by them.  I believe these determinations will make the winning best picture either a wonderful choice or bittersweet win.



  • As the legal executor of his family’s property in the Hawaiian Islands, George Clooney’s character Matt King has to determine how and when to sale the property.  While doing this he has to determine how to best support his family members and guarantee the integrity of his family name.  If this isn’t enough he also has become reliable father, take care of comatose wife, and find the man the wife was having an affair with.  This melancholy tale illustrates how survivors advance and orchestrate lives devoured by tragedy.

Why “flirting with tradition?”  Ambivalence: even though King actually does stop short of endorsing the meaningless colonial exchange of land rights. This sacrifice by the character is almost unnoticed due to the enormous personal burden endured by this selfish character due to his dying wife’s living indulgences.  Because neither character can really testify regarding their motivations, the audience is spared a lesson in ethics.


  • Finding out that her childhood nanny Constantine Jefferson played by Cicely Tyson has abandoned lifelong job. Skeeter played by Emma Stone sets out on a mission to document the lives of Black housemaids in 1960’s south.  Along the way, she meets a community of house servants, sympathizes with their awkward plight that is largely determined by the laws of that time’s, and incidentally exposes the hypocrisies of a society wives who act as of suburban housekeeper managers.

Why “flirting with tradition?”  Hesitation; though the book documentation idea was incredibly brave, this fictional tale builds a story on sympathy not on outrage. Feeling for your housekeeper because of the way she made you feel is courteous yet not particularly selfless.  Appropriately this story’s personal accounts and nominations for best and supporting actresses for Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Jessica Chastain describe the immense wealth of this screenplay.


  • Orphaned after an accident, Hugo played by Asa Butterfield must maintain his late uncle’s job to avoid being placed in the ghastly orphanages of early 2Oth century France and attempt to solve the riddle of an automaton that he and his father undertook before his father’s death.  Coincidentally the automaton belonged to a neighborhood shopkeeper, played by Ben Kingsly, who is secretly one of film histories’ greatest innovators.

Why “flirting with tradition?”  Greed; similar to so many Martin Scorsese films, women who have a much clearer vantage point regarding all of the male character’s strengths, sacrifices, and histories are effectively rendered clueless.  Saving women to be examples of embarrassment, disgrace, or another form of loss converts women to be (at worse) examples of set design or (at best) special effects.  Finding ways to avoid their conscious inclusion effectively robs them of their positions in history.


  • Heading into the crossroads of a confrontation that could leave his political employer and mentor without the means to win a challenging campaign obstacle, Stephen Meyers chooses to take action. Played by Ryan Gosling, his strategies a number of politic compromises that threaten to guarantee his survival yet minimize his integrity.  George Clooney who plays Governor Mike Morris does an exceptional job of illustrating how experience matures political professionals yet diminishes their character.

Why “flirting with tradition?”  Impatience; to see the results of conniving played out on your life or body doesn’t diminish this overall massage that democracy in ugly.  But being the like Morrisa Tomei’s character Ida Horowicz does or being at the scene of the crime as Evan Rachel Wood’s character Molly Stearns does doesn’t make a character any less a participant.  Isn’t it time to give participants get their due?


  • Using his own professional experience to diminish the subjective and nearly superstition nature of contemporary baseball, former player Billy Beane played by Brad Pitt sets out on mission to manage a baseball team by means of statistics.  Collecting an ally and sidekick who incidentally believes teams should be run this way is easier because he believes this should occur for the player’s benefit, safety and respect.  Along the way they re-affirm the game, his players, and themselves.

Why “flirting with tradition?”  Doubt; regardless of whether many who rely on instincts have good reason to resist or fear technology.  Yet what’s at stake in this compromise for faith is a spiritual contract with things that aren’t easily seen and yet can’t necessarily be traced back to the individual.  Against reason makes this compromise and incidentally places everything at stake in the process.  The results of “this gamble” say more about him than the method he uses.


  • Enlisting after his horse is sold into the army Albert Narracott, played by Jeremy Irvine, invests in a journey he could have never imagined. Surrounded by the death and destruction of friends, allies, and other horses, Albert perseveres while ridding himself of some other personal barriers one can attribute to youth. When the Albert reunites with his horse both he and the animal, and many of the people the horse met, all have both achieved a maturity befitting those who have succeeded regardless of the trials of war.

Why “flirting with tradition?”  Nostalgia; the presumption that a contemporary movie relies on values we all support seems to be product of a pre-internet mind set.    We may lament its occurrence, yet responses to the First World War are driven by individual opinions and perceptions that may be influenced by age, nationality, geographic origin. etc., in the past movies like “Sounder”, “Black Beauty”, “Marley and Me”, etc. did an extremely ambitious job detailing the lives of animal owners.  Replacing these descriptions for battlefield bombast and pastoral vistas is where “Warhorse” failed compel.

Please join our discussion Tuesday 12/20/2011@7pmE/12UTC






[4] Gross, Michael. (2011) What Recession, Darling? Newsweek Magazine. 28-30.

[5] Foroohar, Rana. (2011) What happened to Upward mobility? Time Magazine 178(19)26-29.

59 Responses to “Golden Globe Nominations: Flirting with Tradition”

  1. Littlebells December 19, 2011 at 3:11 PM #

    HI CR,

    I really enjoyed how you delivered this article. I think I’ve become to jaded with award shows. After seeing films and actors that deserved to win get snubbed by sub par, IMO, makes me very critical. Of course there are many that are deserving who do win, but when you can see the political BTS pushing a movie to win, it makes me want to gag.

    And despite my feelings, I look forward to watching GGs with LIH this year! HAHA! 🙂

  2. Comic Relief December 19, 2011 at 5:47 PM #


    I’m glad you liked it. Personally, like you, I’m still a little jaded about the Golden Globes and their mission. Personally I’m hoping the discussion will help relieve some of my anxieties about the topic.

    • Littlebells December 19, 2011 at 7:18 PM #

      I don’t know much about The HFPA, so I’m reading up on it. I thought I would post their mission statement for all our readers:

      To establish favorable relations and cultural ties between foreign countries and the United States of America by the dissemination of information concerning the American culture and traditions as depicted in motion pictures and television through news media in various foreign countries;

      To recognize outstanding achievements by conferring annual Awards of Merit, (Golden Globe® Awards), serving as a constant incentive within the entertainment industry, both domestic and foreign, and to focus wide public attention upon the best in motion pictures and television;

      To contribute to other nonprofit organizations connected with the entertainment industry and involved in educational, cultural, and humanitarian activities;

      To promote interest in the study of the arts, including the development of talent in the entertainment field through scholarships given to major learning institutions.

      • Open Book December 20, 2011 at 7:23 PM #

        Their mission statement sounds good in theory!! The problem is in their delivery methods.

  3. Comic Relief December 20, 2011 at 6:07 PM #

    Wow, that’s intense.

    Thanks for the post.

    • Littlebells December 20, 2011 at 6:08 PM #

      haha, yeah! I had to read it a few times because I kept forgetting what I was reading.

  4. Comic Relief December 20, 2011 at 6:51 PM #

    HAHAHAHA. In case, you meant this, I did not think it was boring.

    Sorry, I meant to post this in the article; yet here it is.

    • Littlebells December 20, 2011 at 7:07 PM #

      great article and I agree with this statement:

      “Stars win in direct correlation to their glamour quotient. Everything about the awards is geared towards hyping the media’s interest and the telecast’s ratings.”

      I noticed that too and it’s sad when I can generally pick who is going to win. Not always, but I usually can based on what Nikki mentioned above.

      What do you not like about the GGs, CR?

  5. Comic Relief December 20, 2011 at 6:52 PM #

    I guess maybe Nikki thinks it’s boring too.

  6. Open Book December 20, 2011 at 7:09 PM #

    Hi Everyone!

    Welcome to our discussion tonight! Please jump in anytime.

    • Littlebells December 20, 2011 at 7:16 PM #

      Hi CR and OB!

      I’ll be jumping onto my phone in a minute.

      I’m curious as to who donates to the HFPA. Since it’s nonprofit, what do the donations go towards?

      • Open Book December 20, 2011 at 7:19 PM #

        LOL!! Hmm! Well I will let CR answer this one. I’m a little jaded from last year. But to give u a hint. Some of the donations were used to bribe the HFPA for nominations.

        • comic relief December 20, 2011 at 7:41 PM #


          Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe these donations go toward Gervais salary.

          • Parisienne December 20, 2011 at 7:47 PM #


            • littlebells December 20, 2011 at 7:54 PM #

              Well if he pulls off another direct hit, he deserves it!

  7. Open Book December 20, 2011 at 7:16 PM #

    Great article CR!

    I have stated my disinterest in the GG. I think Ricky G. really gave the ceremony the shot in the arm it needed. However, it was not enough of a distraction.

    Let me first say the GG should not be seen as anything other than a big advertising campaign for mainstream audiences. If u are interested in learning or appreciating unconventional films shown at film festivals etc… this is not the show to watch.

    • comic relief December 20, 2011 at 7:34 PM #

      Hi OB,

      “…be seen as anything other than a big advertising campaign for mainstream audiences”

      We’ve watched films like “Carnage”, “Shame” and “A Dangerous Method” conquer festivals all around the world. Your statement suggests that because they are not overtly mainstream they possibly could not be nominated.

    • littlebells December 20, 2011 at 7:44 PM #

      Thank you for saying that OB! It really bothers me that we dont get many foreign films. And despite that I will watch the show, I feel Luke its HW saying “look how great we are.” And I mean HW in a general sense. Not individual people because there are many actors who dont care the glitter and sparkle of it all.

      • comic relief December 20, 2011 at 7:50 PM #

        thoroughly agree

        • littlebells December 20, 2011 at 7:53 PM #

          Blame mt phone for all horrible spelling. 🙂

          • comic relief December 20, 2011 at 7:58 PM #

            Thanks, I’m going to start using that excuse.

  8. Parisienne December 20, 2011 at 7:26 PM #

    Hi Everyone!

  9. Parisienne December 20, 2011 at 7:29 PM #


    Very informative article, I like it very much. Have the GG always been this way or has the bribery began in recent years?

    • comic relief December 20, 2011 at 7:37 PM #

      Danny Miller at MSNBC traced this back to 1982. So these gaffs seem to happen frequently and have a long track record.

  10. comic relief December 20, 2011 at 7:33 PM #

    Hi Paris,OB, and LB.

  11. Parisienne December 20, 2011 at 7:39 PM #

    Are the GG, the awards show where people sit at dinner tables but aren’t actually eating anything? In that case, What happened HFPA? You can’t afford to feed the people who actually showed up? or was their bribe not big enough to warrant actually getting some food?

    • comic relief December 20, 2011 at 7:42 PM #


      • comic relief December 20, 2011 at 7:47 PM #

        They certainly aren’t paying consultants to choose films.

        What do we get as a best film nomination?

        I can’t believe “Hugo” and “Warhorse” are even on the list.

        These aren’t horrible films by any stretch, but both are fraught with both Directors’ now predictable weaknesses.

    • Open Book December 20, 2011 at 8:31 PM #


      Love it…

      They go to great lengths to show how real actors are by showing them in this casual seting. Yet, withhold food. That’s REAL HW for you!!

  12. ozzie20 December 20, 2011 at 7:43 PM #

    Hi All!

    Great article CR! Very informative and I love the breakdown of each film!

    • comic relief December 20, 2011 at 7:47 PM #

      Thanks and hi Ozzie.

    • Open Book December 20, 2011 at 8:26 PM #

      Hi Oz!!

  13. Parisienne December 20, 2011 at 7:44 PM #

    Hi Ozzie!

    • ozzie20 December 20, 2011 at 8:00 PM #

      Hi Paris!

  14. littlebells December 20, 2011 at 7:48 PM #

    What qualifications does a film have to meet to be considered? Is there a checklist or do the members flip a coin?

    • comic relief December 20, 2011 at 7:51 PM #

      I’m beginning to wonder; do you have to be an american director?

  15. littlebells December 20, 2011 at 7:49 PM #

    Hi ozzie and Paris!

    • ozzie20 December 20, 2011 at 8:01 PM #

      Hi LB!

  16. littlebells December 20, 2011 at 7:51 PM #

    CR and OB,

    With bribery possibly being involved *wink wink*, what does winning an award financially do for a studio?

    • comic relief December 20, 2011 at 7:56 PM #

      I think that’s a really terrible question? Do they care? Last year was so sad, you would have thought they were finished with being so crude.

      I can’t imagine that the studio’s take their credibitlity so lightly.

      • littlebells December 20, 2011 at 8:03 PM #

        Sorry, I didn’t mean it to be terrible. I guess I just wonder in general, does a studio benefit from their film winning. I don’t know. I’m just curious.

        • comic relief December 20, 2011 at 8:09 PM #

          If I was misunderstood, I didn’t mean your question was terrible. I meant you unveiled a terrible truth.

          • littlebells December 20, 2011 at 8:16 PM #

            Oh Gotcha! Thank you for clarifying. 🙂

  17. comic relief December 20, 2011 at 8:07 PM #

    First off let’s figure out whether last year is really over, obviously their own use of Ricky Gervais (LAST YEAR) indicates they were as tired of themselves last year as we were. Are actors Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, and director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck in the ceremony this year, I don’t think so. Their inclusion in any way would be too comical.

    Neither Depp nor von Donnersmarck have movies out. Getting some press even before it has been circulated nationally, Jolie’s decadence from last year really hurt her this year in a big way; especially at a time when she has clearly stretched her talents as a director.

    Do you think the other best picture nominees have been as ambitious as she has been as an actress this year?

    • littlebells December 20, 2011 at 8:15 PM #

      I honestly have not paid attention.

      What do u think the show needs to make improvements? How can the GGs regain their appeal?

      • Comic Relief December 21, 2011 at 8:30 PM #

        I really think the GG needs to compete with the Academy Awards in regard to reviewing the year’s films. I know The GG doesn’t believe this is their responsibility. They think they have actors, directors, and studios to promote but fewer reviewers helps to sustain poor filmaking and even poorer actors, directors, and studios.

        Leaving all of this to the Oscars is way too much power, authority, and influence for one organization alone. And when the Oscars fail we all lose. Film has been the number one art form for some time now, and it deserves as much critical evaluation as it can get.

        The GG needs a new mission.

        • Littlebells December 21, 2011 at 8:45 PM #

          See I never knew that the GGs don’t really review. That seems really pointless. Thanks for the info and I agree, they should raise their standards and compete with the Oscars. Make it seem like they actually care about the movies they are nominating.

          • Comic Relief December 22, 2011 at 1:00 PM #

            The pointlessness is stunningly sad. I keep telling myself to stop reacting; it’s PR for PR’s sake.

            On the other hand some artists are actually trying to do something which I imagine becomes really difficult with so many tea parties, pageants, and dog shows that are dedicated to business as usual.

            I guess I’m sympathetic for those who currently have to participate regardless of knowing how meaningless it is.

  18. Parisienne December 20, 2011 at 8:08 PM #

    I think a better version of that question would be:

    Does the studio recoup its bribe if the film wins?

    • littlebells December 20, 2011 at 8:10 PM #

      There u go!

    • Open Book December 20, 2011 at 8:26 PM #

      Hi Paris….

      Big hugs!!

      Great, Great! Q…

  19. Open Book December 20, 2011 at 8:31 PM #


    • comic relief December 20, 2011 at 8:38 PM #

      I’m having terrible communications/connection problems.

      It’s probably best if I sign off, I’ll return if anyone has any questions or there’s any statements I can/should respond to.

      Thanks everyone for coming.

  20. littlebells December 20, 2011 at 8:58 PM #

    Sorry, I’m back!

    • Littlebells December 20, 2011 at 9:11 PM #

      good night everyone!

  21. Littlebells December 23, 2011 at 1:46 AM #

    Well I just finished watching “Warrior” starring Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte. I know many will say, “Oh it’s like The Fighter”, but it’s not and the performances that I saw were definitely award worthy. I would highly, HIGHLY recommend this movie and am so glad that Tom Hardy is making movies. I have loved everything that I have seen him in. He embodies each character superbly and I cannot wait to see him as Bane. Nolte had a scene that was delivered so genuinely and honestly. I will say that the last five minutes are intense and the dialogue between the brothers is very tender. GO WATCH IT!

  22. Comic Relief December 23, 2011 at 1:23 PM #

    Will do soon and great reccomendation.

  23. Karlyn Bullen December 25, 2011 at 11:06 PM #

    Some truly quality content on this website , saved to fav.

    • Comic Relief December 27, 2011 at 12:24 PM #


      thanks and please feel free to return and comment again. We appreciate your participation. 🙂

Comments are closed.

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