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Six Reasons Why 'The Golden Globes' Is the Best Award Show on TV

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 12th 2011 3:00PM
Ricky Gervais hosts the 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards on NBC 1/18/11Despite the high ratings that most of the big awards shows get, the people who tune into them generally have nothing but complaints when they're over.

The reason is pretty clear: as television shows go, most award ceremonies stink. They're long, bloated, self-important showcases, too concerned about how the big stars who attend them are perceived and too tied up in recognizing everyone who's nominated to put on a good show.

Fortunately, the fine -- if mysterious -- folks in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association don't give a hoot about all that. Year after year, the Golden Globes prove to be a fast-moving and entertaining three hours, and its profile has risen to the point where it's the the third most-watched awards show on television, behind the Oscars and Grammys.

Most of the reasons for this have nothing to do with Hollywood back-patting and everything to do with the organizers and the stars not taking themselves so damned seriously.

People love seeing the movie and TV worlds rubbing elbows. Sure, there are other award shows that give their prizes to both movies and TV shows, but the Globes are the biggest. And, while there isn't as much of a "class" difference between TV stars and movie stars as there used to be -- there's also a lot more crossover between the two -- it's still intriguing to watch the worlds mingle. For instance, who doesn't want to see the cast of 'Glee' chatting on the red carpet with Colin Firth? Or Tracy Morgan chatting up David Fincher? The only place that can happen is at the Globes.

People are interested in most of the awards being given out. The HFPA isn't beholden to any of the various unions involved in movie and TV production; in essence, it's a critics' award. So they don't have to give any awards for lighting or costume design or craft services. So the vast percentage of the awards given out on Globes night are for actors, shows, and movies. Exactly what the audience wants to see.

Oddball awards and speeches. As I've cited before, the Globes' most famous oddball award is when they deemed Pia Zadora the best new actress of 1981. But they also have a history of giving awards to deserving actors that neither Academy would touch with a ten foot pole. That leads to fun speeches like the one Mickey Rourke gave when he won for 'The Wrestler' in 2009:

The show moves along quickly. There are 25 awards being given out, so there isn't much time for filler. That means rarely if any musical numbers, the "in memoriam" segment is quick, and even the host tends to keep his monologue to a minimum. At the end of the three hours, you don't exactly feel refreshed, but you also don't feel like you've been bored into submission, like with the Oscars and Emmys.

The room is intimate. I've been in the International Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton, and believe me, it's not a big room, especially compared to places like the Kodak Theater, Nokia Theater, or the Staples Center. It's arranged like a swanky Elks lodge award banquet, with tables crowded around the stage and on a few risers. There doesn't look like there's room to sneeze, much less zone out. Everyone's crowded and on edge, making for a more party-like environment, which is aided by...

The drinking. This is the most cited reason why people like the Globes. Instead of the celebs being crammed in their seats for four hours, barely able to get up to go to the bathroom, much less grab a martini, the stars at the Globes drink right there at the table. You know, like regular people who go to an awards banquet. Of course, drinking leads to other things, as Christine Lathi so famously found out in 1998:

What do you like most about the Golden Globes?

The Golden Globe Awards airs Sunday, January 16 at 8PM ET / 5PM PT on NBC.

(Follow @joelkeller on Twitter and at www.facebook.com/joelkeller.)
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Absolute best reason to watch the Golden Globes? One reason and one reason only...RICKY GERVAIS.

January 13 2011 at 3:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


January 12 2011 at 9:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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