January 13, 2013


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Written by: Mitch Salem
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Verbal Kint once noted that that greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.  Just as impressively, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has accomplished the exact opposite:  against all evidence, its members have convinced a major television network, countless media outlets and millions of viewers that it does exist, and that the prizes given by its obscure membership, whose individual opinions no one would remotely care about, are worth worldwide attention.  So welcome to the 2013 Golden Globe Awards, and our running account of its antics:

5PM:  Well, Mel Gibson is there.  So there’s that.

5:08PM:  Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, just as lovable and funny as everyone had hoped.  A couple of surprisingly cutting lines aimed at Ricky Gervais (HFPA getting a little belated revenge?), although the James Cameron/Kathryn Bigelow shot seems to have gotten the most mumble-mumble response.

5:10PM:  The 1st award of the night… to Christoph Waltz for Best Supporting Actor in Django Unchained.  Early sign of Lincoln weakness?  HFPA love for Harvey/QT?  Utterly meaningless?  We’ll see.  Gracious speech, anyway.

5:12 PM:  The TV Golden Globes are far less important than the movie awards, partly because they’re given out so many months before the Emmys that they’re forgotten when it really counts.  But that part of the evening gets underway with Best Supporting Actress to Maggie Smith for Downton Abbey, about as uncontroversial a choice as one can imagine.

5:17PM:  First bleep of the night!  Game Change does what it can to make its predictable win interesting.  Thanks, Jay Roach!

5:20PM:  And after that, Julianne Moore was a foregone conclusion.  But a nice Amy Poehler gag as Darcy Whatshername, fake nominee (sitting next to Taylor Swift, no less!).

5:23PM:  Catherine Zeta-Jones has 2 movies opening in the next few weeks (Broken City and Side Effects), so welcome back to the public eye.  Plus she can actually sing, so having her introduce the Les Miserables clip was a classy choice.

5:30PM:  The head of the HFPA could totally play Rosa Klebb in the remake of From Russia With Love.  (Is there a backstory to that Jeffrey Katzenberg joke?)  Also, Michael J. Fox never needed a paternity test for that “philanthropist” son of his.

5:32PM:  Paul Rudd does the “long pause proves I know just how bad the joke is” bit.

5:33PM:  The glow isn’t off Homeland–Damian Lewis beats Bryan Cranston, Jon Hamm, Steve Buscemi, and possibly Daniel Day-Lewis.

5:35PM:  A little technical glitch later, and yup, Homeland is still the It Show.  Much appreciation for the shot of Aaron Sorkin reacting  to losing.

5:43PM:  The real Tony Mendez (Affleck in the movie) on to introduce ARGO with John Goodman.  He’s a genuine hero, but not for his skill with TelePrompter and podium mike.

5:45PM:  The stars of “Parker” are giving out a Golden Globe.  Welcome, incidentally, to the Golden Globes.

5:46PM:  LIFE OF PI wins Best Score.  Again, probably this means nothing other than the HFPA’s desire to give Pi something… but Lincoln is 0-for-2.

5:47PM:  Best Song goes to SKYFALL, aka the Adele song.  Like everything else about Skyfall, it’s the best Bond song in recent memory and a well-deserved winner.  That means the original Les Miserables song was added to the movie for naught.  Adele herself seems genuinely thrilled to have won, and that’s always nice.

5:52PM:  Doesn’t Pepsi have any commercials other than the one with Sofia Vergara at the wedding?  It’s in a heavy rotation that feels like the beer commercials during football.

5:57PM:  The return of the “fake nominee” bit, this time with Tina.  And really, who wouldn’t have preferred to see Dog President win than Kevin Costner?  Not even that he wasn’t good in Hatfields & McCoys, it just feels like his comeback is going to end up painful for everyone.

6PM:  Ladies and gentlemen, Bill Freaking Clinton!  The most Hollywood Prez since JFK, and he’s here to present Lincoln.  Top that, Silver Linings Playbook!  (Harvey Weinstein just threw up a little in his mouth.)

6:01PM:  “That was Hillary Clinton’s husband!”  Yay, Amies.

6:02PM:  Will Ferrell’s Anchorman moustache makes him look like a sideshow barker.  In a good way.  The Ferrell/Wiig schtick, though, is a little close to the SNL Fred Armisen bit with the singers who haven’t written the lyrics for their new songs.

6:06PM:  Tommy Lee Jones got a bigger laugh for his dyspeptic reaction to the comedy bit than the bit itself did.

6:07PM:  Jennifer Lawrence hosts SNL this week, and she’s already slaying them with her Meryl Streep and Harvey Weinstein jokes.  Let the coronation begin.

6:13PM:  We’re back to TV, and Best Supporting Actor.  Ed Harris is a very talented actor, but no, no… no winner other than Mandy Patinkin will be entertained.  I choose to believe Harris didn’t show up out of respect to Saul.

6:15PM:  When you’re as overwhelming a favorite as Anne Hathaway, it actually must be a lot of pressure–if she’d lost, it would have been one of the stories of the night.  Not to worry, though.  A very gracious speech, even though Sally Field looks to be accepting her tribute with gritted teeth.

6:20PM:  Disney should consider incorporating the Sofia Vergara Pepsi commercial into The Great and Powerful Oz.  Or Pepsi should put Oz into the commercial, either way.

6:22PM:  We’re approaching that dead time in the middle of the show known as the Lifetime Achievement Award.  Mel Gibson, by the way, is sitting next to Jodie Foster, so that explains that.  Although nothing explains why Foster has locked herself so tightly to GIbson’s flailing career.

6:23PM:  Best Screenplay provides the night’s first shock.  Lincoln, Silver Linings, Zero Dark Thirty, Argo… and the winner is Django Unchained.  The moral, as always:  the HFPA loves Harvey Weinstein.  Lincoln:  0-for-3.

6:27:  Hi, Debra Messing.  Hey, did you know Smash is coming back?  NBC would like you to know that.

6:28PM:  Don Cheadle wins the Comedy/Musical TV actor award, fulfilling the yearly Globes mission of choosing one oddball TV winner.  Cheadle is one of America’s great actors, but House of Lies (airing in half an hour on Showtime) is far from the best material around.  (Also, why is Mel Gibson glaring so fixedly at Cheadle?  He is, right?)

6:33PM:  It’s the AARP Award!  Stallone and Schwarzenegger presenting–please let them give the award to Michael Haneke, please!

6:35PM:  Now all we need is for Haneke to sign on for Expendables 3.

6:36PM:  Claire Danes winning TV Drama Actress is right behind Anne Hathaway in the inevitability sweepstakes.

6:38PM:  Always a bit of a disconnect to see someone as intense as Danes when she’s acting be sweet and likable as herself.

6:45PM:  It’s Sacha Baron Cohen as Ricky Gervais!  He’s just lucky Russell Crowe isn’t there to beat the crap out of him.

6:47PM:  Awards to Brave:  sheer relief that Pixar bounced back from Cars 2.

6:50PM:  Always nice to see Liev Schreiber, but not exactly clear what his connection is to Life of Pi.

6:53PM:  They couldn’t give Lena Dunham a better seat?

6:54PM:  The Aziz Ansari stoned bit felt a little old, but Amy Poehler on Clooney’s lap made it all worth it.  Dunham’s speech was heartfelt and lovely.

7PM:  Tina and Amy are back, with zingers for Lena Dunham and Taylor Swift.  (They don’t dare to cut to the latter after that one.)

7:02PM:  Lifetime Achievement time.  Remember when Robert Downey, Jr was funny?  Remember when Mel Gibson was charming?  Remember Bo Derek jokes?  It’s going to be a long haul.

7:05PM: The sad lesson of the Jodie Foster clip package is that it’s been quite a while since she had a hit.

7:08PM:  Foster is trying very hard to be lovable.

7:10PM:  This all took a somewhat odd turn, with Foster more or less acknowledging her homosexuality but also fiercely defending her decision not to be public about her personal life for all these years.  It seems the years of semi-veiled (and not-so-veiled) attacks on her carefully-guided privacy have taken their toll.  It’s also strangely like a retirement speech, although not really.  Certainly it’s the most interesting acceptance speech of one of these things in memory.

7:15PM:  Foster’s speech felt both scrupulously written and utterly in disarray.

7:17PM:  Ben Affleck just won Best Director for Argo.  Steven Spielberg is officially having a bad night.  Of course, Affleck can’t win the Oscar SINCE HE WASN’T EVEN NOMINATED, but hey.  Good for him.

7:21PM: Seeing Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon present and make sneaky fun of the NBC succession disaster is a reminder of how well Jimmy Kimmel is doing.

7:23PM:  Girls!  Give the Globes credit, they took the shot the Emmys didn’t and awarded the zeitgeist comedy of the year.

7:25PM: A shout-out to Chad Lowe–even Hilary Swank doesn’t remember that one.

7:28PM:  Why look–it’s the Sofia Vergara Pepsi ad!  It’s a shame that 100-freaking-percent of Pepsi’s advertising budget this year went into producing that one freaking commercial.

7:29PM:  Smash, coming back.  On NBC.  Back-to-back promos for that show and Leno could be grouped under “A Celebration of Mediocrity”.

7:30PM:  Christian Bale needed a little more powder before getting under the hot lights.

7:31PM:  Hugh Jackman takes Best Comedy/Musical Actor, most notably beating Bradley Cooper.  He won’t win the Oscar (where he’d face Day-Lewis), so this is his moment.  Great extemporaneous reference to Jennifer Garner adding to her husband’s thank-yous just before presenting this one.

7:38PM:  Is this Over-Active Bladder commercial (OAB, if you were wondering) a national spot?  Was it placed deliberately before a promo for Deception?

7:39PM:  Jeremy Renner joins Jay Roach and Jodie Foster as needing a bleep.  Watch out for those “J”s.

7:40PM:  A little bit of Harvey Weinstein just died, as Les Miserables beat Silver Linings Playbook for Best Comedy/Musical, keeping its Oscar hopes alive.

7:45PM:  Clearly the Weinstein Company thought this would go another way when they bought a Silver Linings spot to air right after Comedy/Musical was presented.

7:47PM:  With Director and Screenplay going to Argo and Django, and the Supporting Acting awards going to Les Miserables and Django again, Best Drama is surprisingly wide open.

7:48PM:  Zero Dark Thirty gets on the board with Jessica Chastain.

7:50PM: It’s hard to tell which of the two of them is more moved by Chastain’s salute to Kathryn Bigelow.

7:52PM:  Daniel Day-Lewis.  Of course.  And he even cracks a nice joke about Skyfall.

7:55PM:  One More Pepsi wedding with Sofia Vergara…

7:56PM:  And Best Drama could still go to any of the nominees.

7:58PM:  Julia Roberts gets the marquee presenter spot.  Guess no one saw Mirror Mirror.

8PM:  ARGO!  Argo wins it all!  That is… surprising.  Someone keep the Lincoln contingent away from sharp objects.

8:01PM: One last good line from Amy:  “We’re going home with Jodie Foster!”

So… what did we learn?

Best Picture:  It is wide open, folks.  Lincoln isn’t a sure thing, Argo, Les Miserables, Silver Linings and Zero Dark Thirty all have a shot.

Best Actor:  Daniel Day-Lewis.  If it wasn’t over before, it is now.

Best Actress:  Chastain vs. Jennifer Lawrence.

Best Supporting Actor:  Wide open.  DeNiro, Tommy Lee Jones, Waltz, it could go to any of them.

Best Supporting Actress:  This one belongs to Anne Hathaway

Best Director:  So wide open that it might not even be the same as the Best Picture winner.

So stay tuned.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."