The downfall of the Golden Globes

graphic by Evan Chambless

graphic by Evan Chambless

Every year, like clockwork, award season descends upon us. For some, it is a time of elation and joy, to watch the stars of the silver screen all in one room, clapping and cheering each other on.

It also provides a massive platform for the more motivated and passionate entertainers to speak their minds, bring up important issues and rally people behind noble causes. Award season and the shows it encapsulates have good and bad within them, but one that has truly lost its place in the pantheon of legitimacy is the Golden Globes.

Before my head is mounted like Joffery’s, allow me to explain why I believe the once-great award has in recent years dwindled to more of a nice solid pat on the back or a sort of runner-up consolation prize. Look at the most recent show, with two films, “Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri” and “Lady Bird,” as the front-runners for the best motion picture (drama).

“Three Billboards” won, taking home best motion picture (drama), and “Lady Bird” took home best motion picture (musical or comedy). While both are labeled as equivalent awards, it’s clear when watching “Lady Bird” that it wasn’t meant to be a comedy. While it has funny elements and well-written humor, the film is about growing up, emotional evolution and the dire straits millions of people deal with every day.

The writers and directors of “Lady Bird” didn’t set out to make a comedy, but a moving film meant to inspire deep emotional connections and heartfelt memories. So when they are awarded as a comedy, it seems to be more of a second-place trophy rather than a top-level award. While the other films in its category are great (except for “Greatest Showman” — sorry, Hugh Jackman), they too aren’t purely just comedies.

“Get Out,” while well written and directed to create funny moments, is about race, white privilege, and without a doubt the most insane weekend getaway put to screen. The same can be said for “I, Tonya” and “The Disaster Artist,” both multilayered films that sadly are branded by the Globe community as “comedies” and thus are placed in a sort of reserve category, the almost-good-enough category.

There is nothing wrong with the award, and the “Lady Bird” team should be proud of creating a fantastic movie, one I love and will see many more times. But it saddens me that they got second place, and that they received an award I would wager they didn’t set out to get. While I doubt they created the movie for the awards, being noticed for your achievements is a feeling no one should be exempt from, especially artists like “Lady Bird” director Greta Gerwig and its entire cast.

Films made to answer a question or to bring to light an issue are hard to do right, and when it is achieved they should be awarded for the feat. At one time, the Golden Globes symbolized a precursor to the Oscars, the event that gave the public a good idea as to what films were favored, what films were worth seeing  and to some extent, the show still does that.

But the Golden Globes have lost their prestige, the legitimacy that when an actor or actress or director received that circular gold statue, they could put it in their office or on their shelf and be proud. Now, it seems like the participation trophy, the award for trying your best and making it to the reserve team. There is nothing wrong with it, but for some of the people there on the bench, it’s not enough.

Imagine if the Oscars had second-place awards. Leonardo DiCaprio wouldn’t put up his five-second place Oscars next to his first place one. Why be reminded of almost making it, being good but not good enough, or just not being the best? Since the Oscars only award one winner, the six or seven other finalists may not like that they lost, but they never know if they almost made it. They are all in the same boat.

The Golden Globes are now the second-place awards, the almost-theres. That doesn’t mean in any way that the people who won one should feel less proud. But they should realize that they are being recognized on an award show that recognizes two best actors, two best actresses, and two best pictures. Which is better?

According to the Globe Committee, they both are equally as good. The real question is, are they?