As I stated in last week’s blog about the film festival here in Palm Springs, “It’s the time when we get down to what life’s really all about—film.” Right on the heels of that large helping of digital and celluloid life, we now have the “award” show season in which we judge which pieces of filmed life are the best. I could go into a questioning of what we mean by best but in my opinion, BEST has become two parts reality show and one part human-interest story. Like a good Belvedere martini, you shake but don’t bruise.
For years we went along with The Academy Awards and its statuette the Oscar being the highest benchmark in the business. These awards generally took place during March and remained the Matriarch of show business. However, in recent years, competition has flourished no end. We have the Screen Actors Awards Ceremony, the Writers Guild Ceremony, The Spectator Awards and The Golden Globe Awards. In the past five years, the Golden Globe Awards have become the upstart in the awards race. For one thing, they are the first to take place on our TV every year. They used to be thought of as a quaint little gathering of some judges of unknown origin. The Oscars really didn’t have to fight to keep its dominance.
The sanctified walls of the Oscar began to crack and it lost its smile when certain hosts were not up to the proud history of the Oscars and deemed very pedestrian. By the time James Franco and Anne Hathaway hosted, the field was wide open for an award show like The Golden Globes to jump in and challenge Numero Uno. That they did with a vengeance by hiring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to host the show. The ladies were fantastic.
The Oscar show by comparison looked like it was trying to over achieve and had none of the laissez faire attitude the Golden Globe had. The Golden Globe was out to take over the field and this year they looked relaxed from the beginning to the end in the process. The Oscar show will have to really work to come up with some originality that will overtake this year’s Golden Globes.
It finally dawned on me and a lot of other folks that The Golden Globe Awards take in more territory than the Oscars. The Oscar is just film and only film. Who knows? Somewhere in future years, just like AFTRA (the television union) and SAG (the film union), they will merge and have just one large extravaganza a year.
All in all The Golden Globes presented a first-class show this time around and seemed very innovative. Two unlikely new players entered the fray this year with offerings—Amazon Studios and Netflix. Both won. Amazon for its series TRANSPARENT and Netflix for HOUOSE OF CARDS with winner Kevin Spacey.
TRANSPARENT won best TV Series and Best Actor in the comedy and musical categories. This series certainly opened exciting new territory and broadened people’s scopes, especially by winning. It is the story of a 70 year-old man with three grown children who informs them that he has been unhappy with his sexuality as a man all his life. He tells them that he has known since being very young that he was born in the wrong body. He kept it a secret from everyone but had reached the point where it was impossible to go on leading the double life. He decided to take his life in his hands and do something about it. I have seen several of the episodes and they are excellent and deserved to win.
I thank everyone connected with this production for winning and daring to bring this reality about transsexuals to the screen. Jeffrey Tambor won as best actor and he dedicated his performance and his statuette to the transsexual community for their ongoing struggle against bigotry and violence toward them. Jill Soloway, the producer, director and writer of the show who modeled the story on her father transitioning late in life, dedicated her win to Leelah Alcorn, a transgender young woman of 17 who recently made headlines after committing suicide; she left a note in which she described how her parents would not accept her as transgender and were making her go through conversion therapy. She chose death instead. Soloway wanted to do this series to show that everybody deserves to be who they are and live a full life.
I wrote a book entitled CONTESSA years ago about a transsexual and it had to fight for an audience because at the time it came out, people who changed their genders were thought of as complete freaks.
Times are a changing in so many areas. Many wrote this morning in their blogs and newspapers that The Golden Globes’ big winner was the LBGT community. One of the films up for best movie was PRIDE, which was about how the LBGT community pitched in and helped a group of miners in Great Britain win their strike.
Also Matt Bomer won best supporting actor in a series for his role in THE NORMAL HEART, about the AIDS crisis in 1980s New York City. In his acceptance speech Matt thanked his husband and three children as would any heterosexual person. Also the film THE IMITATION GAME was the story of Dr. Alan Turning, who even though he broke the Enigma Code and brought the war in Europe to an early end, thus saving millions of lives—and also invented the computer as we know it today, he was arrested for being gay and forced into a chemical lobotomy, which ultimately caused him to commit suicide after his brain was destroyed.
Finally, after years of avoidance, we are beginning to process ourselves out of a world of bigotry and oppression. These are some of the things which came through on the Golden Globe Award show last night. Now, it’s Oscar’s turn. What will they leave their audience with at the end of their three-hour broadcast?