No one would accuse the Hollywood Foreign Press Association of being a refined institution, but when you think about the kinds of movies, TV shows, actors, and actresses who've ended up with Golden Globes, it's actually staggering how the HFPA has gotten away with maintaining its image as a must-see event. Drunk people at the dais is, I guess, still a sufficient enough reason to tune in.
Let's celebrate today's nominations with a fond look back at some silly things that have won Golden Globes.
1. “Green Card” (Best Motion Picture — Comedy)
What a classic. Nothing says “comedic wonderful good times” like Gerard Depardieu and Andie MacDowell mixing it up in an immigration romcom. Fun fact: My aunt saw this movie in Germany, noticed the reaction of the crowd, and was embarrassed on America's behalf.
2. Twiggy (Best Newcomer of the Year, Actress)
I love Twiggy! She was great as a barrister on “America's Next Top Model.” She is not, meanwhile, a legendary actress, and she was certainly not a joy in “The Boy Friend,” the utter bomb that earned her this trophy. Stick to modness, ageless legend.
3. “A Majority of One” (Best Motion Picture, Comedy)
Sometimes forgettable movies win big awards. It's impossible to tell the future and what will ultimately hold up for generations, obviously. But maybe the HFPA should've hedged its bets with “A Majority of One,” a drama where Alec Guinness donned yellowface to play a Tokyo businessman. Oops! God bless the filmography of Rosalind Russell, but this is a historic mishap.
4. “Masterpiece” by Madonna (Best Original Song)
I'm a dead serious Madonna fan, and I'd even tell you that “Masterpiece” is a bad, humorless track from a downright unfortunate Madonna album (and soundtrack). The Globes love giving big stars the flashiest awards, and I'm sure Madonna's star power superseded her languid songwriting here.
5. “American Hustle” (Best Motion Picture, Comedy)
Let me be clear: I do not care if you liked this movie. I don't care that you were fooled. You couldn't tell me what this movie was about if you tried. Here's my summary: It's a bunch of big stars improvising in their favorite accents and dressing up as characters from the game Guess Who?. Jennifer Lawrence is miscast. Done. Moving on.
6. “Ben” (Best Original Song)
Michael Jackson's rat ballad. Deal with it.
7. “You Haven”t Seen the Last of Me” (Best Original Song)
“Burlesque”! Arguably the best film about a nonexistent burlesque culture on Sunset Boulevard. And this is easily the silliest Diane Warren track ever to rope up a major award. She should've won an Oscar for “There You'll Be” from “Pearl Harbor.” I said it.
8. Matt LeBlanc in “Episodes”
I like Matt LeBlanc. I really like Matt LeBlanc on “Episodes.” But did he really earn his kudos over Alec Baldwin, who'd won the same award three times previously? For “30 Rock” supremacists like myself, the answer is a hard Donaghy “no.”
9. Pia Zadora in “Butterfly” (Best Newcomer, Actress)
Heard of her? Her rigged win for Best Newcomer is the reason the Golden Globes were basically declared a drunken sideshow in PT Barnum's backyard. “Butterfly” was a little-seen flop, but Zadora — whose husband flew HFPA members to his lavish Vegas casino — earned the award over serious competition like Elizabeth McGovern and Kathleen Turner. Grim.
10. “Love Story” (Best Motion Picture, Drama)
Every time a baby boomer complains about the tastes of millennials, I remind them of this horrid schmaltz soup. Ryan O'Neal cannot stop calling Ali MacGraw “bitch” (with supposed affection) in this film. Ali MacGraw's acting is weirdly wretched, and if you've seen “The Getaway,” she is capable of great work on the big screen. Her character dies suddenly of an illness without a name. It's a movie that does not begin to function properly. Poor Ray Milland as a concerned father figure here. We concur.
11. Faye Dunaway in “Gia” (Best Supporting Actress, Miniseries or TV Movie)
Faye Dunaway: screen legend. “Gia,” however, is no “Bonnie and Clyde” or “Chinatown.” And this speech is too bonkers and suspicious not to revisit.
12. “Atonement” (Best Motion Picture, Drama)
Not a terrible movie, but it's more than a little weird that it toppled “No Country for Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood” to scoop up Best Picture. Those are bona fide “Best of the Decade” picks. I will admit that the sex scene in “Atonement” is worth throwing awards at. The only thing sexier, though, is Anton Chigurh's haircut.
13. The category “Best English-language Foreign Film”
This trophy existed until 1972. What a strange little category. It's like the HFPA is saying “We want to award the only non-American films that an American could bother caring about.”
14. Desi Arnaz Jr. (Best Newcomer of the Year, Actor)
This is a weird one. Desi Arnaz Jr., who had appeared on several of his mother's TV shows throughout the '60s, a movie, and even an episode of “Night Gallery,” won the Best Newcomer award for a TV movie called “Voyage of the Yes” in 1973. That might be too much praise for a man whose most legendary screen presence was as Marcia's crush on “The Brady Bunch.”
15. Not a single award for Betty White.
Betty White is one of the defining actresses in television history. She wooed America back in the '50s on “Life with Elizabeth,” turned in a saucy performance as Sue Ann Nivens on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” won an Emmy for hosting a game show in the '80s, and of course thrilled us as Rose Nylund on “The Golden Girls.” In total, she has six Emmys. That makes it all the more remarkable and bizarre that she's never ever picked up a Golden Globe. Meanwhile, her “Hot in Cleveland” costar Valerie Bertinelli has two. God love you, Val, but I think Allen Ludden's czarina deserves it just a bit more.