Eyebrows were raised back in September, when Woody Allen was announced as the 2014 recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award for career achievement at the Golden Globes. Not, of course, that it was a controversial selection in itself: you could argue for the award being a tad redundant, given that Allen hasn’t exactly been under-recognized in his career, but hardly undeserved.
(Indeed, he has been given somewhat short shrift by the HFPA: his only two Globe wins have come in the Best Screenplay category, for “Midnight in Paris” and “The Purple Rose of Cairo,” though “Hannah and Her Sisters” and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” both won Best Picture: Comedy or Musical. That’s right, “Annie Hall” lost to “The Goodbye Girl.”)
Rather, given the Globes’ noted prioritization of star presence — to the occasional detriment of the awards themselves — it’s somewhat surprising that they’d hand their highest honor to someone guaranteed not to show up to accept it. As everyone knows, Woody Allen doesn’t do awards ceremonies; he relented once in 2002 to present a tribute reel to New York in the post-9/11 Oscars — but I can’t imagine what would induce him to attend the Globes. Not a gold-watch award, that’s for sure.
But fear not, the Globes will not go celebrity-free during this portion of the show — it was confirmed today that Diane Keaton will be on hand to accept the award on his behalf. You could hardly ask for a more ideal proxy: Allen’s former lover and longstanding friend, Keaton has worked on eight films with him, from 1972’s “Play It Again, Sam” (directed by Herbert Ross, adapted from the 1968 Allen stage play on which they met) to 1993’s reunion effort “Manhattan Murder Mystery,” for which Keaton received a Globe nod. She won the Globe — and, of course, the Oscar — for Allen’s “Annie Hall.”
Aside from Mia Farrow — who, one suspects, is unavailable for this particular gig — no actor has worked as intimately and extensively with Allen as Keaton, so her acceptance ought to be a colorful one on its own terms. (Although probably not quite as memorable as that of this year’s DeMille recipient, Jodie Foster.) What, if anything, the award will mean to Allen is another question. Meanwhile, could he also be nominated in competitive fields for “Blue Jasmine?” He won’t be in attendance, but there could be rather a lot of Woody at the Globes anyway.