Last night NBC aired The Golden Globes and for those who stuck around instead of switching over to watch “Downton Abbey” or the series premiere of “Girls” you may have actually enjoyed yourselves. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosted the show and by all accounts they didn’t disappoint. The irreverence and wit was in full force not just from the hosts but from presenters like Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig as well.
Noteable TV wins landed in the hands of cable shows. Rookie Lena Dunham won for Best Actress in a comedy as did her HBO show “Girls” for best Comedy; Showtime’s “Homeland” won for Best Drama and both of its stars Claire Danes and Damian Lewis won in their categories; and Don Cheadle won for Best Actor in a comedy for his Showtime show “House of Lies.’
“Argo” surprised many by taking home the Globe for Best Dramatic Film, and that movie’s director Ben Affleck won for directing. Last week Affleck learned he had not even been nominated in the Director category for an Oscar. And with “Lincoln” and “Zero Dark Thirty” getting all the heat it seemed as if “Argo” wasn’t in the running at the Globes either. This gets us to the perennial point about the Golden Globes: it’s a singular event. That is, they have virtually nothing to do with the Oscars or — down the road– the Emmys. The small and idiosyncratic Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) votes for the Globes, whereas industry pros vote for the Oscars and Emmys. So don’t fill out your Oscar ballot based on the results of last night’s party.
Still, what you can infer is that the Golden Globes — perhaps in the room more than anything– served as a big mingle for Oscar campaigning. The films could, in a way, make a case for themselves with clips and music and a prominent (presidential) presenter. “Silver Linings Playbook” was introduced by Christian Bale because of his Oscar winning performance in David O. Russell’s last film (and because he’s a captivating star who was in one of 2012’s big hits), Jeremy Renner introduced “Zero Dark Thirty” because of his Oscar winning performance in Kathryn Bigelow’s last film,”The Hurt Locker.” But when President Bill Clinton introduced “Lincoln” the ballroom was floored– even as everyone took to their feet for a standing ovation. It was as if Spielberg called in a favor to get the former leader of the free world to effectively endorse the movie and sway potential voters. After all, Big Bill was able to do it for Obama.
But could Spielberg predict that Amy Poehler would take to the stage after Bill Clinton exited only to say with mouth agape — That was Hillary Rodham Clinton’s husband?
TV Shows & Guns
Last week the Television Critics Association (made up of bloggers and critics who cover television for all media) met with TV executives about their midseason shows. It was a time to whet the critics’ appetites for new series with clips and stars. But it also gave critics access to the heads of networks and they didn’t shy away from asking everyone about how the recent massacre at an elementary school in Connecticut would and could and perhaps should affect what goes on the air.
It was a conversation that lasted all week. “I don’t think you can make the leap of shows about serial killers causing the violence that we have in our country.” NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt said Sunday at the winter TV press tour in Pasadena. “There are many other factors, from mental illness to guns.”
Later in the week, Kevin Reilly head of prime time on the Fox network had to answer questions about its new show “The Following” starring Kevin Bacon. That show has been called out for being exceptionally violent– especially for broadcast TV. Reilly cited rivalry from cable shows like AMC’s zombie drama “The Walking Dead” as a reason why broadcasters are pushing the boundaries on violence, saying: “You look at the top scripted shows on cable, and they are all pretty heavy duty. These are not some small cultural little things that people like. The top drama on television now is a show where people get their heads blown off at point-blank range.” He added, “Had the incident in Connecticut not occurred, I think everybody would be saying ‘The Following’ is a great show, and you’re taking on cable at their own game.”
Meanwhile, FX president John Landgraf, whose network runs shows like the biker gang series Sons of Anarchy had this to say on the subject:
“I think as an industry we should study it more and if we can find the actual correlations, we should act upon those correlations,” Landgraf said during his executive session. “While I think that anything and everything that bears any realm of responsibility for these travesties up to and including what we do in the media should be looked at,” he said, “if you want to look at the major difference between England the United States, it’s access to and availability of guns, and, in particular, the kind of gun.”
Late last week Vice President Biden met with members of Hollywood — far from content creators, they were people like Chris Dodd who heads the MPAA, John Fithian the head of the National Association of Theater Owners, and Comcast Vice President David Cohen. At some point this week, Biden will make recommendations to the president on how government could respond to and reduce gun violence based on a series of meetings he had last week. It remains to be seen how the TV, film and video game industries could be part of that conversation when their bottom lines are about getting audiences and advertisers.