What the Oscars can learn from the Golden Globes
05:00 AM, Jan 16, 2013
Entertaining hosts. Memorable moments. Big surprises. Tommy Lee Jones’ grumpy face.
Sunday’s Golden Globes ceremony had a little bit of everything, with audiences responding positively in the auditorium, online with social media and in the TV ratings, drawing 19.7 million viewers and scoring its highest numbers since 2007.
Still, the resident awards show of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association plays second fiddle to the Academy Awards. That said, the Oscars have not been sizzling in recent years last year’s ceremony was watched by 39.3 million, an uptick of nearly 2 million over 2011, but it wasn’t even the most watched awards show of last February. (That award went to the Grammys, with 39.9 million viewers.)
With the Golden Globes receiving rave reviews all around, we talked to a pair of Oscar pundits Hollywood Reporter awards blogger Scott Feinberg and Fandango chief correspondent Dave Karger about what the Academy Awards could learn from the Globes’ big night.
Tap hosts with the most chemistry
Globes hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler worked together for years on Saturday Night Live, and audiences could tell the way they worked the stage. That easy relationship and natural chemistry was lacking in 2011 when James Franco and Anne Hathaway fell flat hosting the Oscars which was mocked during the Globes ceremony by Poehler.
“Maybe the idea of co-hosting if you actually pair up appropriate people is not a bad idea,” Feinberg says. “It takes some of the pressure and the burden off of just one person and spreads it around a little bit.”
It was clear that the two women were having a good time, Karger adds. “Their humor was pointed and had that perfect amount of edginess to it without ever being mean-spirited. If anything, I wanted more of them on that show.”
Comedian Seth MacFarlane is this year’s Oscar host, and he’d be wise to set a similar light tone as the Globes have in recent years, Karger says. Fey and Poehler set the tone for other funny moments, such as Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell appearing as clueless presenters. (Jones’ stern look while they poked fun at Hope Springs as everyone else laughed was hilarious in a totally different way.)
Allow for surprises
Bill Clinton’s appearance to present the movie Lincoln led to a standing ovation and was such a secret that “even members of the Hollywood Foreign Press didn’t know was going to happen,” Karger says.
Karger also was taken by surprise by Jodie Foster’s acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award that Feinberg found colorful, memorable and provocative.
“That’s what everybody was talking about,” he says. “It was a trending Twitter topic instantly, and backstage at the press room was buzzing. People were saying, ‘Did she just come out? Did she just retire from acting?’ Nobody quite knew what was going on.”
Feinberg says the academy actually took away its opportunity of having more of those spontaneous moments in 2010 when it moved the honorary Oscars to a different evening from the main ceremony.
“It is not telecast, so you can’t have some of those magical moments that connect the present with the past,” Feinberg says.
“On the other hand, if the academy had put this year’s honorary Oscars as part of the telecast, (with) the D.A. Pennebaker speech that went on for 20 minutes, they might have had to have security escort him off the stage. There’s pros and cons to everything.”
Relax a little
There’s a reason everybody seems to have a lot more fun at the Globes. It’s a less formal setting than the Oscars, Feinberg says; plus, the seating is different, there’s a lot of alcohol to loosen people up, there’s sometimes more than one winner in certain categories (like having a best drama and best comedy or musical instead of a single best picture), and TV folks are mixing with the movie types in the party atmosphere.
“Maybe what the academy might take away from this is that at least in the present day, people seem to enjoy both in the auditorium and at home a more relaxed vibe,” Feinberg says.
The Globes dole out awards for both movies and TV, but the Oscars seem much longer because of a lot of the industry-centric awards such as for makeup, costuming and effects. Eliminating those might lead to a mini-rebellion, Feinberg says, but moving the three shorts categories off the main telecast wouldn’t hurt.
“The vast majority of people never get a chance to see those movies,” he says. “So for them to have three categories that mean absolutely nothing to the public, it’s always going to break up the flow of the show.”
Karger points out, though, that the Globes’ awards are stacked with mainstream appeal in basically every category: “Of course the Globes are going to feel incredibly star-studded, and that’s a distinct advantage that they have. “
Stay on time
The Oscars are infamous for going way too long and extending people’s bedtimes (at least on the East Coast), while the Golden Globes are pretty consistent in coming in at around three hours a result of the Globes being more streamlined, Karger says.
“The Academy Awards, because they’re so steeped in tradition, lend themselves to more tributes and more montages,” he says, “whereas the Golden Globes are really about just the awards.
“They don’t really have anything that could slow the proceedings down. They’re really focused on just giving out the prizes.”
That comes at a price, though, like on Sunday night, when Daniel Day-Lewis garnered the “get off the stage” music after winning the drama-actor prize for Lincoln.
“Here you’ve got one of the all-time great actors, the guy who’s very possibly going to become the first three-time best-actor Oscar winner, and you’re going to have the orchestra play him off? He wasn’t even going long,” Feinberg says.
“It’s nice to stick to the schedule, but I’m not sure that’s the way to do it.”