This year at the 2012 Golden Globes, the French black and white silent film “The Artist” won three awards, including the best musical or comedy category. Although a romance, the plot of the movie chronicles the declining career of George Valentin as silent films are being phased out and talkies take over Hollywood. What’s amazing is that a film without sound could be so well-received in a town where it seems as though those who succeed are totally enthralled with hearing their own voices.
This year, for the third time, bawdy British comedian Ricky Gervais hosted the event. Besides being an award ceremony, the Golden Globes provide the viewing public an opportunity to see and hear what it’s like when left-coast A-list liberals get together. It’s simple. Just invite great pretenders to a “great big Hollywood party,” pour them a couple of glasses of Moet, or in Ricky’s case pop open a few beers, and what quickly becomes clear is what sort of people do well in show business.
A desensitized media decided that this year Gervais was toned down and restrained. That’s because in 2012 there were fewer vulgarities, sexual innuendoes, and comments that bordered on sexual harassment as well as inappropriate gay and racial references peppered throughout the evening.
Even still, and Kelsey Grammer aside, by and large audience members who pride themselves on being liberal, über-intelligent, and politically correct, would have hated it if a conservative celebrity like Dennis Miller made even one remark about queens, virginity or Jodie Foster’s closeted sexuality.
These are the same people who lament about the children of Darfur and Haiti but could care less that America’s children were being subjected to snickering about penis size and exposed to the F-word in prime time. Why should they? No one cared – not even Jodie Foster, whose young sons were there when the comic made lewd innuendos about their mother’s genitals.
Some of the mindless things that would have been better left unsaid included break-up jokes. That was when serial fornicators, adulterers and divorcees like Brad and Angelina laughed up a storm at Kim Kardashian and her 72-day marriage. Loud, trashy drunk Gervais, who’s prostituted his reputation for fame and money, compared Kardashian to Kate Middleton by saying that she’s a “Bit louder. Bit trashier. Bit drunker. And more easily bought… allegedly.”
In order to be able to say it, Mr. Gervais felt it was clever to read the list of what he was cautioned to not say. The list included no cursing or nudity. Raunchy Ricky embellished the cursing/nudity comment by saying that no cursing was fine because he had a “huge vocabulary” and the ban on nudity was okay too because he had a “tiny penis,” which he assured the audience worked fine so he didn’t mind keeping it tucked away in his burgundy clown suit.
Emcee Ricky Gervais claimed he was also told by NBC: “No smut or innuendo.” Too late! And, he was warned that he “mustn’t mention Mel Gibson this year. Not his private life, his politics, his recent films,” which segued to a joke about the box-office flop “The Beaver” and Jodie Foster’s lady parts. Gervais informed the audience that “I haven’t seen it myself,” and then proceeded with tongue-in-cheekiness to tease the not-quite-out lesbian Ms. Foster, adding, “I’ve spoken to a lot of guys – they haven’t seen it either but that doesn’t mean it’s not good.”
Winning three Golden Globes, silent movie “The Artist” should have been a clue to these brainiacs that right about then silence might have been in order, but they kept right on talking.
Gervais began Madonna’s introduction by insulting Elton John, saying “our next presenter is the Queen of Pop.” Then, looking toward Elton John, he said “No, not you Elton. She’s all woman.” Whatever happened to Hollywood avoiding insulting gay stereotypes?
Madonna was there; she’s the 1980’s sex-obsessed pop icon whose sexual escapades tainted an entire generation. Her current image is pretty much a buttoned-up prude. The new Madonna was not amused by the banter. Since becoming a mother, moving to England and becoming a film director, the “Like a Virgin” star now speaks with a British lilt in her voice and is so sophisticated that she was greatly offended by Gervais implying she’s a virgin.
Noticeably displeased and fluttering her eyelids in double time, Madonna came on stage and fired back: “If I’m still a virgin Ricky, then why don’t you come on do something about it?” Oops! Obviously Madonna didn’t hear why Gervais was comfortable with the no-nudity rule.
Besides Justin Bieber being linked to a “turkey baster,” Seth Rogen shared with the group that he was trying to conceal his out-of-control manly excitement while standing side-by-side with Len Wiseman’s wife, English actress Kate Beckinsale.
While hormones and playfulness were on display as always, frustration also brought out the best in the group. Hollywood icon Meryl Streep regally ascended to the stage where she, upon realizing her glasses were back at the table, said something “Iron Lady” Margaret Thatcher would never say: “s**t.”
Meryl’s missing glasses, coupled with Ricky saying that backstage he “couldn’t f***ing understand” what “beautiful specimen” Antonio Banderas was trying to say, was just about the time when a silent clip from “The Artist” would have provided welcome relief.
The media downplayed the situation and said that, after all the crude Ricky Gervais hype, the night disappointed in the edgy department. Nonetheless, in the end, Harvey Weinstein and Weinstein and Co. may not have realized it, but their movie, the one without words, provided a benchmark to compare the quality of the artistic profundity that emerges when silence is the vehicle for the message.
By and large what spewed forth in a room where Hollywood types had access to a microphone, together with listening to Ricky Gervais take his adult comedy club act to primetime on NBC and seeing what a couple of glasses of champagne does to Meryl Streep’s eyesight, should have left Hollywood watchers with this: in addition to the movie “The Artist,” supplementary silence would have certainly put the ‘golden’ in the Golden Globes this year.