5. The Big Short's Adapted Screenplay sweep
I know I've been harping on Adam McKay and Charles Randolph's well-meaning housing crisis comedy for months, but I just don't see what made this such a unanimous choice for writing awards. Especially when the competition hasn't been this stacked in years. I mean, good God: Carol, Room, Brooklyn, The Martian, inexplicable snubbee Steve Jobs, and even the long shots from 45 Years to Mr. Holmes write circles around The Big Short's misguided gimmickry, which gets by on sounding a lot smarter than it truly is. The lone bone tossed to Aaron Sorkin by the Golden Globes is going to look very good ten years from now (Heck, it looked good the moment it happened). At least other season sweepers like Inside Out and Son of Saul can be justified on quality, but I'm not drinking the Koolaid on this one.
4. The Return of Gervais
Anyone they could have chosen to host the Globes was going to be a step down from Tina & Amy, but why do the HFPA have to keep going back to this poisoned well? The crassness of his material is not the problem. The problem is that the jokes aren't funny, or even well delivered. To be fair, there are some contexts in which the persona of the "unlikable comedian" can be effective, but awards show emcee is not one of them. Someone new next time, please and thank you.
3. Best Original Song
It's always something with this category. Mind you, we can't blame the music branch entirely for their sorry selection this year given the weak crop they had to pick from, but there were certainly some better options out there. The callous decision to only perform three of the songs on the show was even worse, and the dirge that ultimately won was the cherry atop an already vexing sundae. Even when her competition is as bad as her, Dianne Warren still can't catch a break. Honestly, the only good thing to come of the category this year is the amusing (for all the wrong reasons) fallout over Sam Smith's infamous acceptance speech goof.
2. Category fraud
Pundits are no strangers to this form of seasonal skulduggery, but it reached rancid new depths this year, with all organizations but the Globes sullying themselves by playing along with that dirty pool. Now I'll hear Supporting arguments for borderline leads like Paul Dano, Tom Courtenay and Mya Taylor, sure. But Jacob Tremblay? Rooney Mara? Eventual winner Alicia Vikander? Certainly not. I fear her success this year will only encourage future shenanigans for performances that just aren't good enough to get nominated in their proper category.
1. #OscarsSoWhite and the narrowness of “diversity”
Three years running now, the awards conversation has contorted into a racial politics conversation, and rarely a constructive one. The din was mostly quelled in 2014 when 12 Years a Slave eked out a Best Picture win over Gravity, only for the knowledge to disseminate thereafter that may voters didn't even see the film – reportedly feeling badgered into “owing” the slavery drama their top honour.
Last year, the kneejerk outrage over an all-white acting lineup birthed the infamous #OscarsSoWhite hashtag, with many angry tweeters refusing to acknowledge (or simply blind to) the nuance of Selma's late release and under-prepared campaign. But this year, things reached a tipping point.
The acting branch, who chooses those 20 nominees, is arguably more diverse and inclusive than most of the Academy's other factions. Where are the column inches devoted to the overwhelming whiteness of the executives branch? Where's the uproar over no woman being nominated for Best Cinematography in the Oscar's 88-year history? The year's one trans nominee (a rarity in any year), Anhoni, had her song unceremoniously nixed from the telecast – A decision that had more to due with the song's dullness than gender identity politics, but still.
No black nominees (and by "nominees", he specifically means actors).
Whether a calculated angle to appeal to a larger demographic or merely insensitive to other minorities, that's a dangerously limited criteria for diversity, and the theme seemed to play on loop all night long.
Are we to expect a season of outrage every year there doesn't happen to be a black acting nominee? After these last two, I don't think I can do another one.
(Top five highlights of the season still to come...)