The Golden Globes, scheduled to air Sunday night on NBC, will be a shadow of its former glitzy self, thanks to the Hollywood writers' strike that is crippling the entertainment community. Instead of the show's usual light entertainment, we'll have the sorry spectacle of a quasi-press conference. I don't plan on watching the new and inferior broadcast.
And it might get even worse. Right now, all bets are off for the Oscars ceremony on Feb. 24.
This is a lamentable situation all the way around. Whether you're sympathetic to the writers or to the establishment, every consumer and viewer can probably agree on one point: Hollywood is miscalculating its importance to the world.
If Hollywood thinks that America is desperate for entertainment, it's missing the point.
The Oscars are to Hollywood what the World Series is to baseball. Remember, we've survived a year without the World Series.
In 1981, Major League Baseball had a prolonged players' work stoppage, and the world went on somehow. Then, in 1994, the labor unrest in the national pastime got so severe that the lords of baseball actually canceled the World Series.
It was a shock at the time, all right, but so what? Now all that the once-shocking move does is provide a great question for Final Jeopardy.
I passed the time during the 1981 and 1994 baseball strikes quite productively. I did something a lot of Americans only dream of finding the time to do: I read books.
If the Oscars broadcast next month is truncated or postponed, that would be fine with me, too. I can catch up on my reading.
Yes, I wish I could plan to watch yet another entertaining and unpredictable Golden Globes fiesta. I've enjoyed watching the broadcasts.
I thought it was terrific theater when Ving Rhames publicly insisted that Jack Lemmon accept the Golden Globe award that Rhames had won for his portrayal of the eccentric boxing impresario Don King.
The startled Lemmon, one of the greatest actors in movie history, was practically teary-eyed about Rhames' extraordinary gesture of kindness.
The Golden Globes show occupies a special place in the minds of movie and television fans. It is often pretty zany. The award winners and the presenters are much looser than the bigshots at the Oscars. You get the feeling that the Teleprompter has been turned off at the Golden Globes party and everyone is winging it. That's entertainment!
Watching the Golden Globes broadcast at home, I've laughed whenever a winner was found to be in the loo while a hapless presenter was stuck onstage, suddenly making very awkward small talk.
Sure, I thought it was hilarious when I suspected that one winner or another had either drunk something slightly stronger than sarsaparilla or smoked something more powerful than tobacco just before giving a slurred victory speech.
But this year, I won't be tuning in. How much suspense, frivolity and entertainment will any viewer experience during the suddenly revamped show?
NBC had no choice but to scramble, so it came up with a weak plan to hold a one-hour press conference to announce the Golden Globe winners, all of whom will be absent. NBC could've canceled the whole shebang on principle, of course, but apparently, the show must go on.
As for me, with any luck, I'll dive into a great book I've been dying to read.
: Do you intend to watch the Golden Globes broadcast?
: "Wealth of Nations" by David Remnick (The New Yorker): The great question of American politics as soap opera involves billionaire New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's on-again, off-again presidential aspirations. Will he or won't he run for the White House?
Remnick, as is his reporting habi, has found another way to examine the ever-confounding Bloomberg. Remnick concluded his piece by writing: "A man with Bloomberg's sense of noblesse oblige should know that there is something unseemly about waltzing into the Presidential race, or even hinting at it, for no reason more compelling than that he can afford to pay the bill without flinching." .
to about BusinessWeek, Sports Illustrated and Money:
"I was a charter subscriber to SI in the 1950s. I have not subscribed or looked at it for the last 35 years. I began reading BW in the '50s too. I still subscribe. Up until about 10 years ago, I'd go to the library on Saturday afternoon and look at the new books and browse the magazines. No more. I probably would not recognize SI today."
-- Al Hromjak
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By Jon Friedman