Filmism.net Dispatch January 20, 2013

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The litany of comment over the legitimacy of the Golden Globes has become as regular as the Golden Globes themselves. Ask many film critics and journalists about it and they'll rail passionately about how it's not a real awards ceremony and it's just an excuse for well connected reporters with a powerful lobby group to have a knees up with big stars in exchange for votes and awards.

I'm not defending the Golden Globes or The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the body that runs it. Maybe those critics are right. But here's the thing (a few actually). First of all, somebody show me which UN department oversees the international legitimacy of movie awards shows, and if The Golden Globes isn't on their list, fair enough. I'd argue legitimacy comes with the only currency that matters in the movie industry; attention. If I held an awards ceremony in my living room in my pyjamas and got enough YouTube hits, I'll bet a few stars would show up eventually.

And if all that matters is eyeballs, surely the Golden Globes is the most important thing in the film awards calendar after the Oscars. Most people know what it is. Fewer (but still a lot) of people know Cannes, but say the words 'Sundance' or 'SXSW' to most people outside the film industry and you'll get a blank stare.

Say what you like about the HFPA and the show's producers, they've done something right when it comes to pushing the whole thing back into the limelight. A few short years ago none of the US networks even planned to telecast the ceremony. A few Ricky Gervais' later and the TV audience was in the millions again. Then HFPA President Philip Berk could badmouth his acerbic in the press host all he wanted, Gervais single-handedly gave the HFPA its mojo back with just a few Johnny Depp jokes.

Then there are the accusations of favours and access in exchange for awards (quick, somebody call Interpol's International Movie Award Fraud Squad so we can put a stop to this cancer eating away the moral fabric of society). Fine, but tell me no Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences member has ever voted for a movie because their friend, husband or secretary's dog made it or was in it and I'll agree the Golden Globes aren't real.

Like I said, I'm not defending anyone, and the Golden Globes might be a huge cash for comment scandal right under our noses. If your living doesn't depend on transparency in the movie industry (and whose does), who cares? In the words of Matthew Broderick's character in Election, 'we're not electing the fucking pope'.

I think all this vitriol just reveals the fact that there's an awful lot of jealousy in this business, and unlike truck drivers or shop assistants, professional writers have a wide and ready-made platform to air their grievances, whether it's genuine discourse or crossing one's arms and pouting. Many of them dismiss the Golden Globes as rubbish simply because they don't agree with the nominations.

The HFPA does indeed get extraordinary access to stars and studios, and it's extremely hard to get into. I'd like to take every film writer who's ever complained about it, give them a truth serum and ask if they've ever applied (or wished they could join).

And if that's not enough, even economics proves not only that the Golden Globes are legitimate, they're worth more to studios than Oscars. Read more here.

This week I came across my review of I Am Legend, a movie I liked for a lot of reasons. But did you know it was the third time the classic Richard Matheson story had been filmed? Third, many of the cine-literate among you might say? There was Charlton Heston in The Omega Man in the early 70s, but...

There was actually an Italian production in the early 1960s starring Vincent Price called The Last Man on Earth. It wasn't a Hammer production (but looks cheap enough to be one), and because I was a Matheson completist at the time I eagerly sought it out.

The news also broke this week that Paramount probably wouldn't go ahead with any sequels to Tom Cruise's Jack Reacher. I could have told them that, it didn't exactly suck and it worked procedurally but it was missing something.

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