NetCliques: Golden Globe Winners

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Art by Jenner Chen
Art by Jenner Chen

Happy New Year, everyone! Since we haven’t written anything all year (haha), we decided to follow that old saying: new year, new members of the Golden Globe winner. Founded in 1944, the Golden Globes marks the start of the many televised awards shows that celebrate the creativity and masterful skills of actors and other contributors of movies and television from the past year. This month, to honor some of the hardworking winners, we’re suggesting to you a few of our favorite past winners which snuck up and stole the prize from supposed frontwinners; you probably didn’t watch these films and TV series while they were being circulated, but these sleeper hits are guaranteed to engross you and prove that they’re deserving of those shiny globes.

This year, the cinematic features nominated for the Best Motion Picture, Drama, included memorable characters such an astronaut, a heroic sea captain, and a freedman wrongfully turned slave. But what if the character for winning movie was just an average Joe, with nothing special going on… other than the fact that his entire life was being unknowingly orchestrated as a reality television program? Inspired by a spooky episode of The Twilight Zone, The Truman Show (1998, available on Amazon, Netflix, and other means) follows Jim Carrey as the titular character hungry for the truth about his seemingly perfect life. After all, what other person on this earth has a wife (Laura Linney) who randomly advertises products she purchases from the supermarket, a perfect nighttime constellation with the occasional falling skylight, and a secluded hometown that is really enclosed under a huge dome in a television studio? As Truman begins to diverge from the intended direction of his show, The Truman Show’s creator (Ed Harris) scrambles to save the series while also holding off the angry protesters demanding he free the world’s most popular – and oblivious – television character. In the 1998 – 1999 category that included Sir Ian McKellen from Gods and Monsters and Tom Hanks fresh from Saving Private Ryan, comedian Jim Carrey was not expected to win in a Drama category but, in his first semi-serious role as an actor, Carrey proved that even a satirical, almost sci-fi based role peppered with his classic improvisation moments can bring about the greatest response from viewers and award voters alike.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the head honchos behind the Golden Globes, began awarding other forms of the entertainment industry with the esteemed statues in the late ‘50s and predictable winners repeatedly stole the prize year after year. However, every now and then, a relatively lesser-known sitcom or two would appear and cause pleasant surprise as they managed to slip an award away from others and instead onto their own resume. Included among these winners was the British / American comedy housing the 2011 – 2012 winner for Comedy Actor, Matt LeBlanc. The still running series Episodes (airing on BBC and Showtime, first season available on Amazon and current seasons by other means) revolves around a married couple (charmingly funny Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig) who travel to Hollywood in the common practice to remake their successful British series into an American hit and find that not only has their show’s idea been completely lost in translation but an arrogant former celebrity (Matt LeBlanc) has taken over for their original protagonist. LeBlanc brought much laughter in his well-known role as womanizer Joey Tribbiani of Friends, and his return to the small screen now as a highly fictionalised version of himself proved to be a triumphant one as he held his own against network-fame characters like Alec Baldwin of 30 Rock or Johnny Galecki of The Big Bang Theory.

Another British specialty that has been awarded for its outstanding work in Comedy was created by Ricky Gervais, the notoriously loud-mouthed comedian who helped bring The Office to America. The 2007 winner Extras (2005 – 2007, aired by BBC and available on Amazon and through other means) was essentially about what its title suggests: extras, specifically Andy Millman (Ricky Gervais himself) and his friends (Ashley Jensen and Stephen Merchant), who worked on television and film sets as well as in theatre. Throughout each episode, we see Andy repeatedly try to get himself noticed by the entertainment industry and the unfortunate results that occur in spite of his attempts, and it is through every disastrous scene that Gervais is at his best, partaking in each of his own jokes and gleefully following through each motion of his character like a pro while also showing that even a little British hit can snag awards from the likes of Entourage, Californication, and 30 Rock. And, to encourage you to watch, I should also probably mention that each episode contains a celebrity guest star playing an exaggerated version of themselves; among the contributors are Ben Stiller, Samuel L. Jackson, Daniel Radcliffe, and Kate Winslet.

Here’s to the start of a new awards season. While you’re struggling to talk about winners of movies and shows that you haven’t had the time to seriously critique (or even bother watching), consider halting conversations to talk about the greats of the past, those that no one saw coming yet powered through to have glorious moments in the spotlight (it’ll definitely draw attention away from the fact that you have still not seen Gravity and instead invested your money repeatedly watching that ridiculous movie about turkeys). Happy binge watching, readers, and remember: new year, new you…tube searches for movies that will cause complete procrastination!