Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Michael J Fox, love-spreading and other Golden Globular thoughts

As ever, it was a weird night. But a bizarre gaffe in online coverage took the biggest biscuit.

Mon, Jan 13, 2014, 16:23


If you were enough of a maniac (ahem) to be up in the small hours following social media on the Golden Globes, one under-reported story will have stood out as a terrifying pointer to the dangers of digital proliferation. During the E! channel’s live feed of the red carpet, various “fun facts” were displayed on the screen. You know the sort of thing. This actor’s father was a bird impersonator. This director once fought a crocodile. And so on. Then, somebody spotted the following legend as the star of Back to the Future entered the Beverley Hilton. “Fun Fact: Michael J Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1991″ Well, it’s certainly a fact. But it’s questionable how much fun Mr Fox had at the diagnosis. I retweeted the first mention and then immediately (as you do) began to question the veracity of the story. This sounds literally incredible. Anyway, it seems that it really did happen and that E! has! been! forced! to! apologise! (as they might punctuate it). The gaff has now been celebrated with an internet meme. See which piece of horrible entertainment-related news you can announce as a “fun fact” and win a prize.

Anyway, the rest of the E! coverage was tolerable enough. Giuliana Rancic and Kelly Osbourne were, as is always the case, much less catty than when on Joan Rivers’s genuinely hilarious Fashion Police. Apparently wet-look hair is in. This seems a waste of time, as most of the main nominees are set to be pissed on at the Baftas in a few weeks’ time. Julia Roberts seemed to have rearranged the garment she wore to win her Oscar in 2001. Jennifer Lawrence looked to have left two strips of packing on her gown. Lupita N’Yongo was surely the best dressed, even if her scarlet cape suggested she was auditioning for the next villain in Avengers.

Wasn’t there some awards show on? You can read my musings on the results here. So, I won’t go into two many details. But a few whinges should be aired. Firstly, what the hell is going on with American Hustle? It’s tolerable enough. I’ve seen plenty worse. But its status as one of only three possible best-picture winners at the Oscars — strengthened by taking three gongs last night — remains deeply, head-spinningly puzzling. The thing is not in the same league as Gravity or 12 Years a Slave, not to mention outriders such as Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, The Great Beauty, Philomena or The Great Beauty. There was one other, notable outrage. I mean no harm to our greatest export, but the notion that U2′s Ordinary Love — from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom — is a better song than Frozen’s Let it Go is so absurd I half-feel I’ve woken up on Planet Absurdo. That win is all about politics and getting the celebrities on stage. I very much doubt it will be repeated at the Oscars.

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Elsewhere, there was good (and surprising) news for Spike Jonze’s Her. The film is the one true dark horse of awards season. Telling the story of a man who falls in love with his computer’s operating system, the picture seemed like a long shot in all major categories. But having figured strongly in critics’ circles and professional guilds, it now looks likely to take a best-picture nomination when the Oscar shortlists are announced on Thursday. That was reinforced by Jonze’s surprising win for the best screenplay globe.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association — an obscure group of around 90 writers — can probably afford to pat itself on the back. We long ago learnt that the gongs, despite doubling up with drama and musical/comedy categories, are very poor indicators of the Oscars. Indeed, I currently have Gravity, which lost drama to 12 Years a Slave on Sunday, as the favourite to win with the Academy. Never mind. What the Globes give us is a sort of frantic, boozy pastiche of the Oscars. Jacqueline Bisset has a breakdown. The teleprompter doesn’t work. The hosts gaily insult the guests. At times, it’s like a wedding in Cloughjordan. Don’t change. That’s why we keep watching.