Five Questions We Need Answered at the Golden Globes

You know that fun-loving brother you have that comes to family dinners once a year, proceeds to finish both bottles of wine he brought for everyone and says at least three things that compel at least half of the table to roll their eyes?

That’s the Golden Globes.

you will forget about the golden globes and everything that happened ... now!

you will forget about the golden globes and everything that happened ... now!

We treat them both the same way. We don’t take them seriously, we ignore about 92 percent of everything that’s said and we immediately forget everything that just happened, almost like Tommy Lee Jones is hovering around us with one of those neuralyzers from Men in Black.

The same way you say, “Oh, that’s just Chip, he hasn’t been the same since that kiln explosion at Dickinson when he was a sophomore,” you say, “Oh, it’s just the Golden Globes.”

Most times, we don’t learn a dang thing we didn’t know already unless you’ve got the Hollywood street sense of Balki Bartokomous. “Oh, really? Titantic was the best movie of 1997??? Get out of the city!” But in the same way Chip every now and then will spout off with something like in November 2007 when he said, “You know, I think now is the best time to sell my house, something pretty funky is going on,” the Golden Globes every now and then will show us the light.

A Beautiful Mind wasn’t taken very seriously in a muddled pack of potential Oscar favorites in 2002 — until it won the Golden Globe on its way to a best picture Oscar. Chicago didn’t seem like anything more than a fun musical in 2003 — until it won its best musical or comedy Golden Globe and used the momentum to beat serious, more Academy-friendly fare like Gang of New York, The Hours and The Pianist at the Oscars.

When it comes to TV, it’s the first awards show of the season, which means the first place freshman shows can make an impact. Before Mad Men and Jon Hamm won every TV award imaginable, the Golden Globes honored them both — and then have done it twice more.

So it’s not like everything the Golden Globes says is crazy drivel. The trick is finding out what are the drunken rantings of a mad man and what is actually useful information to keep in mind through the rest of awards season. Here are five questions to watch Sunday that could have an effect on the more important yearly awards shows like the Oscars and Emmys:

is this gonna be in the deleted scenes? because it wasn't in the movie.

is this gonna be in the black swan deleted scenes? because it wasn't in the movie.

Is Black Swan to trippy to win? The prevailing thought is that Black Swan is a lock to get an Oscar nomination for best picture, just too darkly perverse and hopelessly abstract to win. But if it can break through at the Globes, maybe the Academy Award voters will be able to get past the hallucinated girl-on-girl action, and give Aronofsky the Oscar he probably deserved twice before (for Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler).

Can any of the lesser nominees break through? The globes are notorious for nominating “name” actors since it has to fill up 10 nominees — five for dramas and five for comedy/musicals. You get the feeling that once they get past the favorites, they just shout the name of the first actor that pops into their head and hope they did a movie that year. That makes for surprises like this year’s batch of A-listers with no chance for an Oscar, like Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Halle Berry and … Johnny Depp. But if one of them can score a surprise win — maybe Kevin Spacey for Casino Jack? — then it could be the momentum needed to get into the Oscar race.

big night for social network?

big night for social network?

What’s the movie to beat? With no clear-cut Oscar favorite this year, if one movie trounces everything else it will immediately be lifted to “top Oscar contender” status. This year, that movie could be The Social Network. There’s no reason to think it can’t win five or six awards and put a Grand Canyon-deep chasm between it and every other contender. With 10 Oscar nominees for best picture, the more space you have, the better.

Who’s going to get the drunkest? Because really, let’s not kid ourselves. This is why we watch the Golden Globes. Charlie Sheen isn’t nominated this year, so it’s anybody’s game!

Will a newcomer knock off Mad Men? For as lousy as this year’s new TV shows have been, there are two freshman series in contention for best drama series — The Walking Dead and Boardwalk Empire. Mad Men — deservedly— has won the drama prize here and the Emmys three years in a row, so maybe voters are sick of it and are ready to look at someone else. If the Globes voters are, then the Emmy voters probably are too. But just in case anyone forgot why Mad Men in fact is the best show on TV, perhaps this refresher of the last scene from this year will help.

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