The Horror of The Golden Globes
Like Donald Trump and dieting, Awards Show Season is just another thing we have to slog through in 2018, especially for genre inclined audiences. The Golden Globes (which airs tonight 1/7 on NBC at 8ET/5PT) has already gotten its fair share of scandal this year with the inclusion of Jordan Peele’s superb Get Out in the “Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy” category, yet also with the exclusion of Peele himself from any nominations for “Best Director” and “Best Screenplay” a who’s who of basic AF old white men (Guillermo Del Toro being the lone POC in the bunch).
But of course, there are wonderful things to celebrate for the genre in tonights ceremony! Outside of the aforementioned Get Out, ya boy Del Toro’s The Shape Of Water is nominated in “Best Motion Picture - Drama”, “Best Actress”, “Best Supporting Actress”, “Best Supporting Actor”, “Best Original Score”, and “Best Screenplay” which Del Toro shares with Vanessa Taylor. The gorgeous Dias De Los Muerto’s animated film Coco is nominated for “Best Motion Picture - Animated”, and Genre-Adjacent Palme d’Or winner The Square nominated for “Best Motion Picture - Foreign Language”. And of course on the TV side of the ceremony, the usual contenders from HBO and Netflix are battling it out with their basic cable brethren, but based on the fact that Twin Peaks: The Return was not nominated for a Best Limited Series award (Kyle MacLachlan for Best Actor is the only nomination Lynch’s work of art was bestowed) the whole thing just feels null and void.
But hey! It’s just some stupid awards, the horror community is used to this! But we haven’t always been shunned. Let’s revel in some of those choice cuts that the Globes have made in genre throughout the years:
The First Horror Nod!
It wasn’t until 1971 and Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange, arguably a horror film in most circle, for the Hollywood Foreign Press to finally take notice of genre offerings. In the past we had seen film noirs nominated, but with Orange the ferocious brutality of The Droogs is put front and center and audiences had to take notice. After this watershed moment, the darker thrillers became more prevalent with Deliverance, Frenzy, and even The Poseidon Adventure receiving nominations the following year. But really it wasn’t until 1973 and The Exorcist when you couldn’t argue one way or another: horror movies can be prestige films.
The Arrival of Spielberg
Of course it all really wasn’t until Steven Spielberg arrived on the scene that genre films went from maligned popcorn drivel (in the eyes of pretentious film criticism of the time) and his film Jaws that really made the mark that horror wasn’t going anywhere. Or, well, at least that horror can be imbued into an entertaining movie that people will flock to see (and won’t feel ashamed about it). After the success of Jaws (which lost its category to One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest), two years later he was back again with Close Encounters of the Third Kind (which shares the category that year with Star Wars).
For Your Consideration: The Ninth Configuration
If for nothing more than to never forget that William Peter Blatty’s follow up to the world wide phenomenon, The Exorcist, was this bat shit bonkers film. And while the film may have lost “Best Motion Picture - Drama” and “Best Supporting Actor”, Blatty himself did walk away with a “Best Screenplay” award.
The Reagan Era Slump
Despite the 1980’s being ubiquitous with the rise of horror icons like Freddy and Jason in the culture zeitgeist, it’d be a seriously quiet decade for the genre in awards representation. While 1980 did have the aforementioned Blatty film, that same year David Lynch’s The Elephant Man was released but, despite the bullet points that have to be made for E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Stephen King’s Stand By Me (1986), and Fatal Attraction (1987), it wouldn’t be until 1991 that Horror with a capital H would return. Though, to note, it was the 1980’s when you saw more fantastical genre films begin to populate in the “Best Motion Picture - Musical/Comedy” category, specifically Ghostbusters (1984, losing out only to the still pretty awesome Romancing the Stone), Back to the Future AND Cocoon (1985), and Little Shop of Horrors (1986).
Holy Cannibal, Hannibal!
While I may find the film Silence of the Lambs to be more of a Thriller with a capital T than horror film, the long lasting cultural impact of Anthony Hopkin’s Hannibal Lecter has left an indelible mark on film. While the Globes showed the always maddening inconsequentiality of all awards in that year (Lambs did not walk away with the top honors, as it would at the Oscars, because clearly Warren Beatty’s Bugsy has had similar long lasting appeal), audiences in no way now could argue that the tone and subject matter that Lambs delved into could go unnoticed. Yet even then, despite being a cultural phenomenon akin to The Exorcist, STILL we have to flash forward a decade before we see another true blue genre flick, Mulholland Drive, get recognition in the Drama category and the Musical/Comedy category did not fare much better. The closest we get here is the charming Ghost (1990), Ed Wood (1994), and Men in Black (1997). And yes, Men In Black is a great movie and deserved that nod!
To today, genre films get the short end of the stick at these types of assemblies. After The Sixth Sense made such a splash in 1999 (yet still did not receive a Globe nod #JFC) and David Lynch’s return with Mulholland Drive, it isn’t until 2010’s Black Swan that we see a relatively horror adjacent film at the Globes again, which has solidified my theory that the genre appreciation at awards shows are cyclical roughly every decade with The Shape of Water and Get Out representing in both major categories this year. But let’s be real: this is all just Fantasy Football for Cinephiles. Not a single decision that’s ever been made by the Hollywood Foreign Press has affected my enjoyment of a film. All those that win tonight may not deserve it to some, but the honor to have their work, for many tonight the first time, represented on screen finally, well, that’s just straight up dope AF.