Unless you share Woody Allen’s strict contempt for awards ceremonies, there are some good reasons to check out the 71st Annual Golden Globes, set to air this Sunday on NBC. Although Oscar Night remains a far bigger deal, the Hollywood Foreign Press beats the Academy hands down when it comes to throwing a party. To start with, the event doesn’t take itself so seriously. And the whole thing takes place during a lavish dinner, with plenty of Moet & Chandon to go around.
But what gives the Golden Globes show its current edge is the return of cohosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, whose opening monologue at last year’s ceremony killed. Best friends for two decades, the comedy stars managed to be likable as well as funny while slipping in digs at the movie industry’s elite. (Alluding to controversy over the brutal interrogation scenes in nominee Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty,” Poehler said, “When it comes to torture, I trust a lady who spent three years married to James Cameron.”) The 2014 nominees range from Tom Hanks and Jennifer Lawrence to Poehler herself. (As she noted last year, “Only at the Golden Globes do the beautiful people of film rub shoulders with the rat-faced people of television.”) By the time the Oscars roll around, most of us will have forgotten who won. Even so, it’s nice to kick off the awards season with an evening that Hollywood actually seems to enjoy. — John Birmingham