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Monday 20 January 2003

Expect More Of This

Last night at the Golden Globe awards, the absurdly lovely and reasonably talented Renée Zellweger won the award for best actress. I didn’t watch the show — I wasn’t even aware it was on — but this morning CNN et al. were running the highlight reel. Here’s Ms. Zellweger, after winning her award:


Note that it takes both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Richard Gere to keep her from pulling that Kalashnikov from her cleavage and taking out everyone in the auditorium. Who’d have ever guessed that her name was really Renée Al-Zellweger?

Just kidding. In the picture, she’s really overcome with emotion, so beside herself with glee and honor at having won a Golden Globe, that it’s all she can do to remain vertical.

She’s this overcome with emotion despite the facts that:

  1. She’s an accomplished and well-paid actress in constant demand whose celebrity and talent are not in doubt;

  2. The Golden Globe is a B-list prize;

  3. She already won a Golden Globe, also for best actress, in 2001.

To put it bluntly, this exhibition is a sham. It pains me to complain about Renée Zellweger this way, because she’s probably my favorite actress. I’d go see a movie of hers even if it were nothing but two hours of her standing there and staring blankly out from the screen. Hell, I’d see it especially if it were two hours of her staring out from the screen. I’m not ordinarily a fawning fanboy type, but there’s something about that girl that just makes me shiver all over.

Let’s look at a still of the performance for which she won the award, just for fun:


Hell, yeah. Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah, Ms. Z’s little performance when she won the award. I noticed that the highlight reel also featured Jennifer Aniston winning an award for Friends, and also reacting as if her long-lost childhood puppy had suddenly been found, was still a puppy, and had in the intervening years managed to accumulate a fortune of several billion dollars, which he was now presenting to her.

Ms. Anniston makes $1 million a week, starring in one of the most popular shows on TV, and she’s been in a number of successful movies. Her worth is already well-validated. Winning a Golden Globe for her, like for Renée Zellweger, may be an honor but it is not such an unexpected one that you’d expect her to be at risk of fainting.

All of this is, I think, a result of Halle Berry’s performance at last year’s Academy Awards. Ms. Berry, you will recall, won the best actress award for her performance in Monster’s Ball (and won it undeservedly, because Renée Zellweger was nominated for Bridget Jones’ Diary), whereupon she gasped and sobbed on the stage for several minutes:


Berry was the first “African-American” to ever win the award for best actress, and, according to her speech (delivered around the sobs), this was the reason for her emotion.

Fine. But Ms. Berry recieved an enormous amount of publicity — at least as much for her reaction as for her actual accomplishment — and her sobbing was on TV for days afterward.

Since Hollywood is all about publicity and image, there is no doubt in my mind that the various image consultants to the stars have advised them — the female stars at least; you didn’t see Jack Nicholson getting weak in the knees last night, it wouldn’t have the same effect — that apparently America Likes Emotion and the more emotion, the better.

I presume the theory is that these glittering celebrities will appear to be more human, more ordinary to the audience if they react to winning a Golden Globe in about the same way I would react. (I, not being an actor, would be taken quite unawares, I think it’s safe to say.) The problem with this is that the whole point of celebrities is that they’re not like ordinary people. Nobody looks that good, to begin with, without the personal attention of fashion designers, makeup artists, hairstylists, poise coaches, etc. (though I am certain that Ms. Zellweger rolls out of bed looking that good.) What the rabble like about these people is that they’re so different from the ordinary.

And further, when these people at the very top of their game seem to overwhelmed at winning one of these awards, it doesn’t make them appear grateful so much as it makes them look insecure. Now, actors are famously insecure, but since they are, after all, actors and all, they might try to hide it, at least in public. The nominations for these prizes are announced in advance, and when these people go to the awards ceremony, they know that they’re one of five people in contention. You know that you’re one of the best people, according to the awards’ criteria, at what you do. Pretending that you’re taken totally unawares when the award is actually made, then, just makes you look like you have no confidence whatever in your abilities.

The Golden Globes are, in more that one way, a rehearsal for the Academy Awards. I shudder to think what we’ll be treated to then.

Posted by tino at 13:08 20.01.03
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Hah! I almost spit the soup I was eatting for lunch out when I read this: “Who’d have ever guessed that her name was really Renée Al-Zellweger?”

Thanks for busting me up. That was excellently inserted. I never watch award shows either but I like to watch Kilborn, Conan, et al. make fun of them during their opening segments the following evenings.

Posted by: Chris at January 21, 2003 03:06 PM

In the picture, it just looks like Richard Gere is having a grope. Dirty old man.

As for the second photo: “Hell yeah,” indeed. Woo!

Posted by: at January 22, 2003 06:12 PM