Those in the business usually say that The Golden Globe Awards is where the film awards season really kicks into gear. Perhaps what they mean is that it’s the first awards ceremony that both the public and the film industry simultaneously almost care about. He may not be everybody’s cuppa but personally my sole highlight of this self congratulatory, misguided phase of time is Ricky Gervais’ stab at hosting the GG’s. It’s the only time that anyone ever turns the mirror in and gets out a few home truths and then doesn’t regret that those truths can never be taken away. It’s refreshing. It’s honest. And it’s funny. Almost as funny as the audience reaction.
The film industry, on the whole, takes itself far too seriously – recently Adam Driver walked out of an interview because someone had the cheek to play a voice except from his work (I don’t like hearing my own voice but it doesn’t make me wet my pants and hold my breath). They provide, or more accurately try to provide, some level of entertainment but they can’t get over the fact that they don’t always get it right. A lot of acting types also struggle with the concept that no matter how much they give of themselves to complete a performance nobody really gives a toss if it doesn’t work out. That’s why Dwayne Johnson is more fun to watch in an interview that Jonathan Pryce – he doesn’t care as much because he doesn’t take himself as seriously; and he has a natural warmth and charisma that Pryce simple does not.
I single out Jonathan Pryce because when Gervais made a joke about ‘The Two Popes’ and paedophilia last night Pryce looked like he’d been told the soufflé he’d just finished was made with rat bile. It was a good joke, close to the bone but good, and there was plenty of laughter about. But Pryce wasn’t really worried about Popes and Catholicism and neck deep guilt over decades of historic sex crimes, he was just miffed because he’d spent all that time in front of the mirror, learning lines and taking it so very seriously and yet here was Ricky Fucking Gervais making a mockery of his art, his dedication and his ‘motivation’. I suppose it makes sense; Catholicism takes itself far too seriously as well.
I also single out Jonathan Pryce because I don’t particularly rate him as an actor. I’ve never much seen the point of him, or where his strengths lie. He’s certainly not a premier league actor and remember he was barely third rate enough to be a fourth rate Bond baddie. If he has an acting style then it must be the same as the one I find consistently bland, and in interviews he often comes across as if he’s describing the contents of the cleaning cupboard in a care home. I have yet to watch ‘The Two Popes’ but I can assure you that I definitely will now. As ever I could be very wrong, but you can’t really prove it anyway – that’s the beauty of subjectivity.
You should watch what you can of Gervais’ highlights on YouTube and then try some of his other GG efforts. What I can guarantee you is that a 10 minute package of him making jokes about the truth is far more entertaining than watching The Baftas and The Oscars put together; the first being little more than a luvvie convention and the second being the ultimate super Sahara dry bore-fest. Marlon Brando didn’t turn up his Godfather award in protest of the treatment of the indigenous American, but I reckon he also knew it would bore his tits off. George C Scott had the right idea too. Film awards are the great unmemorable feast: bright lights and gold leaf and fakes smile from people who make a living from faking it. I love films (not all of them, obviously) and I really can’t imagine my world without them, but I can do without all the peripheral crap that comes with them. Except the 10 minutes of Ricky Gervais stuff. That could stay.
G B Hewitt. 06.01.2020