Sure, we've already covered that the Golden Globes are a sham; a combination of desperation and corruption that gets wrapped up into one nonsensical display of self-indulgence — but sometimes things happen that can still surprise you.
Like when The Martian wins for Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy.
Rather than lumping everything together like the the Oscars do, the Golden Globes like to split their big awards up into two different categories: drama, for things like The Revenant or Mad Max: Fury Road, and musical or comedy, for things like Trainwreck or Spy. But sometimes a field gets too crowded, and when the group behind the Globes really likes a movie but knows it won't have a chance against its other dramatic competitors, they throw the movie a bone. This year, that meant nominating The Martian as a musical or comedy.
In case you haven't seen The Martian, let's conduct a little thought experiment. I'm going to give you a brief description, and then you're going to guess what kind of movie I'm describing. It's gonna be fun. Ready? Here we go.
An astronaut is caught in the middle of a massive storm on Mars, and after a piece of metal is rammed through his body — and his suit — and nearly kills him, he is stranded alone on the surface of the planet while the rest of his team heads home back to Earth to mourn the loss of their colleague. Only the astronaut isn't dead, and he has to combine his knowledge of science and advanced mathematics in order to grow crops in his own fecal matter in order to live long enough for his colleagues to come rescue him.
What did you pick? Drama? Tragedy? Action film? All reasonable.
Too bad you're wrong. Because obviously, as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association understands, that logline belongs to a musical and/or comedy.
I mean, maybe I'm overreacting. There are jokes in The Martian. Matt Damon can be funny. And there's music in The Martian! There's a score. There's a lot of disco music that gets played. Hey, the disco music even becomes part of the comedy in some scenes! (Okay, attempts at comedy.)
Except that anybody that's actually seen the film knows that calling The Martian a comedy (or a musical) is like calling Pee-wee's Big Adventure a drama.
Like calling 'Pee-wee's Big Adventure' a soulful drama
What this is about is an organization of members so thirsty for attention that they're openly willing to let their own nominations — hell, even their own hosts — mock them at every turn. But Hollywood is always at its worst when it looks the other way to protect its own interests, so you have studios playing into the charade, scrambling for their films to earn as many awards as possible, trying to roll that forward into even more awards and prestige, and hoping that somehow, somewhere the attention can all be monetized.
Nobody in this chain of self-aggrandizement and back-patting really believes it's legitimate. Even in the room, everybody knows categorizations tricks like this are transparent at best, shameful at worst. But that lure of the attention... that feeling of being in a room, and being chosen and applauded... it must be intoxicating. To believe in that moment, that fleeting second, that the golden statue you're holding in your hand represents quality work, and admiration of peers and talented colleagues. It must be so tempting to believe that — particularly when you did make a good movie in the first place.
But I'm sorry, Ridley Scott. I liked your movie, but The Martian is no musical.