The Golden Globes Recognize Good TV

by Haley Chouinard

The Golden Globes are always the party night of awards season. It's a night that brings actors, directors, writers, and composers from TV and film together for one booze-filled evening. It's not quite as serious as the Oscars or the Emmys (mostly due to the difference in their voting systems), and there are so many categories to root for that who has time to get nervous? Part of the obvious fun of the Golden Globes stems from the fact that both TV and film are honored, so there's really something for everyone. Even if you haven't seen all the critically-acclaimed movies this year, you probably watch Modern Family, Game of Thrones or Orange Is The New Black. There's at least one category that any viewer will be able to glance over the nominees for and say, "Oh! I love that (insert show/movie/actor)." But are the Golden Globes best at identifying good TV?

Unlike the Emmys, which take place in September, the Golden Globes have the advantage of airing in January, right after new television shows have debuted. Also unlike the Emmys, the Globes have gotten in the habit of recognizing new and largely overlooked shows. At the Emmys, it seems like the same actors and shows are continually nominated. (I love Julia Louis-Dreyfus with my whole heart, but she has won Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series for four years in row. She has seven Emmys total. We get it — she's amazing, but other ladies are too.) The Globes, on the other hand, are always a wild card. There's a real sense that you don't know who's going to win.

Last year, all but one of the winners in the TV categories was given to a show that was in its first season. Gina Rodriguez took home comedy actress for Jane the Virgin; Ruth Wilson took home drama actress for The Affair; Jeffrey Tambor took home comedy actor for Transparent; and Transparent and The Affair won comedy and drama series. All three shows had only been airing for a few months. (It should be noted that when the 2015 Emmys came around, Wilson and Rodriguez were shut out of the nominations entirely, as was The Affair.) The year before that, the Globes recognized Brooklyn Nine-Nine as best comedy series when it was also in its first season. In the past, shows that were never able to clench the Emmy win, like Boardwalk Empire and Girls, have won the Golden Globe.

Part of this can probably be traced back to the difference in the way the awards are voted for. The Emmys are part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, as are the Oscars. The Academy voters are people who work in film and TV. For example, Tom Hanks and George Clooney get to cast a vote. The Globes are another matter entirely. They are decided by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a body made up of journalists and critics. This means the voters of the HFPA are in an entirely different line of work than Academy voters, and, consequently, it's not uncommon for them to have different perspectives on what projects warrant recognition.

A lot of people say that the Golden Globes aren't as important, and I understand the thought behind that. It would mean more to me to be recognized by my peers, mentors, and idols than by a group of people on the outside. But, I think an argument could be made that an outside view of things can often be a more clear view of things. I'm not saying that shows like Veep and Modern Family don't deserve to be nominated year after year. They are clever, impeccably made comedies. But there is new work each season and, a lot of the time, those new works are really good too.

This year's awards are right around the corner, and I can only hope that the 2016 Golden Globes are as full of pleasant surprises as the previous years have been.