The Golden Globe Awards: A First Class Night

The Haiti earthquake disaster cast a shadow over the Golden Globe Awards tonight in Beverly Hills, along with the rain that began to pour outside as the stars were arriving on the red carpet. But it seemed to be all for the good, as it seemed to bring out some of the best in Hollywood that I’ve seen in a long time. Except for the seeming arrogance of James Cameron’s request that Hollywood applaud itself, the night was filled with stirring emotional moments of gratitude to God, to parents, to friends and to life. There were no political speeches, thank God, but there were many calling on Americans to assist Haiti. For some reason, many of the actors and industry types seemed to have an awareness of the gravity of their responsibility as culture’s leaders. Among these were M’Onique, Christoph Waltz, and Merryl Streep who made some of the most inspiring speeches of the evening.

With each category, I realized what an excellent year 2009 was for film and television. How does one choose between “Avatar”, Up in the Air, and Inglorious Basterds? All three are remarkable films, but I suppose Avatar deserves the award for its contributions to film making, and it’s not a bad movie either. I was proud to see Up and Pixar win Best Animated Film, and Merryl Streep again deserved her award for Best Actress in Julie and Julia. Christoph Waltz probably was the year’s best actor period, so he more than deserved the award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama for his role in Inglorious Basterds. I was sorry to see Bill Paxton passed over for Big Love, and I was frightened that Hangover won for Best Comedy instead of the more deserving and less disgusting 500 Days of Summer. I thought that the award to Sandra Bullock for her role as a white Republican evangelical southerner in The Blind Side was quite surprising for Hollywood voters, but fitting nonetheless. Maybe I was just in the mood, or perhaps I was missing my home in Los Angeles while I remain here in Nashville, but I thought that the Golden Globes were superb.

One of the great joys of my time at Pepperdine and of 2009 was the opportunity to participate in the movie and television industry in some small way. As I watched the awards, I realized that my life had been caught up in one way or another over the past year with what seemed like more than half of those in the room. This is not important at all, and I certainly take little credit for it. But I realized how one year had made such a huge difference in my experience of a Hollywood that used to seem so far away, and now I call those who work and live there my neighbors and friends. Some of the acting I did in the fall brought the opportunity to work with many of those in the audience, and I realized that one year alone had brought me insight into the actors and the industry that was quite remarkable and unexpected. Hollywood has its problems, but as I’ve said many times before, I believe in its mission to tell great stories, and I love the people who take that mission seriously. It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s home … and this year, it produced some powerful stories that inspire the best in all of us. As Merryl Streep said tonight, as she tearfully looked towards heaven, “I’m grateful.”

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