What I watch instead of the Globes
I chose the Edwardian dramatic mini-series “Downton Abbey” on PBS last night over the Golden Globes, but I don’t regret it. Since James Cameron’s 2010 Golden Globes speech when he urged the audience to “give it up for yourselves,” for doing such a great job making movies, I suppose, I’ve been turned off of watching what is also otherwise a very self-congratulatory festival (like the Oscars, Emmys, even the SAG awards, sadly). As if Hollywood needs to pat its own back. Maybe winners at the Independent Spirit Awards do, but probably not even them. Really, James? You really meant this? It’s not magnanimous to say this when you’re the winner and have such a massive blockbuster as Avatar. It’s a horrid display of hubris. But in 2007, I found myself weeping during Forest Whitaker’s Oscar acceptance speech for the Best Actor award for The King of Scotland. We’re from the same small town in East Texas. I dreamt of making movies growing up. His speech encapsulates so perfectly the reasons why we should make films. All the reasons he gives for that is what I believe as well. It was a beautiful moment.
Turkish film star Meltem Cumbul at the Golden Globes
In looking up the winners from last night, I came across an interesting piece of information about what happened during the presentation: the prolific Turkish film star, Meltem Cumbul made an appearance. I’ve seen reporters and bloggers online give a “what? who? why? really?” response to that as it seems as if her appearance had no other importance than to serve as a lame acknowledgement by Hollywood that yes, other countries and other cinemas and other international stars exist outside of the U.S. This caught my eye since we’ll be starting a Her Film series on Turkish (and Swedish) women filmmakers this spring. Why did the Hollywood Foreign Press Association choose Cumbul? Did they want to display Turkish talent, specifically? I suppose it doesn’t matter, but I hope that it served as a reality-check for the Golden Globe audience.
Here are some links for more information on Meltem Cumbul: article on the Golden Globes from Today’s Zaman newspaper, Cumbul’s own website, Cumbul’s “who’s who” entry at the Turkish Cultural Foundation.
Check out the list of nominees and winners on HFPA’s Golden Globe website. The only person, not just woman, the only person who won a Golden Globe last night who was directed by a female director was Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady. Phyllida Lloyd directed, and Abi Morgan wrote, Streep all the way to the stage.
I love Downton Abbey and have mixed feelings about the awards shows. I think it is important to acknowledge everyone’s work, even Hollywood. I was also confused about the reason for Cumbul’s appearance. If they are going to make a statement and televise it, the show ought to be clear on the purpose.
As a female Turkish-American filmmaker, I would like to say that it was refreshing to see not only a non-American filmmaker make an appearance, but also to see someone from one of the lesser-known film industries — and a woman! Bollywood is often represented, as are most of Europe, but only recently have female filmmakers from countries that are not traditionally thought of as film-centers received acknowledgment, Eastern European and Middle Eastern women filmmakers in particular. Considering the experiences of what women in those areas have seen, their cinematic perspectives are invaluable.
Agreed! Cinema is vast and diverse, as are its creators. Nice the world got to see that at such a huge event.
For about a year we have seen thousands of people across the world railed against corporate power, grinding poverty and government cuts. When was the last time you saw someone talked about “Word Peace” on National live TV? That was Meltem Cumbul, Turkish Movie Star, who gave a very meaningful message that we responded as “what? who? why? really?”
Once upon a time our land was known as “The country of Freedom!” Shame on reporters and bloggers…
I agree, Linda. I find the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s motivations suspect, though, as the Golden Globes have such a limited view, or at least limited recognition of, actual international cinema, international filmmaking and non-U.S. filmmakers. I didn’t see the broadcast, but reading articles and blog posts about Cumbul’s appearance, it seemed it wasn’t clear why she was there, and I found this frustrating. So often Hollywood thinks that lip service actually makes a difference in changing people’s views or broadening people’s minds, but I think they can do better and actually pay attention to international cinema! That’s why I’m looking forward to learning more about Turkish women filmmakers as I launch a special series this spring. I really appreciate your comments, thank you.