'Public breakdown' in the Golden Globes' dirty secret

L.A. Times columnist Patrick Goldstein says Ricky Gervais and Robert De Niro made show business history by getting down and dirty on Sunday's Golden Globes telecast. Excerpt:

For years, Hollywood has had a sham marriage with the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., a motley group of little-known international journalists and critics. The group inspires open contempt among showbiz publicists obligated to tolerate what they describe as petulant and often vindictive behavior in return for the cachet and commercial benefits that come with a Golden Globes nomination.

The organization has left itself open to ridicule time and time again, most recently this past year when, not long after Sony helped pay to take HFPA members to Las Vegas to see a Cher concert, they gave a number of Globes nominations to “Burlesque,” a Sony film costarring Cher that was panned by critics everywhere.

On Sunday night, Ricky Gervais and Robert De Niro set politeness and decorum aside, and viewers across America were treated to a Golden Globes show worth watching. Not because the awards actually mean something, but because this was a bit of showbiz history in the making: a public breakdown in the carefully cultivated but thoroughly cynical “see no evil, speak no evil” relationship that Hollywood has with the HFPA.

Read on.

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