No gowns, no glitz, no Globes

The Baltimore Sun

It was one thing when the striking writers interrupted our late-night viewing routine. And another as, seemingly overnight, they put the kibosh on our favorite primetime series. But, by depriving us of our globes of gold, now they're really kicking us where it counts.

That six-to-seven-hour Sunday time block has been reserved on our calendar for months now - and the snacks, the wine and the witty asides on stand-by.

Oh, Golden Globes, what will we ever do without your:

Carpeted Gauntlet Walk --Any awards-show connoisseur knows that the red carpet pre-game show is by far the choicest viewing - certainly more important than the part where awards are handed out. Back in the day, we were left to like it or lump it with Joan Rivers and her sniffy commentary on the arriving stars' outfits and resumes. But thanks to cable, Globes fans can choose from the likes of the obsequious Star Jones Reynolds to guide them down the carpet - or Isaac Mizrahi, who skyrocketed to awards-show glory in 2006 after shocking Scarlett Johansson by grabbing her breast in the name of couture.

Of course this is the part of the broadcast where we get the best look at the fashion, at attendees' dates and at who may or may not be on the brink of a food-deprivation situation. We hear starlets mispronounce the names of French designers and watch paparazzi shoot footage of blissful couples to show again and again two days later when they inexplicably break up. We look carefully for unreported baby bumps.

Inevitable Nikki Blonsky/Ellen Page ingenue-off --To behold young talent that's just, just, just so happy to be here and, um, just, just, just floored to be mentioned in the same breath as these other amazing nominees. Now we'll never be able to decide who's America's Cinderella sweetheart - Blonsky, whisked away from her ice-cream-shop drudgery to star in Hairspray or Page, whose performance in Juno has critics straining for new ways to say refreshing. Genuine, wide-eyed wonder doesn't come around Hollywood every day - right, Dakota Fanning?

Knockoff dresses --The day after the show, as sure as the sun rises and birds chirp, copycat designer Allen B. Schwartz would unveil his bargain interpretation of Charlize's, or Gwyneth's or Nicole's strappy, satin or ruffled frockery. And then every Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight and morning show would cover the impostor dresses - as if for the first time. The implications of this loss roll all the way down to the malls.

Celebrity Preview --Though this Globes tidbit often gets lost in the celebrity bounty that is the program, every year the show throws a bone to offspring of awards-show mainstays. Little Eastwoods and Nicholsons and Costners. Pint-sized Derns and Shatners and Carradines. These stars-in-training, always eye-catching, busy themselves during the broadcast by handing prizes to winners and making sure they exit smartly, because left to their own devices, many will wander off in the wrong direction. This year's Miss Golden Globe was to be Rumer Willis, the daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis. Dreams of her own Moonlighting or Striptease fade to black.

Accolade-o-meter in Overdrive --If not for awards-show tributes, how would our stars know they are loved? Without a 27-minute devotional set to music and accompanied by a grandiose, career-spanning video montage, would they know? This year, the Globes were to honor the oft-neglected Steven Spielberg. We hope he'll be OK.

Acceptance speeches --You never really know the value of a director until you see actors trying to play "authentically surprised" upon receipt of an award that they happen to have a speech for in their breast pocket/sparkly pocketbook. The hand-fluttering, gasping and tearing up, the running of the hands through the hair, the ohmygod-ohmygod-ohmygod. The shout-outs to God, the beautiful wife and the troops. The winners will just have to double up on meandering displays of gratitude for the Oscars.

Parasites --In the Darwinian food chain that is Hollywood, there are organisms that feast for days from one full-length awards show. In a non-strike year, E! and Entertainment Tonight would have already been reporting for weeks, as starlets browse gowns, consider the philosophical implications of an updo versus a down and finagle loaner bling from publicity-hungry jewelers.

And that's only pre-show coverage.

Afterward, the feeding frenzy includes entire specials where C-listers and climbing makeup critics deconstruct the looks with an attention-to-detail matched only by its bitchiness.

So have mercy, striking writers. Please, please resolve your business by Academy Awards time. We'll thank you. Rumer Willis will thank you. And Steven Spielberg just might remember you in a meandering speech of gratitude.

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