Congratulations, Golden Globes, your longtime wish to be just like the Academy Awards came true Sunday night.
You staged a listless show for millions of television viewers, with an overhyped host and musicians working overtime curtailing windy acceptance speeches. Your winners list celebrated bygone days — the silent era, Margaret Thatcher, Marilyn Monroe, Madonna — more than the future.
Sunday night's Golden Globes soiree was nothing more than dress rehearsal for Hollywood's much more formal prom next month. It's tough to imagine the Oscars results being any different, except the right maid from The Help might win. Viola Davis got robbed; supporting actress winner Octavia Spencer got lucky.
Still, battle lines were drawn Sunday night between drama and musical/comedy films and lead performances, adding a bit of suspense with six weeks until the Oscars. But does anyone really expect anything other than The Artist or The Descendants to cop the top Academy Award? Or that the academy will skip the chance for another charming George Clooney acceptance speech?
There's a better chance of the Oscar telecast ending on schedule. For the most part, what we saw Sunday night is what we're going to get Feb. 26.
Not that academy voters were taking notes during the Globes show. Nomination ballots were due back to headquarters 48 hours before Ricky Gervais stepped on stage Sunday. Results will be announced Jan. 24.
This year, the academy's latest retooling of balloting math for the best picture chase takes effect. After two years of expanding the category to 10 finalists, everyone noticed there usually aren't 10 deserving movies. Now there will be between five and 10 best picture contenders, based on a convoluted system. Those accountants at PricewaterhouseCoopers will earn their money this year.
Only those movies garnering a certain number of first place votes on nomination ballots will make the final cut. How many votes are needed is determined by the number of ballots cast, divided by 11 (the number of potential best picture slots plus one).
If a movie gets at least 10 percent more first place votes than necessary, the system gets trickier than you want to know. The bottom line is that some of the excessive votes are thrown to the highest ranked movie that hasn't yet reached the magic number for nomination. The question is whether that could boost another navel-gazer like The Tree of Life into the race for the golden circle or more populist choices like Bridesmaids or the Harry Potter finale.
The latter is what the academy is hoping, in order to attract viewers to the telecast. But after Sunday night, it'll practically be a rerun.
Steve Persall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8365.