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Everything the Oscars Should Be, And Less

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Why are the acceptance speeches better at the Golden Globes than at the Oscars or Emmys? Are the pressures lower? The winners cleverer? The stars drunker? I don’t know, but upon winning Best Actress in a TV Drama, Geena Davis told a touching story about a little girl telling her that the show had inspired her to be President, only to confess that she had made the story up. It was more entertaining than the last four months of Commander in Chief. Other highlights included Hugh Laurie (deserving, for House) picking three people to thank, at random, from his pocket, and Steve Carell (even more so, for The Office) reading a note purportedly written by his wife, in which he thanked her four times.

Stars don’t seem to feel they can take these kinds of chances at the Oscars and Emmys (you have to settle for unplanned, egomaniacal hysteria) and the awards usually return the favor by making safe, long-telegraphed choices. From a TV end, though, while there were disappointments — Desperate Housewives, for instance, over a field of more-deserving comedies — the Globes mainly rewarded quality, in particular, Mary-Louise Parker winning best comedy actress for Weeds over all four Desperate Housewives, showing that getting the cover of every magazine on the planet is no substitute for having an actual character, and acting. (As Felicity Huffman proved when she won a Globe she actually deserved for Transamerica.) And it was worth staying up to see the entire vast ensemble of Lost, including "tailies," crowd the stage for Best Drama. They must have had to sit on each others’ laps at the show’s table.

But the best thing about the Globes is the pace: other than a tribute to Anthony Hopkins, it was award, speech, award, speech, bang, bang, time for the news. Which makes me think that all the attempts to rethink the Oscars have ended up overthinking the Oscars. Maybe it isn’t a matter of dropping dance numbers or adding Jon Stewart. Maybe they just need to be shorter. Two hours should be plenty of time for Oscar to take care of all its business—just cut the musical performances and the 45 minutes’ worth of Brokeback Mountain gay jokes the writers have already drafted. And then ABC could still air a Gray’s Anatomy that night.

More: 10 Surprises of the Golden Globes