Making great movies is one thing. Winning awards is something else entirely. When Viola Davis accepted her award for Fences at the 2017 Golden Globes, she opened her speech by taking a dig at the process one has to go through to win a Golden Globe. It's customary to thank the organization that gives you the award when you win it, however, Davis couldn't help but wonder why's just winning the award now.
Thank you to the Hollywood Foreign Press. This is my fifth nomination. I took all the pictures, went to the luncheon...
There's no secret that there's a political aspect to the awards process. It certainly helps a nominated performer to jump through any hoops that the organization has. However, The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is famous, or is the word infamous, for having a LOT of hoops to jump through. They throw a lot of events in the lead up to the Golden Globes ceremony and it's generally understood that if you want to win the award, you're expected to attend the events, take a lot of pictures and shake a lot of hands. What Viola Davis is saying here is that she's done that on four previous occasions, and yet, she's just winning her award now.
Having said it, Viola Davis also says that the award is "right on time." What she's saying, it would seem, is that she's quite proud to have won the Golden Globe for Fences, possibly more so than she would have been for her four previous nominations. She did seem to legitimately be thrilled to have won the award. Denzel Washington, who starred in the film as well as directed it, was in the audience, and while it appeared like the actor might have been falling asleep earlier in the night, Davis' win certainly woke him up.
Viola Davis' joke was a light dig at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, but it was a clear one at the same time. It's impossible to say how much shaking hands and taking pictures really impacts one's chances of winning an award, but the fact is the HFPA has built that reputation even if it isn't necessarily deserved. We certainly want to see awards going to the people who gave the best performances. At the same time, the fact is that sometimes all the performances are so great that it isn't necessarily that easy to pick a clear winner, so might some people throw their vote toward the nice person they met at lunch? Certainly, it could happen.
In this case, however, it probably wasn't the lunches that got Viola Davis the award. Most would agree that Davis' performance in Fences was phenomenal and certainly worthy of recognition tonight.