Do Golden Globes Have Greater Meaning?

The glamour … The glory … And my aching feet.

Having just returned from the 60th annual Golden Globe Awards in Los Angeles, I gaze out the window of my office down to the icy, potholed streets of New York City and think, "Shoot, back to reality."

After getting lost in the pageantry of it all and taking numerous jabs at Lara Flynn Boyle's hideous outfit (a ballerina tutu with high-heeled lace-up toe shoes), I am left to reflect on what it all means. What does life's fortune hold if you take home a Golden Globe statuette?

First of all, the Golden Globes are fun. At other shows, you're stuck for three-plus hours wriggling in theater-like seats. At the Golden Globes, you get to sit at a table with friends and colleagues. Even if you lose, you drown your sorrows in a bevy of beverages.

A victory, however, means you have all the more reason to get ripped and make the rounds, trophy in hand, at the after-show parties.

You're a BSOC — Big Star On Campus — and the victory virtually guarantees you a ticket to the Big Dance.

That's right. With a Globe under your belt, you are about 80 percent likely to have a crack at the little fellow who can earn you loads of cash — Oscar. Political Nominations

On your way to Golden Globe glory, you may garner a boatload of honors — a New York Film Critics Award; a Chicago, Boston or L.A. Film Critics Award; a National Board of Review Award; a Broadcast Film Critics Award; and so forth and so on.

The question remains, however: "What's It All About, Alfie?"

Well, for the most part, winning is as much about politics as it is about talent. You may wonder why a nominee for best actor at one awards show competes for best supporting actor in another. You may also wonder why that actor's movie is sometimes considered a comedy, and at other times a drama.

The studios create this hodgepodge of entries. It's based not on deservedness, but on strategy to score the biggest number of overall awards.

You see, if a two-page newspaper ad says a film won eight awards, you're more likely to go see it than if it had won only two — even if they two it won were legitimate and the others were poppycock. Gangs of New York is now touting two Golden Globes. Yes — one for director Martin Scorsese, the other for best song. Who the heck goes to see a movie because it won best song?

Here's an example: Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman star in The Hours, released by Paramount. All three women have roughly the same screen time and all three women were nominated for Golden Globes.

However, not all three women were entered in the same category. Streep and Kidman were nominated for best actress in a motion picture drama. Moore was nominated in the best supporting actress category. Why? you ask. What brings forth this injustice?

I'll tell you. It's because the studio submitted Moore in the supporting category. Studio honchos figured she was bound to get a nomination in the best actress category for Far From Heaven. If they spread out their nominations, they had a better chance of garnering two awards.

Say it isn't so! you cry. I'd like to, but it is so!

The injustices are even further reaching. We know the Oscars, unlike the Golden Globes, doesn't offer separate film awards for drama and musical/comedy.

The actors who win Golden Globe in the musical/comedy category don't have a dieter's chance in Baskin-Robbins at winning an Oscar. How in the world can you compare Richard Gere's tappin', singin' and swingin' in Chicago to Jack Nicholson's un-Jack performance in About Schmidt or Daniel Day Lewis' over-the-top evil Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York?

Oscars = Money

Gere's chances of winning a best actor Oscar are slimmer than Calista Flockhart, but what if they submit him as a best supporting actor? His chances, indeed, get better.

Still, Gere would have to beat out heroic performances from Chris Cooper in Adaptation and Ed Harris in The Hours. They're both shoo-ins for nominations.

The point is, the studio can submit Gere for best supporting actor, the lesser category, if it chooses.

In the long run, any of the lesser awards are always pleasant to have (hey, I'd take a Razzie just to have something to put on my shelf), but they bear little fruit to an actor or actress when all is said and done. You don't see paycheck increases and offers pouring in after someone has won a Golden Globe.

Truly, by Feb. 11, when Oscar nominations are announced, there will be little talk, if any, about winning a Golden Globe. It's all about Oscar.

Of course, if an actor or actress is fortunate enough to win the "Big Dawg" it means much more, since it is a culmination of voting by the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Science — several thousand actors, filmmakers and industry types, including anybody who's anybody.

Golden Globe Awards are voted on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, made up of a whopping 100 or so members, who are low-profile, to say the least.

Even after the celebrations have wound down, the benefits of the Oscar win live on. You're automatically secured a presenter's spot at the following year's Oscar ceremony. This means you also get the nice $40,000 gift basket. You'll be interviewed by every entertainment show on television.

You immediately become the flavor of the moment and get more movie role offers than you know what to do with. Your fees go up, up, up. You get invited to every Oscar nominees' luncheon for the rest of your life, and you'll always be included in the Oscar anniversary picture.

Now, that you can't beat with a statuette!

Heidi Oringer is director of entertainment programming at ABCNEWS Radio.