Well, the Golden Globes are over, and the world survived again. I still have absolutely zero idea who won anything. Because I really couldn't even begin to care less.
I mention this because I realized something yesterday which surprised even me about how incredibly little I (or anyone) should care. It surprised me because, for all the years I've explained in detail how pointless and a scam the Golden Globes are, this particular fact never occurred to me. And took this silly award show to new, unimagined depths.
(And yes, I do actually know it's just a silly award show. But then, as the Founding Fathers wrote, all silliness is not created equal. And ultimately, many millions of people do actually watch.)
What I always say -- and wrote in my article here the other day (and post every year) -- is that there are only a paltry 86 voting members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. That's not much more than if your office had a pool. And just about as qualified, given that those in the HFPA who vote are largely just stringers, not the critics and head film writers of the newspapers they're connected with -- or were, I should say, since many of them are likely long-since retired.
But what occurred to me yesterday is that that "86" is the wrong number to focus on as a matter of disdain. It's merely the number of voting members of the HFPA. Not the number of people who actually selected the person or film that "won" in any category.
I'm going to make some assumptions here, since the voting is secret. But they're assumptions based on elementary school math and basic logic.
The five nominees in any category are what the HFPA has determined are the five best and likely pretty close to one another in appreciation and craft. Obviously they're not exactly at the same level -- occasionally there's a run-away favorite, or an unlikely long-shot -- but in general, I think it's fair to say that there's a reasonably-level field in each category.
Simple math tells us that if you divide the 86 members by the five nominees, you get an average of 17 (with one left over, for the "winner"). What this means is that if a category is tight, the "winner" of a Golden Globe received a grand total of 18 votes.
It's math. The law of averages. Hey, you can't fudge long division.
And that is what the TV audience is watching and anxiously anticipating. An award determined by 18 votes. From semi-retired stringers.
Now, yes, I know that the votes aren't likely to break down that evenly in most categories. So, let's be fair, bend way over backwards and raise the base by a whopping 50%. That would give the "winner" 27 whole votes, and leave the other nominees with an average of just 15 votes a person. That would be "winning" by almost 2-to-1. Even for a runaway favorite that's a pretty huge landslide margin. Yet it's still a mere 27 votes -- for a landslide "winner."
Again, I completely understand that for some categories the results might well be different, and on a rare occasion there might be a massive. clear-cut favorite who simply overwhelms the others. But I think it's reasonable to think that most categories are pretty level, and the range generally is what basic math and the law of averages say it must be.
And so it was that yesterday the math popped into my head, and I realized a Golden Globe "winner" -- receiving this great honor -- most-often likely gets between merely 18 to 27 votes. From semi-retired stringers.
Just remember that the next time you read about who "won" a treasured Golden Globe award. The faux "Precursor" of the Oscars.
In the meantime, you might want to see about whether your company can get its office pool broadcast on network television...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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