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Golden Globes 2014: Why no documentary awards?

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Everyone loves a party. And the Golden Globe Awards are known for kicking off the Hollywood movie awards season in style every January. This year looks to be exceptional with comedy favorites Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosting. (Love them!) As these shows go, the Golden Globes usually win the award for most fun viewing experience (maybe that's because of the free-flowing wine during the ceremony).

But each year on the eve of the Globes, I can’t help but think shouldn’t the documentary filmmakers also have a seat at the awards table? Quick question – how many viewers don’t even realize that there is no Best Documentary category at the Golden Globes?

Once, some 40-odd years ago, the Golden Globes did honor documentaries – from the years 1972 through 1977. Shouldn’t they do so again since so many excellent documentaries are hitting the theatrical screens or reaching audiences via Film Festivals, VOD, cable television (HBO, Showtime, PBS, ESPN, etc.), iTunes, Netflix, Amazon Prime and/or Hulu?

I’ve often noted that we are in the Golden Age of documentaries. With the advances of accessible camera and post-production equipment, really remarkable stories are being told from all walks of life. Just look at some of the buzz-worthy docs from this past year, like IDA Documentary Award winner and Sundance Audience Award winner, “The Square,” which documents the Egyptian Revolution. Or other award winners such as Sarah Polley’s “Stories We Tell,” Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s “Blackfish,” Lucy Walker’s “The Crash Reel,” “Zachary Heinzerling’s “Cutie and the Boxer” Morgan Neville’s “20 Feet from Stardom” or Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Act of Killing.” And that’s not even half of what was short-listed for this year’s Oscars.

So, please Golden Globes committee, add back the Documentary category to your awards show.

And for those of you who agree, Tom Roston (an indie journalist who covers documentaries in his column, Doc Soup) has started a petition to have the documentary category reinstated to the Golden Globes. You can find and sign the petition by clicking here.

Maybe next year at this time, we’ll be discussing which fine documentary might win the 2015 Golden Globes. That would be exceptionally fun indeed.


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