The Golden Globe Awards of the dubious Hollywood Foreign Press Association (composed largely of public relations people) kick off what arguably is the most important two months for the US entertainment industry.
But the Globes are merely a warm-up act for the main showbiz event...the Super Bowl American football championship, 2 February. Yes, it's actually a showbiz event and around a third of the US population is expected to watch the game, and at least that many more worldwide.
The annual sporting spectacular featuring teams of gargantuan athletes is so popular even the costly advertisements rate their own hype and special showings ... "The Best Super Bowl Ads." but these come at great cost. A 30 second advert cost about 4 million dollars to run.
The big game has really become part of the annual winter movie award season, designed mainly to enrich the coffers of multi media conglomerates by immersing the TV watching public in fantasy. And it couldn't have come at a better time. With the Middle East in turmoil and the domestic situation not much better, an elongated dose escapism is just what the public needs and loves.
You see, in a nation such as America, where virtually everything has been reduced to entertainment, it's a time this totally inbred industry attempts to make billions of dollars worldwide, not just from the movies, or sports event tickets but from television rights to the award shows and endless lucrative adverts.
It's no overstatement to say the awards themselves, be they Globes or Oscars, are minor when compared to the real reason that even the now famous after parties are televised and advertised...money, loads of money.
A 30 second Oscar telecast advert on a US TV network will cost about $1.5 million. Upwards of $80 million can be made from the US show alone. Yet more and more Hollywood is depending on foreign markets which, in recent years, have eclipsed the US market. This is a prime reason the UK BAFTA ceremony has gained so much more gravitas and airtime in the US. As Asia becomes more and more important as a source of revenue for Hollywood, it's no stretch to imagine the red carpets rolling out in Hong Kong or Shanghai for internationally televised award ceremonies there.
Ever since film studios and television networks wound up bed-mates in the new corporate reality, the public has been inundated with unreality Hollywood style with everything from The Bachelor to Dancing with the Stars. Three of the four major US TV networks are part of media conglomerates of which main elements are film studios which use their TV arms to promote their products.
But annually the most hyped and talked about bit of fantasy on air is the Academy Awards AKA The Oscars. Yet, even with all the hype and glamour, the Oscars can't equal the Super Bowl for audience size.
The game itself, which could easily be played in 90 minutes, has been transformed from an athletic event to a television entertainment spectacular lasting more than three hours. But, at the end, at least the best team on the day wins.
The same can't be said of the hyped up film and TV award shows which have become more about politics and payola than artistic merit.