Norman Lear and Jane Fonda received special Golden Globes awards Sunday night, nostalgic nods to a vanished entertainment environment.
The 1950s and 1960s are revisited in many of today's productions that received Golden Globes recognition. Lear and Fonda rocketed to fame in that era of media uniformity, now as distant as that of the silent movies.
Yet, the Lear and Fonda career retrospectives broadcast Sunday night showed their defining work as more revolutionary than anything in the Netflix era.
Lear's "All in the Family," "The Jeffersons" and "Maud" changed American culture, unlike "The Queen's Gambit," "Emily in Paris," "Schitt's Creek" and "The Crown." Fonda's "Klute," “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They” and "Coming Home" excel over "The Trial of the Chicago 7," featuring Fonda's ex-husband Tom Hayden, and the overrated "Mank" and "That Night in Miami."
Yes, kids, my boomer arrogance strikes again.
The 98-year-old Lear flourished in an era when three networks produced all of American television. The 83-year-old Fonda gained stardom when the big Hollywood studios still ruled, although the films she appeared in were among those that shattered the old Hollywood model in which her father, Henry Fonda, rose to fame.
While NBC broadcast the Golden Globes, touting new and established network productions, not one show or star from NBC, CBS, ABC and late-comer Fox received a Golden Globes nomination. All of the TV honorees came from streaming services, dominated by Netflix, which has supplanted HBO as the leader in "quality TV."
Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon's Prime Video, HBO Max, Hulu and Apple now control the movie business. The Covid shutdown of theaters has made streaming services the primary distribution model for films.
Now, Time Warner puts its movies directly onto HBO Max as well as showing them in theaters, making HBO as much of a player in film as TV. All of the movies favored to receive Oscar nominations have much bigger audiences on TV screens than in movie theaters.
Even with Covid slowdowns, the streaming services are churning out a glut of new productions, often more artistically challenging than the superhero franchise flicks that now dominate Hollywood.
But Lear and Fonda's shows and films still stand out for their originality and breaking of barriers.