Of all the fun and froth that comes with Sunday night’s Golden Globe Awards—the first red carpet of the season, the on-camera drinking, the saucy mix of TV upstarts and movie stars—my favorite tradition is Miss Golden Globe, whose sole job is to schlep back and forth across the stage with trophies for the winners.
Nice work if you can get it. And you and I can’t. We don’t have movie-star parents.
Click image to view gallery of Miss Golden Globe presenters through the years, from 1963 to 2006.
Anyone who has brayed with indignation over Caroline Kennedy will no doubt feel similarly outraged over Miss Golden Globe. After all, it is a holdover from decades ago, when children of Hollywood royalty would step forward to serve the industry that had made their parents famous, and presumably take a first step at getting there themselves. Sometimes the promise of their birthright paid off (hello Anne Archer, Laura Dern, and Joely Fisher, Miss Golden Globe 1971, ’82, and ’92, respectively) and sometimes it wouldn’t (sorry, Lisabeth Shatner and Lily Costner, thanks for playing).
Rumer Willis, this year’s Miss Double G, is a double legacy, the offspring of two Hollywood superstars: Bruce Willis and Demi Moore. But her ascension could threaten to topple the noble institution of Miss Golden Globe as we know it.
Why? Because we already know who she is. Who among us can’t recall pictures of the Willis girls in Us and People as the Demi-Ashton romance unfolded? We’ve watched Rumer grow up into someone who, in another lifetime, would be old enough to date her stepfather (don’t worry, Tallulah and Scout, Wilmer Valderrama is still available!). And unlike previous Miss Double Gs (and a few Mr. Double Gs), Rumer already has a legitimate career—and that’s not even not counting her cameos in dad’s The Whole Nine Yards and mom’s Now and Then. She appeared in several movies in 2008—including The House Bunny, which I sort of can’t help wanting to see—and has three more coming out in 2009. She’s BFF with Lindsay Lohan, Hayden Panettiere, and the cast of Gossip Girl. She’s dating a model. It’s amazing she could even fit Miss Golden Globe into her schedule.
Twice, actually—Rumer was supposed to be Miss Double G last year, before the writers’ strike hijacked the event and turned it into a sad freakshow of missed opportunity dominated by Access Hollywood hosts. A year ago it truly would have been Rumer’s coming out party—she was still basically most notable for appearing as herself in VH1’s Awesomely Wacky Celebrity Baby Names. But somewhere between strike beards and the 44th president, our little Rumer ceased to be a demi-celeb—get it? Demi? Oh, come on, at least I didn’t make a “golden globes” joke—and grew up.
And frankly, being a grown-up is not what Miss Golden Globe is all about. Miss Double G stands out by not standing out. Her moment is one of deference to far greater stardom, an acknowledgement that the passage from handing out the awards to earning them is something that lies ahead—if you’re very lucky. It’s somewhere between a blushing debutante ball and lighting a candle at a bat mitzvah. It is a rite of passage that’s fun to watch in part because it represents the unfulfilled promise of an unknown: Will this girl be the another Melanie Griffith (Miss Golden Globe 1975 and a winner in 1989)—or the next Dakota Johnson (Griffith’s daughter with Don Johnson and Miss Golden Globe 2006…the last time anyone ever heard of her)?
We’ve watched Rumer grow up into someone who, in another lifetime, would be old enough to date her stepfather.
Will Rumer’s career resemble her parents’—or will it Die Hard? Like a Ghost? She’s clearly not feeling the pressure. She recently told an interviewer she’s not even nervous about her performance on Sunday. “I'm sure I'll be able to walk up and down without tripping,” she said breezily. Such moxie (like mom)! Such hubris (like dad)! It’s like she’s totally punking us. That’s Ms. Golden Globes, if you’re nasty.
So maybe we can’t play the usual parlor game this year and speculate about whether this kid handing out the statues will ever be heard from again—where have you gone, Freddie Prinze Jr. (Mr. Golden Globe 1996)? It’s not Rumer’s fault she’s ruining that fun for us this year, but let’s hope that in 2010, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association comes to its senses and returns to the ranks of the young and un-paparazzi’d so we can enjoy our Miss Golden Globe ritual in peace. In the meantime, I suppose we can look forward to this on Sunday: Maybe she’ll trip.
Rachel Sklar is the former media editor for the Huffington Post and the author of A Stroke of Luck: Life, Crisis and Rebirth of a Stroke Survivor. She is currently working on Jew-ish , a humorous book about cultural identity. In the meantime, she works with media consulting firm Abrams Research, recently launched the online micro-giving site Charitini, and Twitters up a storm. Follow her here.