As expected, “The Artist” proved the top prizewinning movie at the Golden Globes awards show yesterday evening. Since its tally of three exceeded that of “The Descendants” by only one, however, the word “sweep” wasn’t applicable. There was no big winner, as in the case of 2009’s “Slumdog Millionaire” and last year’s “The Social Network,” which each won four Globes.
“The Artist” won for Comedy or Musical, its male lead Jean Dujardin as Actor in a Comedy of Musical, and its composer Ludovic Bource for his score. Although “The Artist” — French, mostly silent, black and white — remains the comparatively exotic favorite to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, it’s finally acquired a bona fide contender in “The Descendants,” which won the Globe for best drama. Its star, George Clooney, won for Actor in a Drama. Some Oscar voters will inevitably be swayed by the Globes to choose Alexander Payne’s film about a Hawaiian man undergoing a middle-aged crisis and learning to be a father, and Clooney, in particular, could be the chief beneficiary.
Hosted by Ricky Gervais at the Beverly Hilton, Beverly Hills, the Globes gave no solid indication about how the Oscars might turn out. Martin Scorsese won as Director for “Hugo” setting up a likely three-way-race for the Oscar with Payne and Michel Hazanavicius (“The Artist”), notwithstanding the claims of Terrence Malick (“The Tree of Life,” a Globe shutout).
With Meryl Streep (“The Iron Lady”) winning the Globe for Actress in a Drama (her eighth Globe in all) and Michelle Williams (“My Week With Marilyn”) winning the Globe for Actress in a Comedy or Musical (it’s neither), the Oscar is too close to call. Streep is the favorite. But as she did at the New York Critics Film Circle awards dinner, Streep herself made special mention of Globe nominee Viola Davis (“The Help”), who stays in Oscar contention.
Octavia Spencer, another member of “The Help”’s formidable ensemble, won the Supporting Actress Globe. Eighty-two-year-old Christopher Plummer (“Beginners”) won as Supporting Actor — his first Globe from three nominations. He has probably moved ahead of Albert Brooks (“Drive”) as the Oscar favorite. Steven Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin” won for Animated Feature. Woody Allen, who wasn’t present at the awards, won for Screenplay (“Midnight in Paris”): there would have been something nostalgically reassuring about Scorsese, Spielberg, and Allen collecting awards in the same room.
Asghar Faradi’s “A Separation” won the Globe for Foreign Language Film. The Iranian writer-director mentioned his cast and crew fleetingly in his short speech, making instead a meaningful humanitarian point by thanking his nation’s people. In the evening’s most memorable moment, Morgan Freeman was presented with the honorary Cecil B. DeMille Award by Sidney Poitier and Helen Mirren.
Madonna, who wrote the Globe-winning song (“Masterpiece” from her directorial debut, “W.E.”) with Julie Frost and Jimmy Harry, archly taunted Gervais when he made an antiquated dig at her being the author of “Like a Virgin.” Had she known that Elton John, co-writer of another nominated song, had used an expletive when dismissing “Mastetpiece”’s chances of winning when he was interviewed on the red carpet, she might have directed her acid remarks at him.
Only one televison show took home more than one award — Showtime’s “Homeland” winning for Drama and its star Claire winning for Actress, Drama. The other TV Globes were spread far and wide. PBS’s “Downton Abbey” predictably won for Mini-Series or Motion Picture. ABC’s “Modern Family” won for Comedy or Musical. Speaking in Spanish, one of its stars, Sofia Vergara, tartly recommended that actresses in the audience at the Beverly Hilton give their numbers to producers at the after-show parties because “they’ll be the best lovers you’ll ever have.”
As well as Danes, the following actors all won Globes for their television work: Kelsey Grammar (Starz’s “Boss”), Idris Elba (the BBC’s “Luther”), Kate Winslet (HBO’s “Mildred Pierce”), Peter Dinklage (HBO’s “Game of Thrones”), Jessica Lange (FX’s “American Horror Story”), Matt LeBlanc (Showtime’s “Episodes”), Laura Dern (HBO’s “Enlightened”).
And third-time presenter Gervais? Several Globe-winners referred to Harvey Weinstein as “The Punisher,” a nickname that would do equally well for the British comic. Yet he wasn’t so wicked this year. He opened with an amusing but comparatively tame monologue, but as the evening wore on his ribald off-the-cuff material seemed increasingly forced. None of it went beyond the bounds of acceptable bad taste, but his mock-peevish presentation of Actress announcer Colin Firth, in which he pretended that Firth is racist, clearly didn’t impress the stars at “The Help’s” table. He made much of the toilet humor in “Bridesmaids,” and the observation had worn painfully thin by the time actress Emily Blunt got in on it when she presented the film.
Gervais came up with a few notable quips, including a dig at Kim Kardashian, whom he contrasted unfavorably with Kate Middleton. Typically, he didn’t cozy up to his employers. "Tonight you get Britain's biggest comedian, hosting the world's second biggest awards show, on America’s third biggest network,” he said. “Oh, it's fourth? It's fourth."
And on “Boardwalk Empire”: “I love that show, it's great. It's about a load of immigrants who came to America about a hundred years ago and got involved in bribery and corruption and they worked their way up into high society, but enough about the Hollywood Foreign Press.” That shouldn’t be enough to stop the HFPA asking Gervais back for a fourth tour of duty next year, but he’ll need to sharpen his teeth.
GOLDEN GLOBES WINNERS
MOTION PICTURE, DRAMA
MOTION PICTURE, COMEDY OR MUSICAL
George Clooney, "The Descendants"
Meryl Streep, "The Iron Lady"
ACTOR, COMEDY OR MUSICAL, MOTION PICTURE
Jean Dujardin, "The Artist"
ACTRESS , COMEDY OR MUSICAL, MOTION PICTURE
Michelle Williams, "My Week with Marilyn"
SUPPORTING ACTOR, MOTION PICTURE
Christopher Plummer, "Beginners"
SUPPORTING ACTRESS, MOTION PICTURE
Octavia Spencer, "The Help"
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
"A Separation,” Iran
"The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn"
DIRECTOR, MOTION PICTURE
Martin Scorsese, "Hugo"
SCREENPLAY, MOTION PICTURE
"Midnight in Paris,” Woody Allen
ORIGINAL SCORE, MOTION PICTURE
"The Artist,” Ludovic Bource
ORIGINAL SONG, MOTION PICTURE
"Masterpiece" ("W.E."), Madonna, Julie Frost, Jimmy Harry
COMEDY OR MUSICAL, TELEVISION
MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE
ACTOR, DRAMA, TELEVISION
Kelsey Grammer, "Boss"
ACTRESS, DRAMA, TELEVISION
Claire Danes, "Homeland"
ACTOR, COMEDY OR MUSICAL, TELEVISION
Matt LeBlanc, "Episodes"
ACTRESS, COMEDY OR MUSICAL, TELEVISION
Laura Dern, "Enlightened"
ACTOR IN A MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE
Idris Elba, "Luther"
ACTRESS IN A MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE
Kate Winslet, "Mildred Pierce"
SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE
Peter Dinklage, "Game of Thrones"
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE
Jessica Lange, "American Horror Story"
THE CECIL B. DEMILLE AWARD