Initially low-key, despite the vibrant wit of co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and President Clinton’s dignified cameo, last night’s Golden Globes blossomed into a genuinely emotional event that the Oscars will be lucky to match.
Jodie Foster’s emphatic acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award amounted to a passionate self-portrait of what it’s like for a child-star-turned-A-lister to live in the spotlight for 47 years. It was also a heartfelt appeal for privacy and, somewhat contradictorily, a public coming-out, though Foster took delight in teasing the audience on that score with the decoy admission that she is… single. It was a great Hollywood moment, though one that has drawn skepticism as well as approval.
More controversial was the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s shunning of the two heavyweights, Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” (seven nominations) and Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty” (four nominations) in the Best Drama and Best Director categories. “Argo” (five nominations) won in both cases, the highly surprised Ben Affleck taking home the director trophy.
“Lincoln”’s Daniel Day-Lewis won for Best Actor in a Drama. “Zero Dark Thirty”’s Jessica Chastain won for Best Actress in a Drama. They otherwise went unrewarded.
“Django Unchained” sprang two surprises, winning Best Supporting Actor for Christoph Waltz and Best Screenplay for its writer-director, Quentin Tarantino. Mark Boal’s screenplay for “Zero Dark Thirty” and Tony Kushner’s for “Lincoln” have been better fancied for their comparative sobriety and intricacy.
Comic scenes like the one in which Klan members argue about their hoods raise the question of whether “Django” is a drama or a dark satire that should have been nominated as Best Comedy or Musical. The latter category was won by Tom Hooper’s sprawling “Les Misérables,” which proved the top Globe winner with three awards. Anne Hathaway won as Best Supporting Actress and Hugh Jackman as Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical.
“Silver Linings Playbook” won one award from four nominations — Jennifer Lawrence being voted Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical. She was thus able to claim, “I beat Meryl!” The Best Actress Oscar remains one of the tightest to call. Although Chastain has the edge over Lawrence, the former’s chances could be dented by the political furore over Bigelow’s film. Lawrence is very popular, but Emmanuelle Riva – who will turn 86 on Oscar day – is hovering. Her performance and that of her co-star, Jean-Louis Trintignant, helped “Amour” to the Foreign-Language Globe last night. It was presented to director Michael Haneke by fellow Austrian Arnold Schwarzenegger and New Yorker Sylvester Stallone.
One might sum up the Globes’ ramifications for the Oscars with the phrase, “All bets are off.” “Lincoln”’s hegemony has been breached. “Zero Dark Thirty” is under a Washington cloud. “Argo” has moved front and center – yet Affleck, like Bigelow, has not been nominated as Best Director. The last film to win Best Picture but not Best Director was Paul Haggis’s “Crash” in 2005 – Ang Lee winning the director prize for “Brokeback Mountain.” There could be another split this year. Spielberg and “Lincoln” remain the favorites, but the only shoo-in is Day-Lewis.
Read a full list of Golden Globes winners here.