The year is not even two weeks old but it already has one electrifyingly brilliant film to its credit.
The 72nd Golden Globe Awards ceremony was threatened by torrential Southern California winter rains. A rumor spread that the red carpet had been canceled. Yet the early morning downpour ended soon enough that the red carpet was spread out under overcast skies and allowed the glamour of the Golden Globes to go on as scheduled at the Beverly Hilton on Sunday, 11 January 2015.
Despite some of the network TV antics, the night seemed to signal the rise to legitimacy of Internet companies and their original series ventures as well as the growing diversity in both film and TV choices.
By late morning, the kiosks for various media had been set up on the red carpet—Facebook and Twitter were on hand. Entertainment talent tried to amuse, straining to get a quote that might become news or go viral as the stars walked the red carpet. Matt Lauer of NBC’s “Today” congratulated Amy Poehler for being nominated; she was gracious and didn’t correct him. Poehler had been nominated for “Parks and Recreation” in 2012, 2013 and won last year, but was not nominated this year. Poehler and Tina Fey were hosting the Golden Globes for the third and final time.
Lauer’s co-host for the night, Savannah Guthrie attempted to make a joke, referring to Poehler and Fey’s “Gravity” quip about George Clooney, 53, at last year’s Golden Globes, while she was interviewing Clooney and his new wife Amal, 36 on the red carpet. Clooney received the Cecil B. DeMille Award last night. Amal noted, ”I'm just really proud of what we're celebrating tonight. It's my first time at the Golden Globes, and I'm sorry I brought the British weather with me. We're very happy to be here."
Guthrie asked George, ”You probably remember, George: Last year, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler had some fun at your expense about how you never got married? Well, you showed them.” George replied, ”I didn't do it just to show them.”
What Tina Fey actually said last year was, “‘Gravity’ is nominated for best film. It’s the story of how George Clooney would rather float away in space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age.” “Gravity” starred Sandra Bullock, 50.
Inside, Clooney proved to be self-deprecating, socially conscious and suavely swoon-worthy in his acceptance speech. He reminded the ballroom audience that 80 percent of the people will not win an award, but they’ve all “caught the brass ring” because “you get to do what you’ve always dreamed to do and be celebrated for it.” Sometimes, it is not about winning awards but making memorable moments like Lauren Bacall’s famous quote, “You know how to whistle. Just put your lips together and blow.” He asked the audience to “make your lives extraordinary” and congratulated everyone for having a very good year, ending with a punchline, “I’ve had a pretty good year myself, and I’m not just referring to the fabulous reviews on ‘The Monuments Men.’”
Of course, he mentioned his new wife, saying, “Amal, whatever alchemy it is that brought us together, I couldn’t be more proud to be your husband.” Clooney reminded everyone of events outside of Beverly Hills, saying, “Today was an extraordinary day. There were millions of people that marched, not just in Paris but around the world, and they were Christians and Jews and Muslims…they didn’t march in protest. They marched in support of the idea that we will not walk in fear. We won’t do it. So je suis Charlie.”
Backstage Clooney responded to Twitter praise for his eloquence toward his wife, advising, “You do think about what you are going to say to 300 million people about your wife. Yeah, I think that would be really stupid if you didn’t. I am having an exceptional time in my life.” He also compared seeing a montage of his career, watching his hair go from brown to grey, to watching the film “Boyhood.”
If Matt Lauer had his way, one of the highlights of the night would have been Michael Keaton stripping down to his tight whiteys and walking to the podium to accept his Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture—Comedy or Musical for “Birdman.” Lauer was referring to the scene where Keaton as an Riggan, after accidentally locking himself out during the performance of a play, was forced to walk through Time Square to get back into the theater wearing only his underwear.
When he did win, Keaton opted to make a more gracious and less gratuitously funny acceptance speech, assuring the audience that he had thanked many people “personally and privately” and made sure to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press “for even having a comedy category.” Keaton continued, “If I can carry that flag for even a night, I’m proud to do so. Alejandro, there’s not a person in this room who won’t show up for your next gig, my brother.”
Keaton thanked the writers and director of “Birdman” for “this unbelievably gutsy unapologetic look at human nature.” He went on to talk about his family, saying: “In the household in which I was raised, the themes were pretty simple -- work hard, don’t quit, be appreciative, be thankful, be grateful, be respectful, also to never whine ever, never complain, and always, for crying out loud, keep a sense of humor. My name is Michael John Douglas. I’m from Forest Grove, Penn. I’m the seventh child of George and Leona Douglas. I don’t ever remember a time when my father didn’t work two jobs, when my mother wasn’t saying the rosary or going to Mass or trying to take care of seven kids in a rundown farmhouse. She was volunteering at the Ohio Valley Hospital where I was born in the hallway. I’ve got six wonderful brothers and sisters. I have some tremendous, tremendously loving and generous friends all over the world. My best friend is kind, intelligent, funny, talented, considerate, thoughtful. Did I say kind? He also -- he also happens to be my son Sean.”
“Birdman” had been nominated for seven Golden Globes and won two; the other was for Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo for Best Screenplay for a Motion Picture.
Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood”—nominated in five categories—won more Golden Globes, ending the night with three: Best Motion Picture—Drama, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture by Patricia Arquette (her first) and Best Director—Motion Picture.
More significant were the television awards. In the television series or program categories, Showtime’s “The Affair,” FX’s “Fargo” and Amazon’s “Transparent” all won two awards. Amazon was not even at the Golden Globes last year, but this year its show about a transgender parent won Best TV series (comedy) and Best Performance by an Actor (Jeffrey Tambor), beating Netflix in both categories. The question now is what will happen at the Emmy Awards.
The backstage comments stressed the changes in TV and movies—both in the quality of the medium and the diversity represented.
Although “Selma” won only one award—for Best Original Song for John Legend and Common, it afforded two musicians the most moving comments. On the podium during his acceptance speech Common said: “As I got to know the people of the Civil Rights movement, I realize I am the hopeful black woman who was denied her right to vote. I am the caring white supporter killed on the front lines of freedom. I am the unarmed black kid who maybe needed a hand but instead was given a bullet. I am the two fallen police officers murdered in the line of duty. “Selma” has awakened my humanity, and I thank you, Ava. Ava, you are a superhero.”
Legend added, “We still are in solidarity with those who are out there fighting for justice right now, and we’re so grateful to write this song, hopefully, as an inspiration to them. Thank you very much.”
Backstage in the press room Common commented, “Being able to be a part of this film actually opened me up to a lot of things. I didn’t know there was that multicultural, black, white. There are different people from religious backgrounds and sexual orientation that came in with part of the Civil Rights Movement. That opened my mind up, obviously. Getting to see what happens right now in present day; you see people coming from different backgrounds. No matter what color, they want justice and humanity. They care for the individual whether it is a young black kid or Latino or Asian or Jewish or white person. It’s all love. Basically the expansion is basically saying we all have to do this together. We have to come to an understanding and respect each other. I know it sounds basic and simple and repeated but when put into practice, it works.”
Backstage in the press room, Gina Rodriguez, winner of Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series for comedy, commented that a nomination and a win for her series “Jane the Virgin,” “allowed Latinas to see themselves in a beautiful light. It allowed them to see ourselves where we all desired to be invited to the same party. So for me, the win meant everything and a lot more than just me. When I look into that screen and we change the way we feel about ourselves we change our perception of ourselves by the way art has created such a ripple effect. And if we can create an effect that shows Latinos like the investment bankers, doctors, lawyers that existed in my own home, I think that will change the way young girls and boys look at themselves. I think that’s needed, especially now where we have dealt with Eric Garner and Michael Brown, where we are dealing with a society that is diverse, that is so beautiful and human, we all need to remember that we all have the same stories and see them as such.”
When Matt Bomer, who won Best Performance in a Supporting Role for “The Normal Heart,” was asked that with the end of his “White Collar” USA Network TV series, would he be focusing on movies, he commented, “I don’t discriminate between mediums. I think like that’s gone. I feel like we live in a golden age of television where a lot of the writing I see on series—‘net, network and cable format and now on demand, I don’t know what you call it when it’s on Amazon and Netflix and all that, but it is on par with or better than the writing you read in a lot of film scripts. For me, it is about the story and the director and the writing and the character and whatever medium that takes me to, whether it is theater or film or TV, I am happy to be there.”
That comment was echoed by Kevin Spacey who won Best Performance by an Actor for Netflix’s “House of Cards.” In his backstage comments, he explained, “I think it is fantastic that companies like Amazon, Netflix, Hulu and others and I think that we are going to see in the next decade a lot more stepping forward, particularly companies that have made a gazillion dollars. If you want to be in the game, you have to compete with original content. I think we are going to see entertainment companies become portals for producers. I think that’s incredible. As we are seeing the more people that step up and say they want to compete and be in the game, the more actors, writers, directors are hired, more crews are hired, where they are going to film in the country, the tax incentives has a really positive outlook for people to come into their state. We had a great relationship with Maryland shooting ‘House of Cards’ there. I think it is fantastic. If we had something to do with a shifting of the paradigm, it has been brilliant to be a part of it. Netflix, they are incredibly brave. You know, they rolled the dice with us. We went out to a lot of the networks and everybody said, ‘We like your show. We think it is an interesting idea but we wanted a pilot.’ And Netflix is the only network that said, ‘How many do you want to do?’ And we said two seasons. We just now wrapped up our third and we intend to keep going.
Spacey later added, “I hope everyone has seen the first show of the first season, I could imagine the kind of notes we would have got from a company that didn’t give us complete artistic control. If we had been at another network, it is entirely possible, we would have heard, ‘Um…We are a little concerned that Kevin strangles a dog in the first five minutes of the show. We are afraid we are going to lose half our audience.’ Netflix, not for a second, in those first two episodes and in every episode since, has ever come to us with a concern. We have absolute freedom of expression, and it is a glorious thing.”
The 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards Winners
Best Motion Picture, Drama: "Boyhood"
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama: Julianne Moore ("Still Alice")
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama: Eddie Redmayne ("The Theory of Everything")
Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy: "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Best Actress In A Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy: Amy Adams ("Big Eyes")
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy: Michael Keaton ("Birdman")
Best Animated Feature Film: "How To Train Your Dragon 2"
Best Foreign Language Film: "Leviathan"
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture: Patricia Arquette ("Boyhood")
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture: J.K. Simmons ("Whiplash")
Best Director - Motion Picture: Richard Linklater ("Boyhood")
Best Screenplay - Motion Picture: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo ("Birdman")
Best Original Score - Motion Picture: Jóhann Jóhannsson ("The Theory Of Everything")
Best Original Song - Motion Picture: "Selma"
Best TV Series, Drama: "The Affair"
Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama: Ruth Wilson ("The Affair")
Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama: Kevin Spacey ("House of Cards")
Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy: "Transparent"
Best Actress in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy: Gina Rodriguez ("Jane The Virgin")
Best Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy: Jeffrey Tambor ("Transparent")
Best TV Movie or Mini-Series: "Fargo"
Best Actress in a Mini-Series or TV Movie: Maggie Gyllenhaal ("The Honorable Woman")
Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie: Billy Bob Thornton ("Fargo")
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie: Joanne Froggatt ("Downton Abbey")
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie: Matt Bomer ("The Normal Heart")
Next Article: Confessions/Observations of an Awards Season Skeptic, Part One: How I Was Compelled To Stop Worrying and Be Okay with the Golden Globes Previous Article: Golden Globe Predictions and Where “Selma” Stands in the Awards Race
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