“The Americans,” a twisty spy thriller, was sent off in style at the 76th Golden Globes ceremony on Sunday, capturing the best TV drama award over the likes of “Killing Eve” and “Pose.” The FX series about Cold War espionage wrapped its acclaimed run after six seasons and eight episodes.
Netflix got on the board early in the evening as Michael Douglas nabbed the best actor in a TV comedy award for “The Kominsky Method” and Richard Madden picked up a best actor in a TV drama prize for “Bodyguard.” The streaming leviathan has spent heavily on original content, shelling out some $13 billion in 2018 alone.
Christian Bale picked up a best actor in a comedy for his chameleonic performance as former vice president Dick Cheney in “Vice,” a role that required him to shave his head and pack on forty pounds. The actor thanked “Satan” for giving him the inspiration to play a master bureaucrat who pushed the United States to invade Iraq. In a free-wheeling speech Bale quipped that “Vice” director Adam McKay picked him to play Cheney because of his ability to be “absolutely charisma-free and reviled.”
Regina King earned a best supporting actress statue for her turn as a fiercely supportive mother in “If Beale Street Could Talk.” In an evening in which inclusion and representation were frequently brought up in speeches and on the red carpet, King vowed that fifty percent of the roles on the films and shows that she produces will go to women.
“I just challenge anyone out there — anyone out there who is in a position of power, not just in our industry, in all industries, I challenge you to challenge yourselves and stand with us in solidarity,” said King.
Mahershala Ali picked up a best supporting actor award for his turn as jazz musician Don Shirley in “Green Book.” He had been expected to face a major challenge from Sam Elliott for his work as a road manager in “A Star is Born,” but Elliott failed to even score a Globe nomination. “Green Book” also picked up a best screenplay statue, bolstering Oscar chances that had dimmed when the film failed to perform commercially.
The evening had its share of surprises. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” beat out the likes of “Isle of Dogs” and “Incredibles 2” to nab the award for best animated film. “Spider-Man” made history by focusing on Miles Morales, a biracial web-spinner. A number of surefire wins also came to pass, namely Lady Gaga’s best song victory for her infectious power ballad “Shallow.”
Hosts Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh wasted no time referencing the Oscars’ ongoing public relations debacle with Kevin Hart. The comic had originally been tapped to host the Academy Awards, but stepped down after his past homophobic remarks recirculated on social media. The Hart imbroglio rekindled after Ellen DeGeneres urged the actor to reconsider his decision during a lengthy interview on her talk show.
Oh joked that they were asked to host the Globes because, “We’re the only two people who haven’t gotten in trouble for saying something offensive.”
The pair also joked that at the end of the evening, “One lucky audience member will be picked to host the Oscars.”
On the film side, “A Star is Born” is hoping to position itself as the film to beat this awards season, but it has stiff competition from “If Beale Street Could Talk” and “BlacKkKlansman,” two searing looks at race in America, as well as the box office smashes “Black Panther” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” “Roma,” Alfonso Cuaron’s deeply personal look at his childhood in Mexico City, was ineligible for the top prize because it is a foreign language film.
The Globes separates dramas from musicals and comedies. In that category, “Vice,” the Dick Cheney biopic that boasts a leading six nominations, looks formidable. It will face off against “Green Book,” the story of an unlikely friendship that blossoms on a tour of the segregated South; “The Favourite,” an off-beat comedy set in the court of Queen Anne; “Mary Poppins Returns,” the follow-up to the family film classic; and “Crazy Rich Asians,” a romantic comedy phenomenon that broke barriers in terms of representation.
Unlike the Oscars, the Globes honor the best in both film and television, allowing the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the eccentric band of journalists behind the awards show, to pack the ballroom at the Beverly Hilton with A-listers from both the big and small screen.
On the TV front, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,” the FX mini-series about serial killer Andrew Cunanan, dominated with a leading four nominations. HBO’s Southern Gothic mini-series “Sharp Objects” and it darkly comic look at a killer with acting ambitions “Barry,” had three nods, as did the final season of “The Americans.” Streaming giants Amazon and Netflix are looking like major contenders. Amazon’s “A Very English Scandal,” “Homecoming,” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” are all competing for three nominations, as is Netflix’s Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin comedy “The Kominsky Method.”
The Globes have been tastemakers on the small screen, rewarding shows such as “The Affair,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” with their highest honors in their inaugural seasons.
In addition to hosting, Oh picked up a best actress in a TV drama statue for her role as an obsessive MI-6 agent in “Killing Eve.” When it came to emceeing, she and Samberg were kinder and gentler than such predecessors as Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and, most infamously, Ricky Gervais, all of whom used their stints to vivisect Hollywood pretension. Their most vicious zingers were jokes about how the octogenarian and septugenarian stars of “The Kominsky Method” needed to load up on antacid to get through dinner. Instead, they relied on moments of real emotion.
Oh, the daughter of Korean immigrants, teared up towards the end of the opening monologue, revealing that she took the gig because she wanted “to look out into this audience and witness this moment of change. And I’m not fooling myself…Next year could be different. It probably will be. But right now, this moment is real.”
Nominated films such as “Black Panther” and “Crazy Rich Asians” have hit theaters as the media business is under pressure to become more inclusive and to back more projects featuring women and people of color. There’s a lot of ground to make up. Black directors made strides, comprising fourteen percent of the filmmakers behind the top 100-grossing movies last year a 270% increase over 2017. However, only four of the 100 most successful movies were helmed by female directors.
Last year’s Globes unfolded in the wake of a series of sexual harassment scandals in Hollywood — a months-long reckoning ignited by the implosion of indie mogul Harvey Weinstein. In response, attendees took to the red carpet dressed in black. They also took activists and social justice advocates. This year was more muted. Attendees sported #TimesUp bracelets and ribbons, but sequined and brightly colored gowns returned to carpet in force.
Viewers don’t just tune into the Globes telecast to watch screen legends thank their loved ones and agents. Because booze is copious there’s a strong chance that audiences at home will see some stars feeling no pain or stumbling over their teleprompter banter while in their cups. The gaffes started even before the champagne flowed. “This Is Us” star Chrissy Metz was caught on a hot mic calling “Glow’s” Allison Brie a “b—-.” Once the broadcast kicked off, Patricia Arquette (“Escape at Dannemora”) was bleeped by censors after she dropped an f-bomb while thanking the Showtime series’ cast and crew.
The Globes are second only to the Oscars in terms of film awards prominence. But the shows deviate not just in terms of their alcohol consumption, but also in the films they honor. Last year, the HFPA handed out the best drama prize to “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and the best comedy statue to “Lady Bird.” Neither film won best picture at the Academy Awards. Instead, Oscar voters awarded their top prize to “The Shape of Water.”
The Globes may be must-see TV, but the HFPA still struggles to be taken seriously. The group is comprised of fewer than 90 journalists and photographers who report on the entertainment industry for overseas outlets. The group has cracked down on what its members can accept in terms of gifts, but studios are still known to lavish the HFPA with catered lunches, parties, and access to movie stars. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the group behind the Oscars, boasts a much larger membership of over 8,000 people who work in the film business.
The HFPA has had to contend with two highly embarrassing recent scandals. In October, an error-filled profile of Drew Barrymore in EgyptAir’s in-flight magazine by former HFPA president Aida Takla-O’Reilly went viral. It was derided for dwelling on Barrymore’s personal life, claiming she was “unstable in her relationships.” Earlier this year, Takla-O’Reilly’s predecessor as HFPA chief, Philip Berk, was publicly accused of sexual harassment by Brendan Fraser. The actor said Berk groped him at a 2003 party. The HFPA’s internal investigation reportedly concluded that Berk had touched the actor inappropriately, but that he did so as a joke.
The group honored Jeff Bridges, the star of “The Big Lebowski” and “Crazy Heart,” with the Cecil B. DeMille award, its career achievement honor. For the first time, the HFPA is extending its career salute to the world of television. Carol Burnett, the legendary variety show star, will be the first recipient of the award, which is being named in her honor.
“I’m really gobsmacked by this,” said Burnett. “Does this mean I get to accept this every year?”
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