Success for Argo at Golden Globes
Hollywood insiders had a field day yesterday as the 70th Golden Globes turned into a feast of smart-mouthed humor aimed at two of their favorite subjects: politics and themselves.
The night's big prize, for best motion picture drama, went to Argo, a reality-based thriller about the rescue of American diplomats from Iran during its revolution.
But the prizes were just half the action, as the room was kept spinning by Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, hosts who pulled no punches.
"When it comes to torture, I trust a lady who spent three years married to James Cameron," Poehler quipped as the festivities began. She was referring to director Kathryn Bigelow, once married to Cameron, and the blazing controversy around the portrayal of torture in her film Zero Dark Thirty.
The crowd roared. In truth it was just the sort of crack that has been making this the show to watch if you want to know what those shiny actors and the less glamorous players around them are saying in the snippiest moments. With hosts who had worked together on Saturday Night Live and presenters like Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig and Jonah Hill, irreverence pervaded the atmosphere in the International Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
The Globes voters delivered a considerable snub when they bypassed Lincoln, an awards season favorite, in the best drama category, and the filmmaker behind it, Steven Spielberg, in the directing category.
Ben Affleck, who directed Argo, won that one, too, though only three days earlier he had been left off the list of Oscar-nominated directors, while Spielberg made the cut.
When Affleck won the directing prize late in the show, guests leapt from their seats, and gave him perhaps the warmest reception of any winner to that point. And in the banquet room, the buzz around Argo was loud - and reminiscent of the outpouring for Jeff Bridges, when a powerful reception at the Golden Globes in 2010 was a prelude to his winning the best actor Oscar for Crazy Heart.
Lincoln, a seeming awards-season front-runner, had still won nothing at that point, nor had Zero Dark Thirty, another top contender.
But Daniel Day-Lewis filled the first gap when he won, very much as expected, as best actor for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln. He soothed Spielberg with a tribute, calling him "a humble master, with a quicksilver imagination."
Jessica Chastain then covered the base for Zero Dark Thirty when she was named best actress in a drama, another expected award, as the show neared its end.
Chastain did not confront the controversy around the film, but chose instead to honor Bigelow, its director, as a champion of women. "You've done more for women in cinema than you take credit for," she said.
Ultimately, the press association remained true to form, giving something to almost every film among the major contenders, and a little extra to one or two. Hugh Jackman joined Anne Hathaway, for instance, in winning for their performances in Les Miserables, which was also named best picture in the musical or comedy category.
The cluster of prizes for Les Miserables left Silver Linings Playbook, which competed in the same categories, a bit short.
But Jennifer Lawrence made up for it a bit by winning best actress for her role in Silver Linings Playbook, delivering a zinger of an acceptance speech, including the evening's requisite snarky quip about Harvey Weinstein, saying,
"Harvey, thank you for killing whoever you had to kill to get me up here today."
Among the season's leading contenders, Life of Pi suffered one of the biggest rebuffs. It won only for its score, by Mychael Danna, though it had received the second-highest number of nominations, with 11, just behind Lincoln, in the Oscar race.
Left out completely were a slew of highly regarded indie films, including The Sessions, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Hitchcock, The Impossible, and Rust and Bone. In the animated feature category, Walt Disney won for its Pixar film, Brave. But the odds were in Disney's favor: Counting Frankenweenie and Wreck-It Ralph, it had three of the five animation nominees.
Comic schtick laced the evening, and mostly it worked. Fey and Poehler made themselves relatively scarce on the stage. Instead, they dove into the audience, where the camera caught them cuddling with George Clooney, or shuddering with mock anticipation of an award.
The Globes, bestowed by a group of 84 mostly freelance journalists, are often scrutinized for clues about which people and films will win at the still-to-come Academy Awards.
New York Times