Golden Globes 2022: Belfast wins best screenplay in discredited awards

Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog wins best drama, in a low-scoring night for the Irish

The winners of the 79th Golden Globes, presented in private by the controversy-stricken Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), have been revealed to the public via the body's Twitter feed.

Kenneth Branagh's Belfast, seen as slight ante-post favourite for best picture at the upcoming Oscars, failed to win best drama, losing out to Jane Campion's ecstatically reviewed neo-western The Power of the Dog.

Campion, among the most celebrated filmmakers of her era, also took best director, and Kodi Smit-McPhee, brilliant as a sensitive, yet underestimated young man, in her searing film won best supporting actor. The Power of the Dog and Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story topped the film Globes charts with three wins each.

Branagh did beat out competition from the likes of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza and Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up to take home the Globe for best screenplay. Much inspired by the director’s childhood, Belfast follows a young boy as his parents come to a life-changing conclusion during the opening shots of the Troubles.

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If the team were still paying attention to the Globes in this weird year they will have been disappointed by just one win. But Belfast, high in the bookies’ reckoning since winning the People’s Choice award at the Toronto Film Festival in September, remains competitive in the Oscar race. Should it win best picture it will be the first Irish film to take the most prestigious awards in cinema.

The Irish actor Ruth Negga, nominated in the best supporting actress category for Passing, and Caitríona Balfe, up for playing the young protagonist's mother in Belfast, lost to the fast-rising Ariana DeBose for her turn as Anita in West Side Story. Ms DeBose now looks like a robust favourite for the big awards. The musical was famously a disappointment at the box office, but was a hit with critics and much loved by the HFPA. Spielberg's dazzling entertainment also won best musical or comedy and, for the zippy Rachel Zegler, best actress in a musical or comedy.

With no drunken speeches or cheesy songs to savour, awards fans were stuck with the Golden Globes’ often eccentric Twitter copy. “If laughter is the best medicine then @WestSideMovie is the cure for what ails you” the tweet announcing that film’s triumph began. Nobody seemed to have told them the film, no comedy, ends in tragedy.

Will Smith, among the biggest stars of his generation, took best actor in a drama for playing the eccentric Richard Williams, father to tennis geniuses Venus and Serena, in the moving King Richard. In an ordinary year he would have charmed the room. But there were no stars and thus no ovations to report from the intimate event.

Among the surprises – one unlikely to be repeated at the Oscars – Nicole Kidman won best actress in a drama for playing Lucille Ball in Aaron Sorkin's tepidly received Being the Ricardos. Kristen Stewart remains presumed favourite in the big race for her turn as Princess Diana in Spencer.

Andrew Garfield cemented his position as a star of the moment by taking best actor in a musical or comedy for his turn as a struggling composer in the Netflix musical Tick, Tick … Boom! He could hardly have worked harder in the film.

Awards watchers will be intrigued by the continuing rise of Ryusuke Hamaguchi's Drive My Car. The Haruki Murakami adaptation has been cleaning up with critics groups – a rare best picture double-up from the New York Film Critics Circle and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association – and passed out acclaimed films by the likes of Pedro Almodóvar and Asghar Farhadi to win the Globe for best non-English language film.

In the television section, Succession, one of era's most discussed phenomenon, scored strongly, taking the award for best drama and securing acting prizes for Jeremy Strong and Sarah Snook.

Following NBC's decision to suspend their usual broadcast of the ceremony, the HFPA elected to go ahead with a closed-doors event at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. The network had joined other entertainment organisations including Netflix, Amazon and WarnerMedia in boycotting the awards over the HFPA's perceived slowness to correct a lack of diversity among members.

Close to a year ago, shortly before the 2021 show, the Los Angeles Times revealed that there was not a single black person among the HFPA's voting body. Tom Cruise subsequently returned his three Globes in protest. Last October, the HFPA announced the appointment of 21 new members drawn from a diverse pool. Sunday night's presentation apparently focused on the HFPA's philanthropic activities.

"The #GoldenGlobes are a bridge to a world audience of many colors, many faiths, and many cultures, all united with the same passion – a love of movies," Helen Hoehne, president of the HFPA, explained in a carefully worded opening Tweet.

This year's Globes were originally set to coincide with the competing Critics' Choice Awards at the Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel, but that show has been delayed following the surge of the Omicron Covid variant. As things have worked out, with other awards ceremonies cancelling or going digital, the Globes' 2022 rearrangements proved less conspicuously embarrassing than the HFPA might earlier have feared.

It will be interesting to see how much attention the studios pay to their wins. There was, most unusually, negligible acknowledgement of the Globes nominations last month. With virtually no crossover between the HFPA and voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Globes have always been indifferent predictors of the considerably more prestigious Academy Awards. Attention could shift to competing bodies such as the Screen Actors Guild which announces its nominations on Wednesday.

There was some surprise when the Oscars elected to schedule their ceremony as late as March 27th. That now seems a wise choice. Kenneth Branagh and his team can still reasonably expect to score highly when the nominations are announced on February 8th.

THE GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS 2022 WINNERS

MOTION PICTURES

Best motion picture – drama: The Power of the Dog

Best performance by an actress in a motion picture – drama: Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

Best performance by an actor in a motion picture – drama: Will Smith, King Richard

Best motion picture – musical or comedy: West Side Story

Best performance by an actress in a motion picture – musical or comedy: Rachel Zegler, West Side Story

Best performance by an actor in a motion picture – musical or comedy: Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick … Boom!

Best motion picture – animated: Encanto

Best motion picture – non-English language (formerly foreign language): Drive My Car (Japan)

Best performance by an actress in a supporting role in any motion picture: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Best performance by an actor in a supporting role in any motion picture: Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Best director – motion picture: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Best screenplay – motion picture: Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

Best original score – motion picture: Hans Zimmer, Dune

Best original song – motion picture: "No Time to Die" – No Time to Die. Music by: Billie Eilish, Finneas O'Connell. Lyrics by: Billie Eilish, Finneas O'Connell

TELEVISION

Best television series – drama: Succession

Best performance by an actress in a television series – drama: MJ Rodriguez, Pose

Best performance by an actor in a television series – drama: Jeremy Strong, Succession

Best television series – musical or comedy: Hacks

Best performance by an actress in a television series – musical or comedy: Jean Smart, Hacks

Best performance by an actor in a television series – musical or comedy: Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso

Best television limited series, anthology series or motion picture made for television: The Underground Railroad

Best performance by an actress in a limited series, anthology series, or a motion picture made for television: Kate Winslet, Mare of Easttown

Best performance by an actor in a limited series, anthology series, or a motion picture made for television: Michael Keaton, Dopesick

Best performance by an actress in a supporting role on television: Sarah Snook, Succession

Best performance by an actor in a supporting role on television: O Yeong-Su, Squid Game