Golden Globes: Brie Larson, Leonardo DiCaprio win big

Sylvester Stallone takes best supporting actor for ‘Creed’ in Los Angeles ceremony

Revenge drama 'The Revenant' wins the top dramatic movie prize at the Golden Globes. Video: Reuters/The Hollywood Foreign Press Association

 

As expected, Brie Larson, star of Lenny Abrahamson’s Room, took the Golden Globe for best drama actress in Los Angeles on Sunday night. An Irish-Canadian co-production, adapted from a novel by Emma Donoghue, Room managed just the one win, but this remains a substantial achievement for the domestic industry.

Room was produced by Dublin-based Element Pictures in co-operation with the Irish Film Board. At the podium, the American actor thanked Donoghue for trusting Abrahamson with her work and also mentioned the film’s producer Ed Guiney. “I’ll write you a thank you note,” she added for those she may have forgotten.

The Irish actor Saoirse Ronan, nominated for John Crowley’s Brooklyn, was among the other nominees in Larson’s category. The two are expected to be in the race for best actress when the Oscar nominations are announced on Thursday. Ronan was a vision in white Yves Saint Laurent. Larson was suitably golden in Calvin Klein.

Leonardo DiCaprio received huge applause as he took the best drama actor prize for Alejandro González Iñárritu’s rugged survival tale The Revenant. The actor had been a strong favourite, but there were some surprises among the more prestigious prizes. Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight, a study of the Boston Globe’s investigations into clerical sexual abuse, had been seen as the presumptive favourite for best drama picture, but the film ended up winning no prizes at all. To most pundits’ mild astonishment, Iñárritu’s film won best drama picture and best director. Iñárritu, whose Birdman took the best picture Oscar last year, now looks to be in with a chance of accomplishing the rare feat of back-to-back victories at the awards that matter most.

Always a well lubricated affair, the ceremony was punctuated by much laughter at the unlikely positioning of Ridley Scott’s The Martian within the best comedy or musical category. Scott himself expressed amusement at the categorisation when the science fiction film triumphed over more obvious comedies such as Spy and Trainwreck. Matt Damon, who plays a stranded astronaut in Scott’s film, also got in a crack when he accepted the prize for best actor in a comedy or musical.

Sylvester Stallone

Among the more emotional moments of the night was the awarding of best supporting actor to Sylvester Stallone for his performance as Rocky Balboa in the unexpectedly well-received Creed. Stallone made sure to thank the “imaginary friend” who first brought him fame nearly 40 year ago.

Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs, a commercial flop, also did better than expected with Kate Winslet taking best supporting actor and Aaron Sorkin winning best screenplay (another award that had been pencilled in for Spotlight). Kerryman Michael Fassbender, nominated in the lead role, would surely have already resigned himself to defeat by DiCaprio.

The Oscars’ wilder, less disciplined cousin – organised by 90 odd members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) – welcomed back the irreverent Ricky Gervais as host and the English comic proved every bit as incorrigible as expected. He began by referring to the guests as “pill-popping sexual deviants” and then took the material even further downmarket. Few awards ceremonies will have featured a sequence quite so uncomfortable as his interactions with the controversial Mel Gibson. Ushered on after Gervais made explicit reference to his notorious battles with booze and run-ins with the law, the Australian actor commentated: “I love seeing Ricky once every three years. It reminds me to get a colonoscopy.” He wasn’t exactly smiling as he said it.

Introducing the Latino actors Eva Longoria and America Ferrera, Gervais commented: “[they] aren’t just two beautiful, talented actresses — they’re also two people your future President, Donald Trump, can’t wait to deport.” The HFPA may pretend to be uncomfortable at such edgy humour, but it is such free-wheeling irreverence – underscored by the clinking of glasses and chatter from the bar – that has, in recent years, set the Globes apart from the more staid Oscars.

There were also some surprises in the television categories. The largely unheralded Mozart in the Jungle, released on Amazon, powered past the acclaimed Transparent, Orange is the New Black and Veep to take best comedy series. Gael Garcia Bernal, the show’s star, beat Transparent’s supposedly unbeatable Jeffrey Tambor to best comedy actor. Lady Gaga, wearing a sensible dress rather than a hedge or a cement mixer, was an equally unexpected victor in the best actress (limited series or TV movie) for American Horror Story.

It is easy to exaggerate the Globes’ reliability as Oscar prognosticators, but Spotlight’s star is on the wane and The Revenant is on the rise. Room and Brooklyn still seem likely to secure best picture nominations. It’s a marathon not a sprint.