Opinion: Hollywood Foreign Press failed to make statement at The Golden Globes
Andy Sandberg and Sandra Oh take the stage as hosts for the 76th annual Golden Globes. Courtesy of HFPA/NBC
Often seen as the prelude to the big year-end award push, the 76th annual Golden Globes ceremony took place in Beverly Hills on Sunday night, and with it brought forth a realization Hollywood has known since its inauguration.
The Golden Globes don’t matter.
For the last three or four years, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) - which is a circuit made up of 99 international journalists who speak English as a second language - have tried to make itself standout with its unorthodox method of awarding cinema and television. If the categories don’t confuse you (Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama vs Best Actor - Motion Picture Comedy -- yet they just have one supporting actor/actress category?) - than their selections would raise a few eyebrows (lest not forget this is the same group who thought the Angelina Jolie/Johnny Depp stinker “The Tourist” (20% on Rotten Tomatoes) was worthy of a Best Picture nomination).
But what baffles me the most is how the first major award show post the respective Me-Too and #TimesUp movements decided to award Best Picture to a film whose director has been accused of child molestation and was subsequently fired by the studio for shady reasons (some say its because he had a clash with his lead actor, he says it was due to family illness). Whichever the case, the Freddie Mercury/Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” walked away with the top prize: Best Picture Drama, all but guaranteeing its status as an Oscar frontrunner (“Green Book” - a slightly better, but still formulaic weepie took home Best Picture - Comedy).
Aside from “Rhapsody’s” tepid reviews (62% as of this writing on Rotten Tomatoes) and the controversy surrounding director Bryan Singer (nor the producer or Rami Malek - who took home the top acting prize for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury - mentioned Singer once) begging the question: Did the film direct itself?
I have no qualms that Malek took home the acting prize over the favored Bradley Cooper for “A Star Is Born” because Malek took a mediocre film and somehow made it bearable (If you remember, I gave the film a C and wasn’t too impressed with Malek being the sole bright spot). My qualms were that the HFPA decided to award a soapy, by the books, biopic in favor of historic films like “Black Panther” or “Crazy Rich Asians,” both landmarks in their respective genres. Not only did “Panther” become the third highest grossing film of all time and make a cultural statement as it was the first predominantly African-American led superhero film, it’s the first superhero film to be nominated for the top honor period. And “Asians” was the first film to feature an all Asian-cast since 1993’s “The Joy Luck Club.” Each film walked away empty handed and were comercially and critically acclaimed.
The Golden Globes had a chance to be taken seriously for once and award films more deserving than the clunky “Bohemian Rhapsody” and good but not great “Green Book” and they didn’t. Therefore, how are we supposed to take this batch of award pundits seriously? The simple answer is: we don’t. The Globes are merely a stepping stone that provides an extra PR boost to a films status. (Though, to its credit, “Rhapsody” is the highest grossing musical biopic of all time, and was a monster hit. Audiences are clearly embracing the picture).
Granted, The Globes - as senseless as they are - wasn’t a total waste. The HFPA dutifully awarded “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” the accolade of Best Animated Feature (which is shocking considering it's up against the Pixar juggernaut “The Incredibles 2”). And the awards further reinforced its going to be a Glenn Close, (“The Wife”) Lady Gaga, (“A Star Is Born”) and Olivia Coleman (“The Favourite”) battle royale for Best Actress this season (with Close taking a steep lead with her Globe win Sunday night). Whilst other sure things: Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk”), Mahershala Ali (“Green Book”), and Christian Bale (“Vice”) solidified their status as the actors to beat. And we can’t leave out Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” in which the director took home two prizes for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Director (two awards I suspect will be repeated at The Oscars).
It’s a long road till we reach the granddaddy of them all at the Dolby Theatre (which, as of this writing, is still seeking out a host). But as history has showed, the HFPA and Academy Award voting body don’t overlap, and so the outcomes (as is the case with the last six years) has differed on their Best Picture winner. With voting starting this week for current Academy Award members, and film studios vamping up their campaigns trying to get in front of as many industry eyeballs as humanly possible, it might start to pave the way for a clear Best Picture frontrunner, but as of this moment it’s a bit foggy.
I’d still peg the Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga led “A Star Is Born” to snag Oscar gold come March, but if last night's award show is any indication, everything is still on the table. Or maybe the HFPA is just out of step with everyone else?
Here are the list of winners:
Best Motion Picture - Drama "Black Panther" "BlackKklansman" "Bohemian Rhapsody" *WINNER "If Beale Street Could Talk" "A Star Is Born"
Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy "Crazy Rich Asians" "The Favourite" "Green Book" *WINNER "Mary Poppins Returns" "Vice"
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama Glenn Close ("The Wife") *WINNER Lady Gaga ("A Star Is Born") Nicole Kidman ("Destroyer") Melissa McCarthy ("Can You Ever Forgive Me?") Rosamund Pike ("A Private War")
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama Bradley Cooper ("A Star Is Born") Willem Dafoe ("At Eternity's Gate") Lucas Hedges ("Boy Erased") Rami Malek ("Bohemian Rhapsody") *WINNER John David Washington ("BlackKklansman")
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy Emily Blunt ("Mary Poppins Returns") Olivia Colman ("The Favourite") *WINNER Elsie Fisher ("Eighth Grade") Charlize Theron ("Tully") Constance Wu ("Crazy Rich Asians")
Best Director Bradley Cooper ("A Star Is Born") Alfonso Cuaron ("Roma") *WINNER Peter Farrelly ("Green Book") Spike Lee ("BlackKklansman") Adam McKay ("Vice")
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy Christian Bale ("Vice") *WINNER Lin-Manuel Miranda ("Mary Poppins Returns") Vigo Mortensen ("Green Book") Robert Redford ("The Old Man and the Gun") John C. Reilly ("Stan and Ollie")
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Amy Adams ("Vice") Claire Foy ("First Man") Regina King ("If Beale Street Could Talk") *WINNER Emma Stone ("The Favourite") Rachel Weisz ("The Favourite")
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Mahershala Ali ("Green Book") *WINNER Timothee Chalamet ("Beautiful Boy") Adam Driver ("BlackKklansman") Richard E. Grant ("Can You Ever Forgive Me?") Sam Rockwell ("Vice")
Best Original Score in a Motion Picture Marco Beltrami ("A Quiet Place") Alexandre Desplat ("Isle of Dogs") Ludwig Göransson ("Black Panther") Justin Hurwitz ("First Man") *WINNER Marc Shaiman ("Mary Poppins Returns")
Best Original Song in a Motion Picture "All the Stars" ("Black Panther") "Girl in the Movies" ("Dumplin'") "Requiem for a Private War" ("A Private War") "Revelation" ("Boy Erased") "Shallow" ("A Star Is Born") *WINNER
Best Screenplay in a Motion Picture Barry Jenkins ("If Beale Street Could Talk") Adam McKay ("Vice") Alfonso Cuaron ("Roma") Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara ("The Favourite") Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie ("Green Book") *WINNER
Best Motion Picture - Foreign Language "Capernaum" "Girl" "Never Look Away" "Roma" *WINNER "Shoplifters"
Best Animated Film "Incredibles 2" "Isle of Dogs" "Mirai" "Ralph Breaks the Internet" "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" *WINNER
Best TV series - Drama "The Americans" *WINNER "Bodyguard" "Homecoming" "Killing Eve" "Pose"
Best performance by Actress in a TV series - Drama Caitriona Balfe ("Outlander") Elisabeth Moss ("The Handmaid's Tale") Sandra Oh ("Killing Eve") *WINNER Julia Roberts ("Homecoming") Keri Russell ("The Americans")
Best performance by an Actor in a TV Series - Drama Jason Bateman ("Ozark") Stephan James ("Homecoming") Richard Madden ("Bodyguard") *WINNER Billy Porter ("Pose") Matthew Rhys ("The Americans")
Best TV series - Musical or Comedy "Barry" "The Good Place" "Kidding" "The Kominsky Method" *WINNER "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"
Best Performance by an Actor in a TV series - Musical or Comedy
Sasha Baron Cohen ("Who Is America?") Jim Carrey ("Kidding") Michael Douglas ("The Kominsky Method") *WINNER Donald Glover ("Atlanta") Bill Hader ("Barry")
Best Performance by an Actress in a TV series - Musical or Comedy Kristen Bell ("The Good Place") Candice Bergen ("Murphy Brown") Alison Brie ("GLOW") Rachel Brosnahan ("The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel") *WINNER Debra Messing ("Will & Grace")
Best Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
"The Alienist" "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story" *WINNER "Dirty John" "Escape at Dannemora" "Sharp Objects" "A Very English Scandal"
Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Antonio Banderas ("Genius: Picasso") Daniel Bruhl ("The Alienist") Darren Criss ("The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story") *WINNER Benedict Cumberbatch ("Patrick Melrose") Hugh Grant ("A Very English Scandal")
Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Amy Adams ("Sharp Objects") Patricia Arquette ("Escape at Dannemora") *WINNER Connie Britton ("Dirty John") Laura Dern ("The Tale") Regina King ("Seven Seconds")
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Alan Arkin ("The Kominsky Method") Kieran Culkin ("Succession Edgar Ramirez, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story") Ben Whishaw ("A Very English Scandal") *WINNER Henry Winkler ("Barry")
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Alex Borstein ("The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel') Patricia Clarkson ("Sharp Objects") *WINNER Penélope Cruz ("The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story") Thandie Newton ("Westworld") Yvonne Strahovski ("The Handmaid's Tale")