Golden Globes: Surprises at Non-Ceremony

The smaller, shorter, subdueder 2008 Golden Globes “news show” – a result of the ongoing WGA strike, now entering its tenth week – ended not too long ago. There was no red carpet, no dress parade, no dumb questions from journalists, no mind-numbing speeches, no godawful jokes, no poorly staged musical numbers, no toilet paper stuck on anyone's shoe.

Many have lamented this year's loss of glamour, glitz, and tasteless jokes. But personally, I don't think that's a bad thing. Much to the contrary. I find the vast majority of those glitzy and glamorous – and tasteless and phony – award shows all but unwatchable, and the Golden Globes ceremony is one of the tackiest around. This year, I actually managed to watch a full 20 minutes of the one-hour Globe newscast – probably a historical record – before I got bored and began looking for the winners online.

Now, having said all that I wonder how the Golden Globe audience would have reacted when Julian Schnabel was named the winner of the best director award for the French-language triumph-of-the-human-spirit drama The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, when everyone predicted Joel and Ethan Coen as the surefire winners for No Country for Old Men. (The Coen brothers were given a consolation prize, the best screenplay Globe.)

Or their reaction when Atonement, a romantic drama that has received precious little love from U.S. film critics' groups and no love whatsoever from the Screen Actors Guild, was voted the best film of the year in place of favorites No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood. Indeed, despite its seven nominations – more than any other film this year – Atonement was hardly a front-runner; it ended up winning only one other Globe, for Dario Marianelli's score.

Or their reaction when Marion Cotillard, not Ellen Page, was named best actress in a comedy or musical for her performance as Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose (which happens to be neither a comedy nor a musical). Like Schnabel's, Cotillard's victory was particularly surprising because even though the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has nominated foreign productions in regular categories every now and then, those films – and their talent – hardly ever win. After all, the HFPA awards are geared to the American film industry. (Non-English-language films, for instance, are ineligible for the best film drama/comedy or musical categories.)

Among this year's other surprises were the HFPA's choice of Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street as best comedy or musical – over Jason Reitman's more popular and better received Juno – and, to a lesser extent, the choice of best supporting actress Cate Blanchett, as one of the many Bob Dylan incarnations in I'm Not There, instead of Amy Ryan's rotten mom in Gone Baby Gone. Ryan, a two-time Tony nominee, has been the favorite among U.S. critics' groups.

Among the predictable winners were Julie Christie as best actress in a drama for her performance as a woman suffering from Alzheimer's disease in Sarah Polley's Away from Her (right, with Gordon Pinsent); Daniel Day-Lewis as best actor in a drama for his star turn as a greedy oil baron in Paul Thomas Anderson's widely praised There Will Be Blood; and Johnny Depp as best actor in a comedy or musical for his singing serial-killing barber inSweeney Todd. (Depp was the only American actor to win in the feature-film categories.)

Also, Brad Bird's Ratatouille, the story of a French rat with gourmet inclinations, as best animated film; and best supporting actor Javier Bardem for his mad killer in No Country for Old Men – as per newscast co-presenter Billy Bush (of Access Hollywood), one of the greatest screen villains ever, “in a category with Darth Vader.” (That remark came out quite spontaneously and Bush meant it seriously, which made it funnier than just about any well-rehearsed awards ceremony joke.)

In the television section of the Globes, film personalities could be found just about everywhere: five-time Academy Award nominee Glenn Close was chosen best actress in a television series - drama for Damages; two-time Academy Award nominee Samantha Morton was the best supporting actress for Longford; and Academy Award winner Jim Broadbent and Academy Award nominee Queen Latifah were the best actor and best actress in a mini-series or TV movie for, respectively, Longford and Life Support.

Julie Christie's win was her first. She had been nominated twice before, in 1965 for Darling (she won the Oscar but lost the Globe to Samantha Eggar for The Collector) and in 1975 for Shampoo (she lost to Ann-Margret for Tommy).

Dillion Freasier, Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood
Dillion Freasier, Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood

Daniel Day-Lewis' win was also his first. He had four previous nominations: in 1989 for My Left Foot (he won the Oscar but lost the Globe to Tom Cruise in Born on the Fourth of July), in 1993 for In the Name of the Father (he lost to Tom Hanks in Philadelphia), in 1997 for The Boxer (he lost to Peter Fonda in Ulee's Gold), and in 2002 for Gangs of New York (he lost to Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt).

Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter in Sweeney Todd

Johnny Depp (above, with Helena Bonham Carter) was another veteran Golden Globe nominee who won his first award this year, after losing out the statuette seven times – including in each of the last four years.

And before I wrap this up… (No, I'm not going to come up with any tired “I'm Not There-Actors Were Not There” jokes.)

Who cares about the Golden Globes?

Now, that's a stupid question. Ask people who've ever won or been nominated for one. Ask film studios and distributors, who plaster their “For Your Consideration” Oscar ads with “nominated for XYZ Golden Globes” notices. Ask film exhibitors, who see a box office bump – sometimes big, sometimes not so big but a bump nevertheless – following the awards announcements. And ask Academy members who watched their, say, Atonement or Juno or Sweeney Todd screeners because of those films' multiple Golden Globe nominations.

But are the Golden Globes a barometer of quality?

Now, that's another stupid question. What film award-giving entity is a “barometer of quality”? Critics' groups? The Academy and its Spanish, French, Mexican, etc. cousins? Any of the myriad juries of the world's myriad film festivals?

Your chances of watching a quality – whatever you think embodies “quality” – Golden Globe winner are most likely no worse than your chances of watching a quality Oscar or Palme d'Or or New York Film Critics Circle award winner. Scary, perhaps, but true.

Golden Globe photo: © NBC

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association's 2008 Golden Globe nominations: December 13, 2007

2008 Golden Globe Award winners: January 13, 2008


Best Motion Picture Drama
American Gangster, Imagine Entertainment/Scott Free Productions; Universal Pictures
* Atonement, Working Title Productions; Focus Features
Eastern Promises, Kudos Pictures – UK Serendipity Point Films – Canada A UK/Canada Co-Production; Focus Features
The Great Debaters, Harpo Films; The Weinstein Company/MGM
Michael Clayton, Clayton Productions LLC; Warner Bros. Pictures
No Country for Old Men, A Scott Rudin/Mike Zoss Production; Miramax/Paramount Vantage
There Will Be Blood, A Joanne Sellar/Ghoulardi Film Company Production; Paramount Vantage and Miramax Films

Best Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Across The Universe, Revolution Studios International; Sony Pictures Releasing
Charlie Wilson's War, Universal Pictures/Relativity Media/Participant Productions/Playtone; Universal Pictures
Hairspray, Zadan/Meron Productions / New Line Cinema in association with Ingenious Film Partners; New Line Cinema
Juno, Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production; Fox Searchlight Pictures
* Sweeney Todd, Parkes/MacDonald and Zanuck Company; DreamWorks/Paramount Distribution / Warner Bros. Pictures

Best Foreign Language Film
4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Romania), Mobra Films; IFC First Take
* The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (France, United States), A Kennedy/Marshall Company and Jon Kilik Production; Miramax Films
The Kite Runner (United States), DreamWorks Pictures Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Paramount Classics Participant Productions Present a Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Parkes/Macdonald Production Distributed by Paramount Classics
Lust, Caution (Taiwan), Haishang Films; Focus Features
Persepolis (France), 247 Films; Sony Pictures Classics

Best Animated Feature Film
Bee Movie, DreamWorks Animation; DreamWorks Animation
* Ratatouille, Pixar; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
The Simpsons Movie, Gracie Films; Twentieth Century Fox

Best Director Motion Picture
Tim Burton – Sweeney Todd
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen – No Country for Old Men
* Julian Schnabel – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Ridley ScottAmerican Gangster
Joe Wright – Atonement

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture Drama
Cate Blanchett – Elizabeth: The Golden Age
* Julie Christie – Away from Her
Jodie FosterThe Brave One
Angelina JolieA Mighty Heart
Keira KnightleyAtonement

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture Drama
George Clooney – Michael Clayton
* Daniel Day-Lewis – There Will Be Blood
James McAvoyAtonement
Viggo MortensenEastern Promises
Denzel Washington – American Gangster

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Amy AdamsEnchanted
Nikki Blonsky – Hairspray
Helena Bonham Carter – Sweeney Todd
* Marion Cotillard – La Vie en Rose
Ellen Page – Juno

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
* Johnny Depp – Sweeney Todd
Ryan Gosling – Lars and the Real Girl
Tom Hanks – Charlie Wilson's War
Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Savages
John C. Reilly – Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
* Cate Blanchett – I'm Not There
Julia Roberts – Charlie Wilson's War
Saoirse RonanAtonement
Amy Ryan – Gone Baby Gone
Tilda Swinton – Michael Clayton

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Casey Affleck – The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
* Javier Bardem – No Country for Old Men
Philip Seymour Hoffman – Charlie Wilson's War
John TravoltaHairspray
Tom Wilkinson – Michael Clayton

Best Screenplay Motion Picture
Atonement, Christopher Hampton
Charlie Wilson's War, Aaron Sorkin
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Ronald Harwood
Juno, Diablo Cody
* No Country for Old Men, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Best Original Score Motion Picture
Grace Is Gone, Clint Eastwood
The Kite Runner, Alberto Iglesias
* Atonement, Dario Marianelli
Eastern Promises, Howard Shore
Into the Wild, Eddie Vedder, Michael Vedder, Kaki Vedder

Best Original Song Motion Picture
“Despedida”– Love in the Time of Cholera, Music By: Shakira and Antonio Pinto, Lyrics By: Shakira
“Grace Is Gone”– Grace Is Gone, Music By: Clint Eastwood, Lyrics By: Carole Bayer Sager
* “Guaranteed”– Into the Wild, Music & Lyrics By: Eddie Vedder
“That's How You Know”– Enchanted, Music By: Alan Menken, Lyrics By: Stephen Schwartz
“Walk Hard”– Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Music & Lyrics By: Judd Apatow, Kasdan, John C. Reilly and Marshall Crenshaw

Cecil B. DeMille Award: Steven Spielberg will receive his award in 2009.

Jon Hamm in Mad Men


Best Television Series - Drama
Big Love (HBO), Anima Sola and Playtone Productions in association with HBO Entertainment
Damages (FX NETWORK), FX Productions and Sony Pictures Television
Grey's Anatomy (ABC), ABC Studios
House (FOX), Heel and Toe Films, Shore Z Productions and Bad Hat Harry Productions in association with Universal Media Studios
* Mad Men (AMC), Lionsgate Television
The Tudors (SHOWTIME), Showtime/Peace Arch Entertainment/Working Title/Reveille Productions Limited/An Ireland-Canada Co-Production

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama
Patricia Arquette – Medium (NBC)
* Glenn Close – Damages (FX NETWORK)
Minnie Driver – The Riches
Edie Falco – The Sopranos (HBO)
Sally FieldBrothers & Sisters (ABC)
Holly HunterSaving Grace
Kyra SedgwickThe Closer (TNT)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama
Michael C. HallDexter (SHOWTIME)
* Jon Hamm – Mad Men (AMC)
Hugh Laurie – House (FOX)
Bill Paxton – Big Love (HBO)
Jonathan Rhys MeyersThe Tudors (SHOWTIME)

Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy
30 Rock (NBC), Universal Media Studios in association with Broadway Video and Little Stranger Inc.
Californication (SHOWTIME), Showtime Presents in association with Aggressive Mediocrity, and Then…, Twilight Time Films
Entourage (HBO), Leverage and Closest to the Hole Productions in association with HBO Entertainment
* Extras (HBO), BBC and HBO Entertainment
Pushing Daisies (ABC), Living Dead Guy Productions, The Jinks/Cohen Company in association with Warner Bros. Television

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy
Christina ApplegateSamantha Who?
America Ferrera – Ugly Betty (ABC)
* Tina Fey30 Rock (NBC)
Anna FrielPushing Daisies (ABC)
Mary-Louise Parker – Weeds (SHOWTIME)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy
Alec Baldwin – 30 Rock (NBC)
Steve Carell – The Office (NBC)
* David DuchovnyCalifornication (SHOWTIME)
Ricky Gervais – Extras (HBO)
Lee Pace – Pushing Daisies (ABC)

Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (HBO), A Wolf Films/Traveler's Rest Production in association with HBO Films
The Company (TNT), Sony Pictures Television
Five Days (HBO), HBO Films in association with BBC Films
* Longford (HBO), A Granada Production in association with Channel 4 and HBO Films
The State Within (BBC AMERICA), BBC America, BBC

Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Bryce Dallas HowardAs You Like It
* Queen Latifah – Life Support
Debra Messing – The Starter Wife
Sissy SpacekPictures of Hollis Woods
Ruth Wilson – Jane Eyre

Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Adam Beach – Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (HBO)
Ernest BorgnineA Grandpa for Christmas
* Jim Broadbent – Longford (HBO)
Jason Isaacs – The State Within (BBC AMERICA)
James Nesbitt – Jekyll

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Rose ByrneDamages (FX NETWORK)
Rachel Griffiths – Brothers & Sisters (ABC)
Katherine HeiglGrey's Anatomy (ABC)
* Samantha Morton – Longford (HBO)
Anna PaquinBury My Heart at Wounded Knee (HBO)
Jaime Pressly – My Name Is Earl (NBC)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Ted DansonDamages (FX NETWORK)
Kevin Dillon – Entourage(HBO)
* Jeremy Piven – Entourage (HBO)
Andy SerkisLongford (HBO)
William Shatner – Boston Legal
Donald Sutherland – Dirty Sexy Money (ABC)


Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Golden Globes website.

Golden Globes: Surprises at Non-Ceremony © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
Text NOT to be reproduced without prior written consent.

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