The Golden Globes are over.
A folksy looking and sounding Jeff Bridges (above, in Crazy Heart), not George Clooney (for Up in the Air), got the chance to thank family (including father Lloyd Bridges and his mother, who died last year), friends, and co-workers. Although Bridges’ win wasn’t a total surprise, many of us were expecting George Clooney, who looks more like the type of guy the Hollywood Foreign Press Association would go for.
After all, they chose Sandra Bullock for the box office hit The Blind Side, Meryl Streep for the box office hit Julie & Julia, and Robert Downey Jr for the box office hit Sherlock Holmes. Crazy Heart, a drama about an aging country singer, has grossed about 1/1000th of what those movies made. Up in the Air, though hardly a gigantic hit, is doing quite well at the box office, and as I said before, George Clooney is, well, George Clooney.
The real big surprise of the evening, however, was James Cameron’s win. Again, that wasn’t a total surprise, mind you, but I believe that most people (including winner Cameron) were expecting to hear the name of The Hurt Locker‘s Kathryn Bigelow despite her movie’s meager $12 million at the domestic box office. She’d have been a female best director winner (the second one, after Barbra Streisand), and it’d have shown that HFPA members are almost like movie critics in their discerning taste.
To hell with critical acclaim, the HFPA voters finally decided. And that’s how critics favorite Bigelow was bypassed in favor of audience favorite Cameron. Having just passed George Lucas’ Star Wars, Avatar is well on its way to becoming the #2 – perhaps even the #1 – all-time hit at the domestic box office (not adjusted for inflation, etc. etc.). And speaking of audience favorites, The Hangover won as the best comedy or musical of 2009.
Apart from Crazy Heart, which also won for best song (T Bone’s “The Weary Kind”), non-blockbusters had to content themselves with the Honor of Being Nominated. The Hurt Locker, in fact, didn’t win a single Golden Globe. Neither did Nine.
We at Alt Film Guide got only three of our movie predictions wrong: best director, actor (drama), and film (comedy or musical). Personally, except for Jeff Bridges’ win, I think that our choices were right and those of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association were the ones that were dead wrong.
Photo: Crazy Heart (Lorey Sebastian / 20th Century Fox); Avatar (ILM / 20th Century Fox)
Speeches at the 2010 Golden Globes ranged from the moving to the mundane. Mostly the mundane. The awards show itself wasn’t the most exciting thing on planet Earth, but at least it was over in about three hours.
What I was most curious about wasn’t who was going to win best actor (drama) or best director or best screenplay or best actress (comedy or musical). What I was most curious about was: Will someone throw a shoe at Mel Gibson when he shows up as a presenter? Will he be heckled? Will he get a standing ovation? Will he get shoes, heckles, and a standing ovation?
Much to my disappointment, I missed Gibson’s initial appearance. Karma, I was told. But I saw that his jokes were well received by the crowd, so I’m assuming that what’s past is past whether or not it’s truly past.
Since the Gibson Affair was quite underwhelming, the most interesting part of the evening for me took place when Meryl Streep obliquely mentioned the Haiti earthquake disaster in her speech while reminiscing about her optimistic mother. My friend and co-watcher’s favorite moment took place not on the podium, but on screen, when at the very end of the Nine montage, Penélope Cruz purrs, “I’ll be waiting for you. With my legs open.”
Nine, which has been a box office dud, now has one guaranteed ticket sale on Monday.
Nine picture: David James / The Weinstein Company.
When it came to the 2010 Golden Globe speeches, there wasn’t much for posterity. Unless, of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s remarks about half of Avatar‘s revenues being used to alleviate California’s budget deficit will be remembered 1,000 years from now, along with The Aviator; New York, New York; Casino; GoodFellas; The Last Temptation of Christ; The Departed; and other movies directed by Martin Scorsese.
Or at least that’s what Leonardo DiCaprio claimed when paying homage to Scorsese’s career. DiCaprio, in fact, put Scorsese on the same plane as Pablo Picasso, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Francis Bacon, among a few others. When the camera focused on Scorsese’s face, I had the impression he was stifling a laugh. Or perhaps it was a tear. At these occasions, emotions run the gamut.
While delivering his speech, Scorsese was later self-controlled enough to remember the names of a number of major filmmakers, including Akira Kurosawa, Ingmar Bergman, Ousmane Sembene, Alfred Hitchcock, and Satyajit Ray. He also demonstrated a good knowledge of Hollywood history, teaching audience members, most of whom probably had never heard of Cecil B. DeMille (or Kurosawa, or Bergman, or Sembene, or Ray, or even Hitchcock, for that matter) about the man after whom his career award had been named.
More interesting were his remarks about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and the work they do for film preservation. According to Scorsese, the HFPA has helped to finance the restoration of about 70 films, including Elia Kazan’s A Face in the Crowd, Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory, and Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s The Red Shoes, Scorsese’s pet restoration project.
After listening to his speech, the first thought that came to mind was: How many old movies and television shows all those wealthy, fancily dressed film & TV people at that glittering party have helped to restore?
Thanks for also catching Scorcese’s shout out to especially Sembene.
Mainstream American film culture is so insular (except when it comes to European cinema) that you’re shocked when one of its stars, acknowledge the place and contributions of African cinema.
Of course, I am really surprised by Scorsese’s behavior given his work on film restoration and support for African films, but it was nice to see it being done at a stuffy event like the Golden Globes.
If Mel Gibson had been heckled for past indescretions due to his alcoholism and his weaknesses, than so should every presenter that has had a disease of some sort along with their own personal failings.
What’s right for one is right for all.
Enjoying any person being heckled in public is a form of self-righteous degradation which only makes the looker-on look worse than the heckled.
Scorsese’s shout-out to the late Ousmane Sembene was remarkable. I hope at least a few viewers added a Sembene film or two to their Netflix queue.
We recently watched “Xala” for the first time and found it a brilliant commentary on colonialism and corruption in West Africa, as well as a perspective on Muslim life in that part of the world.