What Are the Golden Globes? Multinational & multiethnic winners range from globetrotting Babel to World War II as seen from the Japanese side
What are the Golden Globes?
Is the Hollywood Foreign Press Association awards show no more than a glitzy, phony celebration of “celebrity” itself?
Well, to some extent.
But then again, “glitzy,” “phony,” and “celebrity-crazed” are labels that could easily be attached to most film-award groups, from X Film Critics Society and Y Film Critics Association to Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Toronto, and San Sebastian, in addition to the illustrious Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Even so, that doesn’t mean quality – even if in the eye of the movie beholder – goes wholly unrecognized.
Case in point: this year’s Golden Globe winners.
‘Quality-oriented’ Golden Globes travel the world
So, in early 2007, what are the Golden Globes?
The Golden Globes are – or rather, were; the Jan. 15 ceremony is over – predictable, “quality”-oriented, and, much like the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, notably international and multiethnic.
First of all, why predictable?
Well, in the film categories, just about everything – at least as far as the winners were concerned – went according to plan at the 2007 ceremony. That is, until the very last winner of the evening was announced: Babel.
Set in multiple countries and over multiple time frames, with dialogue in multiple languages, and featuring an international cast of Mexicans, Americans, Australians, Moroccans, Japanese, etc., Babel was a multiple Golden Globe nominee – seven nods in all, more than any other film – and a multiple loser. As the evening progressed, the sprawling Alejandro González Iñárritu-directed, Guillermo Arriaga-written drama lost out in various categories to The Queen, Dreamgirls, The Departed, and even The Painted Veil.
And then, just like one of those contrived plot twists you sometimes find in Guillermo Arriaga’s screenplays, Babel, as the cinematic embodiment of the 2007 Golden Globes’ multinational/multiethnic flavor, ended up winning the final and most important award of the evening: Best Film – Drama.
International & multiethnic cast of ‘quality’ winners
Now, how could the answer to “What are the Golden Globes?” be “quality-oriented”?
Well, that’s both simple and factual.
Like the generally well-received Babel, just about every single 2007 Golden Globe winner – and most nominees – in the film and television categories was a critically acclaimed production or talent. (See the full list of the 2007 Golden Globes’ winners and nominations further below.)
As for the international and multiethnic cast of Golden Globe winners, it included the following in the big-screen categories:
- Helen Mirren was the English Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama for her portrayal of the title character in Stephen Frears’ British-made Queen Elizabeth II hagiopic The Queen. English screenwriter Peter Morgan topped the Best Screenplay category for the same film.
- American actor-director Clint Eastwood’s critical hit Letters from Iwo Jima, showing the titular World War II battle from the point of view of (Japanese-speaking) Japanese soldiers, was the Golden Globes’ Best Foreign Language Film.
- A trio of African Americans: Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama Forest Whitaker for Kevin Macdonald’s British-made The Last King of Scotland, and Best Supporting Actress Jennifer Hudson and Best Supporting Actor Eddie Murphy for Dreamgirls. Directed by Bill Condon, the African-American-centered musical was also the Golden Globes’ Best Film – Comedy or Musical pick.
- New Jersey-born Meryl Streep, of German/English/Irish/etc. ancestry, was the Best Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical for her performance as a control freak in David Frankel’s fashion-world-set The Devil Wears Prada.
- London-born Sacha Baron Cohen, the son of an Israeli immigrant, was named Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for Borat, in which he plays a Kazakh in New York.
- Italian-American Martin Scorsese took home the Best Director Golden Globe for the Boston mob drama The Departed.
- French composer Alexandre Desplat was the winner in the Best Original Score category for John Curran’s British-focused, Chinese-set, period romantic drama The Painted Veil.
- African American singer/songwriter Prince Rogers Nelson (a.k.a. Prince) for “The Song of the Heart,” from George Miller’s Australian-American animated feature Happy Feet.
Helen Mirren x2 & Golden Globes’ TV winners
What are the Golden Globes in the television categories?
Like in the film categories, international and multiethnic.
Particularly notable among the television winners was London-born Helen Mirren.
Not only was the veteran stage, film, and television performer a double winner, but she topped both the Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama and Best Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television categories for her portrayal of two British queens named Elizabeth: Elizabeth II in The Queen and the titular royal in Tom Hooper’s British-made Elizabeth I, which also was named Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television while earning Englishman Jeremy Irons Best Supporting Actor honors.
Among the Golden Globes’ other TV winners were two more British nationals: Bill Nighy and Emily Blunt, named, respectively, Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television and Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television for Stephen Poliakoff’s two-part British-made drama Gideon’s Daughter. (Blunt had also been shortlisted as Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for The Devil Wears Prada.)
Lastly, topping the Best Television Series – Comedy or Musical category was Ugly Betty, based on the Colombian soap opera Yo soy Betty, la fea (lit. “I Am Betty, the Ugly One”), and centered on a Mexican-American character played by Honduran-American Best Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical winner America Ferrera.
International & multiethnic Golden Globes: The nominations
When it comes to this year’s nominations, what are the Golden Globes like?
The 2007 Golden Globes’ international & multiethnic flavor is noteworthy not only among the winners but also – in fact, even more so – among the nominees.
In the film and TV categories, nominees who are not/that are not about “white Americans” (of course, this – debatable – classification changes from generation to generation) include the following:
- Best Supporting Actress nominees Adriana Barraza (from Mexico) and Rinko Kikuchi (from Japan) for Babel.
- Spanish Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama nominee Penélope Cruz for Pedro Almodóvar’s not-exactly-a-drama Volver.
- British Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama nominees Judi Dench and Kate Winslet for, respectively, Richard Eyre’s British-made Notes on a Scandal and Todd Field’s Little Children.
- Australian Best Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical nominee Toni Collette for Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris’ Little Miss Sunshine.
- Part-African-American Best Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical nominee Beyoncé Knowles for Dreamgirls. Additionally, Knowles is a co-nominee for the song “Listen” from Dreamgirls.
- Nigerian-British Best Actor in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor for Julian Jarrold’s Kinky Boots. Additionally, Ejiofor was a Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television nominee for Tsunami, the Aftermath.
- Irish Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama nominee Peter O’Toole for Roger Michell’s British-made Venus.
- African-American Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama nominee Will Smith for Gabriele Muccino’s The Pursuit of Happyness.
- Australian Best Supporting Actress nominee Cate Blanchett for Notes on a Scandal.
- Mexican Best Director nominee Alejandro González Iñárritu for Babel.
- British Best Director nominee Stephen Frears for The Queen.
- Mexican screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga for Babel.
- Argentinean composer Gustavo Santaolalla for Babel.
- Italian composer Carlo Siliotto for Sergei Bodrov’s Kazakh-Russian epic Nomad.
- Mel Gibson’s U.S.-made Best Foreign Language Film nominee Apocalypto, filmed in Yucatec Mayan.
- British songwriter Andrea Remanda, a co-nominee for the song “Never Gonna Break My Faith” from Bobby.
- London-born Nigerian-Jewish Best Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television nominee Sophie Okenedo for Tsunami, the Aftermath.
- (At least part-) Lebanese-American Best Actor in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical nominee Tony Shalhoub for Monk.
- Tokyo-born Japanese-American Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television nominee Masi Oka for Heroes.
One last time, what are the Golden Globes?
At least in 2007, international and multiethnic indeed. As evidence, see below this year’s list of winners and nominees.
And lest we forget, the Golden Globes are also the awards season ceremony that honored Warren Beatty, a U.S. actor of part-Canadian background.
Also known as Shirley MacLaine’s brother, Beatty was the recipient of this year’s Cecil B. DeMille Award for a career that includes classics and near-classics like Splendor in the Grass (1961), Bonnie and Clyde (1967), McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), Heaven Can Wait (1978), and Reds (1981); in addition to critical and commercial bombs like The Only Game in Town (1969), The Fortune (1976), Ishtar (1987), Love Affair (1994), and Town & Country (2001).
Golden Globes: Winners & nominations
Best Motion Picture – Drama
Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.
The Devil Wears Prada.
Little Miss Sunshine.
Thank You for Smoking.
Best Foreign Language Film
* Letters from Iwo Jima (USA / Japan).
The Lives of Others / Das Leben der Anderen (Germany).
Pan’s Labyrinth / El laberinto del fauno (Mexico).
Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama
Penélope Cruz, Volver.
Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal.
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Sherrybaby.
* Helen Mirren, The Queen.
Kate Winslet, Little Children.
Best Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical
Annette Bening, Running with Scissors.
Toni Collette, Little Miss Sunshine.
Beyoncé Knowles, Dreamgirls.
* Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada.
Renée Zellweger, Miss Potter.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama
Leonardo DiCaprio, Blood Diamond.
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed.
Peter O’Toole, Venus.
Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness.
* Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical
* Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.
Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.
Aaron Eckhart, Thank You for Smoking.
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kinky Boots.
Will Ferrell, Stranger Than Fiction.
Best Supporting Actress
Adriana Barraza, Babel.
Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal.
Emily Blunt, The Devil Wears Prada.
* Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls.
Rinko Kikuchi, Babel.
Clint Eastwood, Flags of Our Fathers.
Clint Eastwood, Letters from Iwo Jima.
Stephen Frears, The Queen.
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Babel.
* Martin Scorsese, The Departed.
Guillermo Arriaga, Babel.
Todd Field & Tom Perrotta, Little Children.
Patrick Marber, Notes on a Scandal.
William Monahan, The Departed.
* Peter Morgan, The Queen.
Best Animated Feature
Best Original Score
* Alexandre Desplat, The Painted Veil.
Clint Mansell, The Fountain.
Gustavo Santaolalla, Babel.
Carlo Siliotto, Nomad.
Hans Zimmer, The Da Vinci Code.
Best Original Song
“A Father’s Way” – The Pursuit of Happyness, Music by Seal & Christopher Bruce; Lyrics by Seal.
“Listen” – Dreamgirls, Music & Lyrics by Henry Krieger, Anne Preven, Scott Cutler, Beyoncé Knowles.
“Never Gonna Break My Faith” – Bobby, Music & Lyrics by Bryan Adams, Eliot Kennedy, Andrea Remanda.
* “The Song of the Heart” – Happy Feet, Music & Lyrics by Prince Rogers Nelson.
“Try Not to Remember” – Home of the Brave, Music & Lyrics by Sheryl Crow.
Cecil B. DeMille Award: Warren Beatty.
Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
* Elizabeth I.
Prime Suspect: The Final Act.
Best Television Series – Drama
* Grey’s Anatomy.
Best Television Series – Comedy or Musical
* Ugly Betty.
Best Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Gillian Anderson, Bleak House.
Annette Bening, Mrs. Harris.
* Helen Mirren, Elizabeth I.
Helen Mirren, Prime Suspect: The Final Act.
Sophie Okonedo, Tsunami, the Aftermath.
Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
André Braugher, Thief.
Robert Duvall, Broken Trail.
Michael Ealy, Sleeper Cell: American Terror.
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tsunami, the Aftermath.
Ben Kingsley, Mrs. Harris.
* Bill Nighy, Gideon’s Daughter.
Matthew Perry, The Ron Clark Story.
Best Actor in a Television Series – Drama
Patrick Dempsey, Grey’s Anatomy.
Michael C. Hall, Dexter.
* Hugh Laurie, House M.D..
Bill Paxton, Big Love.
Kiefer Sutherland, 24.
Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama
Patricia Arquette, Medium.
Edie Falco, The Sopranos.
Evangeline Lilly, Lost.
Ellen Pompeo, Grey’s Anatomy.
* Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer.
Best Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical
Marcia Cross, Desperate Housewives.
* America Ferrera, Ugly Betty.
Felicity Huffman, Desperate Housewives.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine.
Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds.
Best Actor in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical
* Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock.
Zach Braff, Scrubs.
Steve Carrell, The Office.
Jason Lee, My Name Is Earl.
Tony Shalhoub, Monk.
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television
Thomas Haden Church, Broken Trail.
* Jeremy Irons, Elizabeth I.
Justin Kirk, Weeds.
Masi Oka, Heroes.
Jeremy Piven, Entourage.
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television
* Emily Blunt, Gideon’s Daughter.
Toni Collette, Tsunami, the Aftermath.
Katherine Heigl, Grey’s Anatomy.
Sarah Paulson, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
Elizabeth Perkins, Weeds.
Hollywood Foreign Press Association website.
Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu and Gael García Bernal Babel image: Paramount Vantage.
Helen Mirren Queen Elizabeth I image: Channel 4 / HBO Films.
“What Are the Golden Globes? ‘Prestige’ Multinational & Multiethnic Awards Embracing ‘Diversity’?” last updated in September 2018.