Tuesday, October 15, 2019

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ wins best drama, 'Green Book' best comedy in Golden Globes surprises

  • >>Brooks Barnes, The New York Times
    Published: 2019-01-07 11:34:37 BdST

The 76th Golden Globe Awards dispensed with the seriousness that marked last year’s ceremony, when actresses draped themselves in black to protest sexual harassment, and got underway Sunday night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel with red gowns, an award for comedic TV acting and a co-host yelling, “We’re going to have some fun!”

With that, Andy Samberg and the night’s other host, an ebullient Sandra Oh, breezed through a “nicing” of the room instead of the usual roasting. They did not make one joke at President Donald Trump’s expense. Jim Carrey, a nominee for Showtime’s “Kidding,” participated in a goofy gag from a table in the ballroom.

The sharpest bits came from Oh, who pretended to be a Neanderthal studio executive searching for a director — “First, man. If man not available, pair of man” — and ended with a teary acknowledgment of the “moment of change” in Hollywood over the past year regarding diversity on screen. “Right now,” she said, “this moment is real.”

The trophies are almost beside the point at this particular awards stop, which is mostly seen as a moneymaking moment — for NBC, for studios that gain a marketing hook for winter films, for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Besides, the association, with a long history of voting idiosyncrasies, has only 88 people who cast ballots. The Oscars, awarded next month, are voted on by about 8,200 movie industry professionals.

76th Golden Globe Awards - Photo Room - Beverly Hills, California, US, Jan 6, 2019 - (From L) Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt, Lady Gaga and Mark Ronson pose backstage with their Best Original Song Motion Picture award for

76th Golden Globe Awards - Photo Room - Beverly Hills, California, US, Jan 6, 2019 - (From L) Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt, Lady Gaga and Mark Ronson pose backstage with their Best Original Song Motion Picture award for "Shallow" from "A Star is Born." REUTERS

Over the past 10 years, the Globes and the Oscars have agreed on best picture winners 50 percent of the time. Last year, the foreign press association crowned “Lady Bird” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Neither won at the Academy Awards, which recognised “The Shape of Water.”

For a change, the big winner Sunday was expected to be a movie that most people have actually seen: “A Star Is Born,” with roughly $390 million in global ticket sales, will almost certainly take the prize for best drama. Lady Gaga, who plays the title role, was considered a lock for best actress in a drama.

But the award went to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a biopic of the rock band Queen. Rami Malek won the Globe for best actor in a drama for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in the film.

Gaga, Mark Ronson and the other songwriters of “Shallow,” from “A Star Is Born,” collected the Globe for best song. “To the captain of the SS Shallow,” Ronson said, speaking first and looking toward Gaga, who was standing next to him with tears in her eyes. “The genius comes from you.”

She leaned into the microphone and said, “As a woman in music, it is really hard to be taken seriously as a musician and as a songwriter.”

With that, the producers of the show started to play the group offstage, seemingly determined to keep the ceremony moving at a breakneck clip.

For all the attention given to the movie winners, best actress in a TV drama was one of the most intriguing matchups of the night, pitting a co-host versus a Hollywood legend.

Oh won for her performance in BBC America’s buzzy “Killing Eve.” She beat out, among others, Oscar-winning Julia Roberts, nominated for playing a mysterious counsellor on Amazon’s “Homecoming,” her first regular television role. Oh was passed over by Emmys voters in September.

Both “Killing Eve” and “Homecoming” were passed over for best television drama, however. That award went to the FX spy drama “The Americans” — an honour the series never achieved at the Emmys before ending its six-season run last year.

76th Golden Globe Awards - Photo Room - Beverly Hills, California, US, Jan 6, 2019 - Rami Malek (C) poses backstage with his award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture Drama for

76th Golden Globe Awards - Photo Room - Beverly Hills, California, US, Jan 6, 2019 - Rami Malek (C) poses backstage with his award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture Drama for "Bohemian Rhapsody" along with Brian May. REUTERS

In an upset, “The Kominsky Method” (Netflix) beat “The Marvelous Mrs Maisel” (Amazon) for best television comedy. A creator of “The Kominsky Method,” Chuck Lorre, thanked Michael Douglas and the show’s other star, Alan Arkin. “Without them the script for this would be landfill,” Lorre said. He concluded by saying what many in the room were thinking throughout the night: “Netflix. Netflix. Netflix. Netflix. Netflix. Netflix.”

Douglas won best actor for his work on the show.

“For 45 years, you’ve always surprised me and treated me so well,” Douglas said, addressing the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. He dedicated the award to his father, Kirk Douglas, 102.

Amazon did get one win when the star of “Mrs Maisel,” Rachel Brosnahan, retained her crown for best actress in a TV comedy.

Few films had more riding Sunday night than “Green Book.” It has been a box-office disappointment, collecting $35 million (roughly half of which goes to theatre owners) and costing an estimated $50 million to make and market. Some people adore the film’s feel-good depiction of interracial friendship in the Deep South during the 1960s. Others have been appalled by its reliance on racial clichés.

Winning best comedy or musical would give “Green Book” a much-needed boost. Its biggest competitor was “The Favourite,” a pitch-black comedy about royal schemers. Olivia Colman won best actress in a comedy or musical for her work in the film.

It won best screenplay and best supporting actor, which went to Mahershala Ali, who plays an erudite pianist in the film. Best actor in a comedy or musical went to Christian Bale, who portrayed former Vice President Dick Cheney in “Vice.”

“Thank you, Satan, for giving me inspiration on how to play this role,” Bale said in accepting the award.

Jeff Bridges collected the Cecil B DeMille Award for lifetime achievement in film, and Carol Burnett accepted a new award, named after her, for career achievement in television.

Rachel Broshahan, winner of Best Actress - TV Series, Musical or Comedy, accepts the award. REUTERS

Rachel Broshahan, winner of Best Actress - TV Series, Musical or Comedy, accepts the award. REUTERS

Steve Carell presented Burnett with the award, calling her “one of the most revered, respected and most well-liked people in show business” before making an off-colour quip about nice-guy Tom Hanks that NBC censors bleeped. Julia Roberts offered a rambunctious hoot from the audience, which jumped to its feet.

“I’m really gobsmacked by this,” Burnett, 85, said. “Does this mean I get to accept it every year?” She used most of her speech to reminiscence about the TV industry of the 1960s and ‘70s, ending with her signature line, “I’m so glad we got this time together.”

Bridges, 69, offered no deep thought on any topic other than the joy of being alive, using most of his time to rattle off thank yous. “I’ve got to thank my sweetheart,” he said, gesturing to his wife, Susan Geston. “Forty-five years of support and love.”

Three movies from black filmmakers and featuring leading characters who are black (“Black Panther,” “BlacKkKlansman,” “If Beale Street Could Talk”) are nominated for best drama. Jon Chu’s “Crazy Rich Asians,” celebrated for its primarily Asian cast, is nominated for best comedy or musical.

The only problem? None are expected to win.

But there was diversity among the winners in the acting categories. In addition to Ali’s victory, Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk”) won for her big-screen supporting role. King thanked her publicists and then, refusing to leave the stage as the orchestra started up, spoke about the need for equal employment opportunities for women, in Hollywood and elsewhere. “Time’s Up times two,” she said.

A more subdued Ali — he was expected to win — paid tribute to his castmates and thanked his wife and grandmother.

“Thank you for your prayers,” he said.

The foreign press association, rather strangely (or not, given its focus on celebrity), considers foreign films ineligible for its best picture awards. So the Globes will not offer much guidance on the Oscar fortunes of “Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón’s subtitled, black-and-white homage to Mexico City life in the 1970s.

Globe voters may, however, throw their weight behind Cuarón as best director. (It’s either him or Cooper for “A Star Is Born.”) And “Roma,” the source of some angst in the Academy Awards race because it comes from Netflix, which is challenging the traditional model for releasing films, won the Globe for foreign film.

“Gracias familia, gracias Mexico,” Cuaron said, taking care to thank Netflix and Participant Media, the companies behind the film.

© 2019 New York Times News Service