Monday, January 12, 2009

Commentary: Golden Globes broadcast — harbinger of the Oscars?

'Slumdog Millionaire': The night's big winner.

By Hap Erstein
If the reason to tune in to the Oscars broadcast is to see what the stars are wearing and who looks particularly dreadful, the reason to watch the looser Golden Globes telecast is to see who drank too much and says something he and she will regret in the morning.

Unfortunately, Sunday evening’s Golden Globes ceremony was awfully staid and sober. With the exception of a few jokes about drugs and Ricky Gervais’ teasing threat to cross the taste threshhold with a couple of Holocaust gags, this could easily have been mistaken for the Academy Awards show. Alas.

Although the Globes — presented by the woefully small membership of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — dispenses with the sort of overblown production numbers and nominated song performances of the Oscars, the show still droned on for three hours. During the acceptance speech of best director winner Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), the screen froze up for several minutes, just like your mother always warned you would happen if you made funny faces. It was not the highlight of the broadcast, but nor was it much distinguishable from the rest of the show.

Slumdog Millionaire
, that terrific film about a lower class tea boy in Mumbai, India, who relates his life story to explain how he knew the answers on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, was the night’s big winner. It swept the three top categories — Best Motion Picture (Drama), Best Director and Best Screenplay (Simon Beaufoy) as well as Best Original Score (A.R. Rahman). To what extent this helps the movie’s chances for Oscars remains unclear, but it must have gained some momentum, while The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon and Doubt went home empty-handed.

Kate Winslet in 'The Reader.'

The other big winner of the night was Kate Winslet, who won two Golden Globes — for Best Actress, Drama (Revolutionary Road) and Best Supporting Actress (The Reader). The categories are extremely arbitrary, since there is no way to justify calling her performance in The Reader as main character Hanna Schmitz, the former concentration camp guard, supporting anything. But in the Academy Awards, an actress cannot be nominated twice in a category, so Winslet got demoted by her studio tacticians to supporting for The Reader, in the hopes that exactly what happened Sunday night would happen. Winning two Oscars seems extremely unlikely, but look for Winslet to pick up two nominations when they are announced Jan. 22.

For what it is worth, the Globes divide the movie awards into drama and comedy/musicals. Colin Farrell was a surprise winner for Best Actor, Comedy (In Bruges) over front-runner Javier Bardem (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), but Farrell is an enormous long-shot for an Oscar nomination. More likely is newcomer Sally Hawkins, who won Best Actress, Comedy for Happy-Go-Lucky, a clever Mike Leigh film about a giddy optimist despite all evidence to the contrary. If the Globes thought she was going to win, though, they might have given Hawkins a seat a little closer to the stage.

The Best Comedy of the year, according to the Globes, was Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, his best effort in almost a decade, but there are enough worthy dramas to keep it out of the top race for the Oscar.
As further proof of the growing importance of the Golden Globes, virtually every nominee showed up and those who made it to the microphone paid reverent lip service to the Hollywood Foreign Press. Many even did so with straight faces.

1 comment:

ecrunner said...

If Winslet wins at the Academy awards, I would not be surprised. She did really well in these movies. I was excited to see her face when she was announced the winner at the Golden Globes. And her smile was shining so brightly. She was stunning and with her dress, she was picture perfect