The 76th Golden Globes: All as Expected (Until Best Picture-Drama)
The Golden Globes of 2019 have now come and gone, and, as predicted, the evening was mostly a gathering of friends in the industry to clink their glasses, sing each others praises, and have some fun.
So Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh made fun of the many offenses that Hollywood has been attached to the last couple of years by dishing out vicious compliments, like Samberg telling Jeff Bridges he “wishes he was his dad”, and Bradley Cooper being slammed by Oh by being called “hot”. Their first joke was that any audience member is eligible to win a chance to host the Academy Awards. Most of the material was safe, and most of it was like pasta in a tiny colander: a little strained (that was, too, but I also am not hosting the Golden Globes). Jim Carrey’s cameo during the opening chatter session was a means to steal the spotlight. Otherwise, as charming as Samberg and Oh are, the jokes were a little difficult. The moments of sincerity to champion the change in Hollywood were starkly better; not exactly enough to save the start of the evening, but it was the right time and place to make these statements. Toss in an off-coloured joke about the most depressing scene in A Star is Born right afterwards, and we’re back to square one.
Carol Burnett appropriately received the very first Carol Burnett award (the new television counterpart to the Cecil B. DeMille award). Her award was present early in the ceremony, and was a much needed burst of joy. Her acceptance speech, including her questioning if she wins the Carol Burnett award every year, was full of humour, truth, and gratitude to the industry she helped pave. She went into the intricate set ups of her weekly sketch show (the iconic Carol Burnett show), and how it couldn’t be replicated today; this includes big orchestras, many costumes, and numerous dancers a week. She’s damn right, and only she could have pulled it off initially. One of the best moments of the night, getting to spend some time listening to the wisdom of a television game changer like Carol Burnett (but specifically Carol Burnett) was just splendid.
The Cecil B. DeMille award went to The Dude (a character that got lots of love from presenter Chris Pine), Jeff Bridges. His highlight reel received a re-narration by Sam Elliot to bring the Big Lebowski love in full circle. He spent most of his speech thanking many of his family members, friends, and coworkers from throughout his career rather than spieling about himself, which seems like such a humble, Jeff Bridges move. He concluded with how a game of tag (used as a metaphor of course) has helped change his perspective on his career, and how he can approach the industry. There was also his boat-rudder analogy for how we can steer the industry towards the right direction.
The first film related win of the night was Spider Man:Into the Spider Verse for Best Animated Film; a surefire solidifier that the Marvel film will be the first to win the Academy Award in the same category (let’s not consider it just another Disney win; it’s a lot more refreshing not to). The beloved film has resonated with critics and audiences since it was first released late last year, and its momentum has clearly not slowed down.
Justin Hurwitz won for Best Original Score for his work on First Man, and “Shallow” from A Star is Born (naturally) won Best Original Song; neither win is surprising, as all parties involved and their two nominations in these two categories have blasted through other awards ceremonies. Green Book swooped in and won Best Screenplay amongst some intense competition (including If Beale Street Could Talk, The Favourite, and Roma). Speaking of the latter film, Roma won Best Foreign Film and Best Director (for Alfonso Cuaron), perhaps as the Globes’ way of giving the film Best Picture without ever having nominated it.
The first performer to win was Regina King for her spectacular work as a concerned mother fighting for both her daughter and her daughter’s wrongfully convicted boyfriend in If Beale Street Could Talk, as she was crowned the Best Supporting Actress. She used the opportunity to raise a challenge to producers to allow 50% of casts and crew to be women, which received an ovation.
Next up was Mahershala Ali winning Best Supporting Actor for Green Book two years after being questionably forgotten about for his stunning work in Moonlight (nonetheless, Ali might now be up for his second Oscar at this rate).
Christian Bale took the lead Best Actor in a Comedy win for his take on Dick Cheney in Vice; he proceeded to thank Satan for inspiration when it came to playing the former Vice President (perhaps the most memorable shout out of the decade).
Later in the night, Olivia Coleman pulled off the Best Actress in a Comedy win for The Favourite, and proceeded to thank “[her] bitches Emma and Rachel”, brought up the sandwiches she had, and just had a grand time going off the cuff. Her humorous speech was easily a highlight of the night.
Queen Anne won first, and then the legacy of Queen won shortly afterwards, as Rami Malick won for Best Actor-Drama. His chameleon-like portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody has now been granted an extra push to go towards the possible Oscar win. He championed inclusivity, especially towards the LGBTQ2S+ community, in this thank-you speech.
With a possible Academy Award-settling win, Glenn Close pulled off the Best Actress win for The Wife, beating her neck-and-neck competition with Lady Gaga. Her powerful, heartfelt speech resulted in the biggest standing ovation of the night, not just because of her legacy but because of her powerful words that described her lifelong dreams and the current shift of Hollywood.
For Best Picture-Comedy, Green Book took home the bacon with its third award (considerably a sweep for the evening). With a very surprising pull, Bohemian Rhapsody won for Best Picture-Drama. These two best picture wins are perhaps the least daring nods of the night, especially considering these films are the safest amongst their peers. Who knows if these two films have a chance at winning Best Picture at the Oscars after these wins,; it’s been a weirdly divided year.
At the end of the day, the public’s choices won the biggest prizes, and all of the acting wins went towards the most deserving performers (in my opinion, anyways). Amongst drunken speeches, awkward banter, and the acceptance speeches that won the evening, the 76th Golden Globes are long gone. Will their impact on the awards season be felt? Perhaps. We will have to see how, as Jeff Bridges said, the rudder will affect the direction of the boat.
Andreas Babiolakis has a Masters degree in Film and Photography Preservation and Collections management from Ryerson University, as well as a Bachelors degree in Cinema Studies from York University. His favourite times of year are the Criterion Collection flash sales and the annual Toronto International Film Festival.