BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – The Golden Globes are typically Hollywood’s bawdiest awards show — “a wonderful mess,” said co-host Tina Fey of this year’s bash. But in the end, after all the boozy banter — some of it bleeped for broadcast — the 1970s corruption tale American Hustle got a very serious push toward Oscar glory, picking up three major awards.
Benefiting the most from the Globes as focus shifts to the Academy Awards, David O. Russell’s con caper locked in best comedy, Best Actress (Amy Adams) and Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Lawrence).
Not that early-season favorite 12 Years a Slave isn’t still in the running. Though it earned only one award, Steve McQueen’s historical epic took home the night’s top honor: best film drama. But American Hustle seems to have emerged from the 71st annual Golden Globes as the film to beat.
Oscar doesn’t usually care much for comedies, but American Hustle offers a rich blend of scandal, style and superb acting that is bound to get Academy voters’ attention.
The Globes have flipped awards season momentum before. Though Ben Affleck was denied an Oscar nomination last year for directing Argo, he did win Best Director at the Globes and his film went on to win best picture at the Oscars.
In 2009, Katherine Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker lost in the Best Film category to James Cameron’s Avatar at the Globes. The defeat seemed to sway Oscar voters in Bigelow’s favor and she snagged the Best Picture award.
LOST IN SPACE
With the Oscar nominations coming Jan. 16, lost-in-space saga Gravity, which earned Alfonso Cuaron the Best Director Globe, could pick up some additional pull with likely nominations in the craft categories, which the Globes don’t recognize. There’s also a lot of built-in affection for its leading lady, Sandra Bullock, not to mention the film’s impressive worldwide box office performance.
Hosting the Globes for the second year in a row, Fey and Amy Poehler drew big laughs as they targeted such A-listers as Matt Damon, Meryl Streep and Leonardo DiCaprio.
One of the evening’s well-received jokes was delivered in the SNL alums’ opening bit in a reference Fey made to Gravity: “It’s a story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age.”
Last year, the duo led a six-year ratings high with 19.7 million viewers. They’ll return as hosts next year.
Besides American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which presents the Globes, also favored other fact-based films from America’s past: the 1980s-era AIDS drama Dallas Buyers Club and the high-finance extravaganza The Wolf of Wall Street, which both won top awards.
Dallas Buyers Club stars Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, who both lost noticeable weight for their roles — “or as actresses call it, ‘being in a movie,'” joked Fey — won their first Globes for Best Dramatic Actor and best supporting actor. DiCaprio, a nine-time nominee, picked up his second Globe for best comedy actor for his turn as a provocative stockbroker in Martin Scorsese’s nearly three-hour Wall Street.
“I am thankful that Martin Scorsese is still this punk rock,” said DiCaprio backstage.
Famously absent from awards shows for years, Woody Allen received the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Honor, which was accepted by the director’s Annie Hall star Diane Keaton.
“Did you see Diane Keaton tonight?” Best Comedy Actress winner Cate Blanchett asked reporters backstage. “She is my style icon, my acting icon — the works.” Blanchett took home the award for her portrayal of a fallen socialite in Allen’s Blue Jasmine.
Elegant in an Armani gown, Blanchett joked, “A lot of effort goes into this effortlessness. It’s a wonderful mirage to be here tonight, but it’s not entirely who I am.”
After a while it grew monotonous: a steady stream of Golden Globe winners declaring surprise.
For the people behind Fox’s detective comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine, it was genuine but not so with the victory lap for Breaking Bad, and its team didn’t pretend otherwise.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine won the Globe for Best Television Comedy, with star Andy Samberg winning best comic actor. Breaking Bad won best drama, a coda for AMC’s epic tale of meth kingpin Walter White, with Bryan Cranston winning the award for best dramatic actor.
“I’m a terrible actor, so you can be assured I’m very surprised in real life,” said Brooklyn Nine-Nine co-creator Dan Gore.
Samberg’s a better actor, but he seemed stunned to win in a category that included Jim Parsons, star of television’s most popular comedy The Big Bang Theory, and sentimental favorite Michael J. Fox, who has his own NBC show.
Vince Gilligan, creator of Breaking Bad, said the Globe gave the show’s team another chance to thank its fans.
“Especially the early adopters, as they say in the electronics business, the folks who were watching since season one, the grim days when we had very little viewership,” Gilligan said of his series, which ended last fall. “Thank you for helping us get to here.”
Cranston’s award came after losing four times in the category.
“This is such a wonderful honor and such a lovely way to say goodbye to the show that has meant so much to me,” Cranston said. He joked that the honor by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association means more people around the world will be able to share in the “mirth and merriment” of Breaking Bad.
The show was denied a sweep when Aaron Paul lost his bid to Jon Voight for a supporting actor award.
Actress Robin Wright won for her work in House of Cards. She paid tribute to her co-star, Kevin Spacey, calling him “the best playdate, ever.” Netflix’s award for the show represented the first time a service other than a broadcast or cable network has won a major television award.
Movie star Michael Douglas donned the flamboyant costumes to play Liberace for Behind the Candelabra and the work brought him his fourth Golden Globe award. Earlier in the evening, the production won the award for best TV movie.
Douglas called his co-star, Matt Damon, “the bravest, talented actor I’ve ever worked with.” Addressing Damon, he said, “The only reason you’re not here is I had more sequins.”
Poehler capped her big night by winning the best actress award for NBC’s Parks & Recreation. For a joke, she was sitting on Bono’s lap when the camera cut to her as nominees’ names were read; she looked as though she didn’t want to rush off when the announcement came that she won.
But she quickly recovered and turned into what even she recognized as a cliche — the flustered award winner who said she had not prepared to be an award winner. “Woo,” she said. “I’ve never won anything like this.”
Elisabeth Moss gets a lot of publicity for her work on Mad Men, but won a Golden Globe as Best Actress in a miniseries for playing a detective investigating the disappearance of a pregnant girl in the Sundance Channel miniseries, Top of the Lake.
Like movie winner Jennifer Lawrence before her, Moss was visibly trembling as she accepted her trophy.
Veteran actress Jacqueline Bisset, a five-time nominee who won her first Golden Globe, savored the moment in getting a Best Supporting Actress trophy. She played Lady Cremone in the BBC production of Dancing On The Edge, shown on Starz.
Her acceptance was punctuated by silence, she kept talking when the music tried to usher her offstage and even forced the censor to press the “bleep” button after she uttered a profanity.
“I’m going to get this together,” she said. “I want to thank the people who have given me joy, and there have been many. And the people who have given me (profanity), I say it like my mother — what did she say? She used to say, ‘Go to hell, and don’t come back.'”
There was no profanity from Voight, another Hollywood veteran. He had been to the stage before. His supporting actor honor for his work in Showtime’s Ray Donovan was his fourth Golden Globe. “I’m truly humbled to be among my talented peers,” he said.
(Jessica Herndon, AP Film Writer and David Bauder, AP TV Writer)