Golden Globes: Edgy choices underline legitimacy

The Golden Globes inched closer to legitimacy in its 72nd show, giving awards not just to A-List celebrities, but to the edgier productions that unequivocally deserved recognition, including Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Birdman.

Golden Globes: Edgy choices underline legitimacy

Adding to the spirit of subversion was the recurring theme of free speech, which was remarked upon by the likes of George Clooney and Jared Leto. Hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler tackled a myriad of timely topics, including the Sony hacking, North Korea, and Bill Cosby.

Perhaps this isn’t a new mode for the Globes, but on Sunday, the most readily mocked show of awards season transcended its party reputation to become something more, even if the show got started with the Entourage cast using the red carpet to film a scene for their upcoming movie.

As for what it all means for the Academy Awards, whose nominations are announced on Thursday, many fields seem more open than ever.

Richard Linklater’s Boyhood dominated, winning the night’s top honour, Best Drama, as well as Best Director for Linklater and Best Supporting Actress for Patricia Arquette.

The 12-years-in-the-making indie captivated audiences, critics, and the industry to become one of the year’s major awards contenders — a streak that could be solidified or destroyed when Oscar nominations are announced.

“Bottom line is we’re all flawed in this world. No one’s perfect,” said Linklater. “I want to dedicate this to parents that are evolving everywhere and families that are just passing through this world and doing their best.”

Tied with two wins each were Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s dark showbiz film Birdman and the Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything, in which Eddie Redmayne won out in one of the evening’s most hotly contested categories, Best Actor in a Drama.

For his portrayal of famed theoretical physicist Hawking, Redmayne beat Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game), Steve Carell (Foxcatcher), David Oyelowo (Selma), and Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler).

While Michael Keaton took the Best Actor prize for Birdman, the film flailed in the Best Comedy or Musical category, losing out to Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. Beloved by critics and audiences, Anderson’s dark, whimsical fable was considered a bit of an underdog in the category and awards season.

Awards favourite Julianne Moore won Best Actress in a Drama for her startling performance as an academic with early-onset Alzheimer’s in Still Alice, and Amy Adams surprised in taking Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical for portraying Margaret Keane in Big Eyes.

Looking forward to Oscar nominations, the big question has become whether The Imitation Game, Selma, or Foxcatcher can regain their footing in the race, and, if Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, shut out at the Globes, could emerge as a serious contender. All have come under scrutiny for fact-bending depiction of historical events.

Jessica Chastain, whose 2012 Zero Dark Thirty suffered the same treatment, said the trend of fact-checking movies makes her sad. “We don’t make documentaries,” she said.

George Clooney, honoured with a Cecil B DeMille award, wore a ‘Je Suis Charlie’ button on the lapel of his suit and seriously addressed both the terrorist attack in Paris and the Sony hack. “This is a really important moment,” Clooney said. “We have to stand up together or we end up falling apart.”

The television winners also suggested a current of the unexpected, with awards for Maggie Gyllenhaal for The Honourable Woman, and Gina Rodriguez in CW’s popular Jane the Virgin.

Amazon, crashing the party like Netflix did before it, celebrated its first — and second — Golden Globe for the sexual identity comedy Transparent, winning Best TV series, Musical or Comedy. The show’s star, Jeffery Tambor, landed best actor in the category, dedicating his award to the transgender community.

The Globes have been on a terrific upswing in recent years. Last year’s awards drew 20.9m viewers, the most since 2004. And accepting the Globe for original song for ‘Glory’ in the civil rights drama Selma, the rapper Common raised the status of the group behind the Globes even higher: “I want to thank God and the Hollywood Foreign Press.”

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