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Golden Globes: Still shiny at 70

January 20, 2013

It’s that time of the year again: light liquor parades in after parties, as stars showcase their best sense of dress and canny-humour on winning — and in many cases, losing — the second most familiar award in movie-dom.

At 70, the Golden Globes, hosted again at the Beverly Hilton and accounted by Ernest and Young, is still sprightly. At 70, the show is also at its least politicalised — or grumped. Hosted by Saturday Night Live alumni Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, the duo showed lighter, more effective and family-friendly smarts than former host Ricky Gervais.

“Tonight we honour the television shows that have entertained us all year — as well as the films that have only been in theatres for two days,” Fey joked at the opening monologue. “That’s what makes it special,” Poehler continued. “It is only at the Golden Globes that the beautiful people of film rub shoulders with the rat-faced people of television.”

As everyone knows now, Ben Affleck’s Argo walked off with the night’s two chief awards Best Picture Drama and Best Director — one of which (the director) it has no chance of contesting at the Oscars, while the other (Best Picture) would only come from a tougher match.

The Golden Globes are judged by the HFPA — the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — a club of 93 international journalists working from Hollywood (the Oscar Academy outnumber them by 5,690 members).

While not as kooky in nominating as the Critic’s Choice Awards (hosted two weeks ago), the Globes made their way to mostly the right candidates.

Zero Dark Thirty, the superficially harrowing (and faux) account that led to Osama bin Laden’s strike-down was nominated in four categories, but managed to secure only one for Jessica Chastain’s hard-headed female lead (Jennifer Lawrence won in the parallel category of Best Actress Comedy or Musical).

Les Miserables, the musical based on Victor Hugo’s tragedy, starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway, had the most profitable showing. It won three out of four noms (Hathaway called her globe a “lovely, blunt object” that she would forever cherish “as a weapon against self-doubt”).

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, standing in seven categories had just one win for Daniel Day Lewis. Still, the political-drama on the 13th amendment became one of the event’s shrewdest surprises when Bill Clinton came to introduce the film as a Best Picture candidate. Clinton, who received a standing ovation (and a salute from Spielberg) of a house generally full of democrats, was referred to as “Hillary’s husband” by hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who wiped away his history as an American President in one swell quip.

Django Unchained won Best Screenplay and Supporting Actor — where Christoph Waltz beat fellow cast member Leonardo DiCaprio. Waltz’s speech was also one of the most touching moments of the show, when he paraphrased his dialogue from the film and called director Quentin Tarantino his North Star.

Amour, which I predict will share some its Golden Globe success at the Oscars, won Foreign Film (the award was presented by Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who pulled the other’s leg on understanding accents), while Pixar’s Brave bested an upset over Wreck-It Ralph.

As the technical awards are a no-show at the Globes, Life of Pi contended with a win in Original Score, while Skyfall won for Original Song.

The television drama categories (Series, Actress and Actor) were dominated by Homeland, and HBO’s Game Change (Mini-Series/TV Movie and its corresponding Actress and Supporting Actor category) and Girls (for Comedy/Musical and its Actress category).

The Globes 70th night out would, however, remain in memory for one reason: Jodie Foster’s Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement. In her smartly written coming-out speech, Foster kidded, “I am, ah, single,” ending a buildup that was as much about her orientation as it was for her plea for privacy.

She held the stage mesmerised (and the female actresses teary-eyed), as she free-fell through thanking the HFPA and her co-stars — which included Robert Downey Jr., who introduced her award, and Mel Gibson. Both shared her table with her two sons, who she said is “her modern family.”

Foster, whose selective filmography — especially in recent films — showed her diligence for below-the-radar films was adamant about leaving her mark: “I can’t help but get moony,” she said. “It feels like the end of one era, and the beginning of something else (that is) scary and exciting.” Just before ending, she landed a metaphoric bombshell: “I am never going to be on this stage again — or any stage for that matter,” she said, continuing her indication to work in projects she believes in.

“I will continue to tell stories,” she asserted, which may or may not be for cinema — a medium, whose celebration the HFPA and their Golden Globes know only too well.