The Golden Globes went very much the way we all expected. The Weinsteins came out ahead thanks to the musical comedy category. They had six wins total, including "The Artist," best actor Jean Dujardin, and score, as well as actress Michelle Williams for "My Week with Marilyn" and drama "The Iron Lady"'s Meryl Streep and best original song for Madonna's "W.E." "We thought it was a small movie for festivals that critics could enjoy," says "The Artist" director Michel Hazanavicius backstage. "We did not expect this."
Fox Searchlight won two on the dramatic side, for best drama "The Descendants" and dramatic actor George Clooney. "Our quarterback was George Clooney," says producer Jim Burke backstage, praising his generosity with the other actors.
Sony Pictures Classics won screenplay for no-show Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris," as well as best foreign film for Asghar Farhadi's Iran Oscar entry, "A Separation." Martin Scorsese took director for Paramount's "Hugo," while the studio also won best animated film for Steven Spielberg's "The Adventures of Tintin."
"The funny thing about an evening like this is you get to catch up with old friends,' says Clooney as he accepts best actor for drama "The Descendants." "It's nice to be able to tell Brad Pitt, in two films this year, and the rest of the world, I'm a fan."
Backstage he says Brad is his friend. "We slap each other on the back and wish each other well." As for why the movie touched so many people: "Look at Alexander Payne's track record," Clooney says. "He knows how to tell a story, he knows how to make it funny and turn it around. It's a coming-of-age film for a 50-year-old. It touches a lot of people that way."
Onstage he thanked Michael Fassbender for taking over his frontal nudity responsibilities, and suggested that he could play golf with his hands behind his back. This caused me to laugh too loud in the front row of the press room, during Dame Meryl Streep's interview. Embarrassing.
"Shit," says Streep onstage. "I forgot my glasses." She manages to list all the great performances by women this year, even citing Mia Wasikowska in "Jane Eyre." "I just want to thank my agent Kevin Huvane and God, Harvey Weinstein, The Punisher, Old Testament, I guess. Everyone in England who let me tramp over their history. We made this for 25 cents in five minutes. I love you Viola, you're my girl." Viola Davis still has a shot at unseating Streep on Oscar night.
Backstage Streep says, "I can't believe I said 'shit' on TV!" She pulls a wad out of her pocket. "I have such a good speech, here it is! I can't read it at all." Streep says she thinks about "each individual story, it doesn't matter if it's a waitress or a queen, interesting people who have challenges one way or the other. I'm happy to keep working." Coming into this, she said that she did what we all do with politicians we disagree with, turn people into something more and less than human. "It was interesting to look at the human being behind the headlines," she adds. "I find some understanding of being alive from the characters I play."
Accepting his Globe for best actor comedy/musical, Dujardin said that as he was coming up as a young actor, he was told that "your face is too expressive, too big. I always followed my instincts to fight for my dreams. Thank you for letting me prove them wrong." He sums up: "As Douglas Fairbanks would say," and mouths a silent response.
Backstage, Cecil B. Demille award-winner Morgan Freeman wears shades and one glove and looks like his role in "Driving Miss Daisy." He said that because of presenter Sidney Poitier he felt certain growing up that "there would be room for me. Most of us need something to guide ourselves and hang our hopes and dreams on. I always tell Sidney that he's my beacon and light." Freeman cites his breakthrough in 1986 when he won an audition to play a pimp in "Street Smart." He got a nomination and got to the coast. "Acting has never felt like I was working," he says. "When I was growing up, and I still think it's true, one of the effective avenues for learning American History is movies. They are so impacting." Freeman says he is working on getting something going with "Red" co-star Helen Mirren, who decried not having made more films with him.
Best TV series comedy or musical goes to "Modern Family." Gay issues came up many times backstage, as the usual protestors with anti-gay placards were outside.
Best director went to veteran Martin Scorsese for "Hugo." He's an auteur, after all. The HFPA went for a career prize. This may or may not be repeated on Oscar night. (He did not turn up backstage.)
Best supporting actress goes as expected to Octavia Spencer of "The Help," continuing her winning streak. She'll go all the way to the Oscars as well. "With regard to domestics in this country, now and then," she says, quoting Martin Luther King, "'all labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance,' and I thank you for recognizing that with our film."
Spencer backstage praises the ensemble. "It's a very important part of our history, while the characters are fictitious, the narrative is part of our fabric. It's important to keep the younger generation abreast of how far we've come. I'm probably the most militant person you'll ever meet. When I read the book I bristled at the dialogue, then relinquished my judgement." It's about uneducated women of a certain socio-economic class, she said. "I didn't like 'Gone with the Wind,' the book or the movie. We live in a multi-cultural world and have to stop labeling ourselves." She kicks her shoes off. "This is the ultimate party. I am living the dream of so many actors and actresses out there. I got the ultimate party favor."
Best foreign film goes to Iran's "A Separation," which has been winning everything. It will likely win the Oscar as well. Asghar Farhadi thanks Tom Bernard and Michael Barker of Sony Pictures Classics, who are now giving Harvey Weinstein a run for his money, as they also won screenplay for no-show Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris," as expected. When asked about Iran vs. U.S. propaganda, Farhadi responds: "People from these two countries have no issues with each other. The people of Iran are very peace-keeping."
Best Actress for a TV series drama goes to Claire Danes, her third Globe win, for Showtime's "Homeland," which also won best television series drama, beating HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" and "Game of Thrones." The international aspect of the show is going to be highlighted in season two, say the "Homeland" creators backstage. They considered the death of Bin Laden to make the post-9/11 landscape more receptive to this series. "It's unusual that I get the chance to take a character like this on, so layered, I've never encountered a character like this before," says Danes backstage. She also praises the writing. "I got a workout this season. They asked me to do more than I've ever been asked to do, fantastic to develop that strength. As an American when I started learning about the CIA I was struck by their patriotism, somnething I had taken for granted. I have learned that it's something toi take more seriously."
Best Actor in a TV series comedy goes to Matt LeBlanc for "Episodes."
Jessica Lange wins best actress for Ryan Murphy's mini-series "American Horror Story." "Writing overall has suffered in recent years," she says backstage. "I rarely see a script where the wrtiting excites me." She loves these scripts. "The horror scenes weren't hard for me," she says. It was getting long monologues ther night before. "The final monologue in the last episode was something I had to nail down in an incredibly short period of time."
Best animated feature goes to "The Adventures of Tintin." Steven Spielberg thanks Peter Jackson as well as two studios, Sony and Paramount, and cites the "man with a thousand voices," Andy Serkis. It will be interesting to see how the Academy, as opposed to the foreign press, handle the performance capture film.
"I can't pick between any movies I make," says Spielberg, backstage. "The 'Tintin' timing, I never would have released two movies within five days of each other. As we found out, they weren't competitive. 'War Horse' was successful with a slightly older family audience. My 15-year-old loves 'Tintin,' my 19-year-old loves 'War Horse.' This has been a great year, usually I take time off and will produce but not direct, it was a nice year when all the energies converged."
Indie filmmakers can make a movie with their phones, he says: "My generation did not have that advantage. Kids want to send me their shorts. I turn around and my heroes are Martin Scorsese and Clint Eastwood. I also look back 60 years to our grandparents who we learned everything from."
Of the period adventure "Tintin," he says "it's not important to look for relevancy when you are trying to entertain people. This is a friendship story, a buddy movie like the old Bob Hope/Bing Crosby road pictures." Animation "gives you so much room to hang yourself with. It can get complex with lighting and choreography, you can change entire sequences over months, it's a malleable art form. It's like being a painter, very personal with a canvas, even with 400 animators. After Peter does 'Tintin' 2, I hope I get to do the third one."
Best actress in a comedy or musical film goes to Michelle Williams for "My Week with Marilyn," no surprise. "I consider myself a mother first and actress second," says Williams, thanking her daughter and Weinstein. The HFPA put the same award in her hand that Marilyn Monroe won 50 years ago, she says.
Monroe was "luminous, in the moment," she says backstage, wearing a clingy blue velvet dress to keep her warm on a cold day. "I felt tremendous responsibility," she says, "with a known quantity that was new and terrifying and more challenging than anything else I have attempted."
Idris Elba wins best actor for mini-series for "Luther." It's great to hear his Brit accent. He takes off without waiting for any questions backstage. When asked about Bond, "of course I'd be honored to play that part if it comes my way." When asked about "The Wire," he says "my name is Idris of course, not Stringer Bell."
Peter Dinklage wins best supporting actor in a TV series or mini-series for HBO's "Game of Thrones." He also took home the Emmy. His mother told him Guy Pearce was going to win for "Mildred Pierce." "I love our moms because they keep us humble." He thanks J.R.R. Martin, David Benioff and Dan Weiss. Backstage he says they have the best writers and source material, "that's everything to me." He says one of the best things about the show is that it does unexpected things, like killing off the lead in the first season. "We're not done killing off people," he promises.
Best original song goes to "Masterpiece," music and lyrics by Madonna for "W.E." This can be considered an HFPA-only win. They have long been kind to Madonna. This is the second Globe win for the singer, who also won for her performance as Eva Peron in "Evita." She thanks Harvey Weinstein for believing in her film. Madonna's secret for looking spectacular is no longer Pilates: "I'm just dancing, dance aerobics. It's the best thing for your bottom."
Best film score goes to Ludovic Bource, for TWC's "The Artist." He started his career doing scores for commercials directed by Michel Hazanavicius. "I'm sorry I'm French," he says.
Kate Winslet wins best actress in a TV mini-series, for Todd Hayne's "MIldred Pierce." This is another example of a mini-series made by movie folks, in every way. The best of television is better than movies, these days. Of the rumor that she's angling to play Elizabeth Taylor, winselt responds backstage: "Elizabeth Taylor is a massive undertaking for anyone who should get that part." Winslet confesses: "I would like to one day play a man, I don't know what kind of man, that would be the ultimate challenge. One of the fun parts of playing Mildred is that I do like to cook, all the pies and cooking were all me." Her biggest take-home from "Mildred" was learning from chef Tom Collichio how to section a chicken–the old-fashioned way, natch.
Kelsey Grammer wins best actor for best TV series drama "Boss.""We're gearing up for the second season of 'Boss' and my wife and I are expecting," says Grammer backstage. "Sometimes you want people to laugh, cry, and think."
Julian Fellowes accepts for best mini-series for TV for Masterpiece Theatre's "Downton Abbey"; Season Two on PBS is my current fave. I met Elizabeth McGovern at Saturday's Indie Spirits nominees brunch; she admits that she's now figuring out what a hit the show is stateside. "People love going into a world without mobile phones and Twitter," she says backstage. "People are engaged by the characters."
"I wouldn't take on the Royals," says Fellowes backststage. "'Downton Abbey' is a way to take people from different backgrounds believably under one roof. The servants themselves have so many different expectations. You've got this legitimate excuse to explore all these different lives and people."
Best supporting actor goes, as expected, to Christopher Plummer, for "Beginners." He gives more or less the same speech he gave at the Critics Choice Movie Awards. He's going to keep on winning right up to the Oscars. "I've never had such a fun time before the camera in my life," he says backstage. "Gay characters are human beings, we are all exactly the same. You don't go around pretending to mince. Gays are part of our society and have been since the Greeks, they are part of our human condition."
Laura Dern wins best actress in a comedy or musical television series, for "Enlightened." She praises the film directors who helped to make "Enlightened" so good.
Ricky Gervais did fine with his hilarious monologue, suggesting that few men have seen Jodie Foster's "Beaver," getting the night off to a ribald start. "Have you seen 'The Tourist'?" Gervais asked first presenter Johnny Depp. Gervais was funny but not quite as tough on the Globes themselves. "The Golden Globes are just like the Oscars but without all that esteem." They are "a bit louder, a bit trashier, a bit drunker and more easily bought. Allegedly. Nothing’s been proved." He may be back again. Or not. He told Ray Richmond that three times was enough.