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Things I Learned Over the Golden Globes Weekend

Things I Learned Over the Golden Globes Weekend

I went into the Golden Globes weekend knowing that with a group of some 80 international press –the infamous Hollywood Foreign Press Association, many of whom Wes Anderson listed by name when he accepted his surprise Best Comedy award for “The Grand Budapest Hotel”–you never know for sure what they will do. But I did expect them to vote for the universally hailed “Boyhood” for Best Drama, Director and Supporting Actress, and so they did.

My favorite reaction shot during the show was of the “Boyhood” family unit– Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane and Patricia Arquette– watching Linklater’s endearingly awkward and genuine acceptance speech. The movie was “personal” indeed, as it was in large part about his own parents, as Arquette told me at Friday’s AFI bash: her role was very much modeled on his own mother. 

READ: 2015 Golden Globe Awards: Full List of Winners, Backstage Reactions

The mission for Oscar campaigners is to encourage their Golden Globes winners–who will continue to promote their cause after the Oscar nominations are announced on Thursday–to maximize their winning momentum and make Oscar voters want to vote for them. How? Support their particular narrative: “Birdman” Best Comedy Actor Michael Keaton, for example, reminded viewers of his own rags to riches, single Dad, comeback saga. And also suggested that his demanding director Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu makes all his actors look good. 

“Boyhood”‘s overall narrative is to remind people of their feelings about their parents and being a parent. “Whiplash” will continue to be the frontrunner for Best Supporting Actor because JK Simmons nailed the role of his career.

Julianne Moore was the expected winner for “Still Alice,” as she will be on Oscar night. It’s the right role at the right time: a career prize. Eddie Redmayne, who has out-charmed Brit rival Benedict Cumberbatch on the awards circuit, took home Best Dramatic Actor for Working Title’s “The Theory of Everything.” For him, degree of difficulty is key, as he twisted himself into a pretzel to play Stephen Hawking, afflicted with ALS. The Best Actor Oscar race will be an intense one. Keaton is in the lead, but anything can happen in Phase Two.

When “Selma” scored Best Song, Common and John Legend’s acceptance speeches underscored the timely themes of Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic’s ongoing come-from-behind campaign: “‘Selma’ is now,” said Common, praising the film’s “superhero” director, Ava DuVernay. The movie may yet show some Oscar legs, as we will see on Thursday.

And sure enough the HFPA–clearly on a quest for credibility– did deliver some surprises. Besides Fox Searchlight’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” winning instead of their “Birdman,” which had to settle for Keaton and Screenplay, the Globes spread the wealth with a surprise Russian win for Best Foreign Film (Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “Leviathan”), and a consolation prize for the Weinstein Co. (which landed no wins for “The Imitation Game”), awarding “Big Eyes” star Amy Adams Best Comedy Actress (Disney musical “Into the Woods” went home empty-handed). Will Oscar perennial Adams slip into the Best Actress Oscar race ahead of Jennifer Aniston, whose little indie “Cake” may not have been widely seen? Unfortunately Adams’ win has no impact on the Oscar nominations ballots, which were filed last Thursday. 

On the TV side, the HFPA did the expected by awarding wins to “Fargo” and Billy Bob Thornton, and surprised with two wins to Guilty Pleasure “The Affair,” including Brit Ruth Wilson (who is incandescent on Broadway in “Constellations” with Jake Gyllenhaal) and Amazon TV series “Transparent” and its cross-dressing star Jeffrey Tambor, who celebrated transgender people in his moving acceptance speech. Hopefully more people will be inspired to check out indie filmmaker Jill Soloway’s terrific, sexy, moving and hilarious show, along with “The Affair,” both created by women. “What I think is new is the roles for *actual* women in television and film,” said Maggie Gyllenhaal as she accepted Best Actress TV Mini-Series for her richly layered role in “The Honorable Woman.”

It was hard not to miss on the Globes party circuit the strength of the television side of the entertainment industry. Indies Jay and Mark Duplass are both working in television (“Togetherness” and “Transparent”) along with Kevin Spacey (who won Best Actor, TV Drama for Netflix’s “House of Cards”), Steven Soderbergh (Cinemax’s “The Knick”), Cary Fukunaga (HBO’s “True Detective”) and “Girls” creator and star Lena Dunham (resplendent in a scarlet dress at the HBO Golden Globes party and kicking up her usual media fuss). Both Anonymous Content’s pre-Globes fete Saturday night, across the street from CBS/Showtime’s party at Soho House, were packed with rising TV stars, from Christine Baranski to Fukunaga and actor Andre Holland, who follows playing Andrew Young in “Selma” with the next season of “The Knick.” “It’s been a very good year,” he said, smiling, at the HBO party. 

Co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who insist this is their final round (please don’t bring back Ricky Gervais, who has worn out his insult schtick) were as brilliant, caustic and feminist as they’ve ever been, skewering the audience as “minimally talented brats,” adeptly mining the riches offered by “The Interview” (including surprise presenter Margaret Cho), reminding us that the fetchingly pant-suited Emma Stone IS a Big Eye painting, sending up good-humored newlyweds Amal Alamuddin and Life Achievement winner George Clooney, playing “Who’d you rather?”, and effortlessly laying out such witty intros as “the next presenter is a woman who is known by only one name — Winfrey!”
The recent events in Paris overshadowed the otherwise celebratory awards show; Clooney could be counted on to say the right thing: “We will not walk in fear.” And even Harvey Weinstein weighed in with a Guest Column. 

On the Beverly Hilton after party circuit, Fox’s party was the place to be. I hugged Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu at the bar and accosted rocker Patti Smith (nominated for her song for “Noah”) to tell her of my New York days seeing her concerts at CBGB; she graciously introduced me to Lenny Kaye. Night made. An amazing array of talent assembled in one corner, feverishly communing. “Foxcatcher” and “Normal Heart” star Mark Ruffalo was hanging with “St. Vincent” star Naomi Watts, “Fargo” creator Joel Coen and wife Frances McDormand (“Olive Kitteridge”) were with her original “Fargo” husband John Carroll Lynch, “Birdman” star Edward Norton joined the “Grand Budapest” contingent led by Wes Anderson, including a dancing Bill Murray, casting ace Fred Roos, composer Alexandre Desplat, Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman, Adrien Brody, and Jeff Goldblum; “Skeleton Twins” star Kristen Wiig was sitting with Owen Wilson and “Homeland” star Claire Danes. Then as happens at these things, the magic alchemy collapsed and people started to peel off, perhaps ready to check out the Weinstein Co. shindig across the way, where Cumberbatch and his fiance commanded one booth, Kate Hudson, Georgina Chapman and Harvey Weinstein another, and “Big Eyes” star Adams and Christoph Waltz a third. 

The Warner Bros./InStyle fete was packed to the gills, with barely a whisper of breathing room. Wandering through were Joaquin Phoenix (who ducked early), Diane Kruger with “The Affair” star and hubbie Joshua Jackson, Viola Davis, Jamie Dornan sporting a beard, Jessica Chastain, Jon Voight, Taylor Swift, Maggie Gyllenhaal holding her Globe, Jennifer Aniston, Miles Teller, and Eddie Redmayne. Patricia Arquette sat and rested with her Globe, tired — her feet had been hurting her all night. 
Over at Paramount, the atmosphere was vaguely dispirited. “Selma” star David Oyelowo, who stayed longer than everyone else, held court with the press corps, accompanied by Common, John Legend, Oprah, Gayle King, Carmen Ejogo, and Ava DuVernay rocking an updo. This party started late but was over fairly quickly.

When I returned to the Fox party on my way out, “Annie” star Quevenzhane Wallis, who had starred in Searchlight’s “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” danced the party to its close, lip-synching to Beyonce. 

–Ryan Lattanzio contributed to this report. 

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