This year’s Golden Globes — “eclectic and ever-raucous,” per Globe-winner Brad Pitt — will have less impact than usual on the Oscar race, because the Academy voters are already voting: their ballots are due on Tuesday, when both DGA and PGA nominations are announced. The Globes spread the love among several movies expected to win awards in the coming weeks before Oscar night 2020 — February 9 — including “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” with three wins, “Joker” and “1917” with two, and “Marriage Story” and “The Farewell” with one.
Oscar frontrunner “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” took home both Best Comedy and Best Screenplay for nine-time nominee Quentin Tarantino, winning his third screenplay Globe, adding some wind to its already full sails. “I kind of don’t have anybody to thank,” said Tarantino, who did credit his “fantastic cast that took it from the page and had to add a different layer… Leo in the trailer, Brad having an acid trip, or Margot’s goodness that comes out of her that puts more goodness in a movie than I have ever been involved with.”
Backstage Tarantino said he was proud to give Sharon Tate her due in the movie. “She has been excluded as a character from her own story,” he said. “It’s one of the things about the movie I’m proud of…She’s taken seriously in a profound way.”
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Brad Pitt, as expected, won his second Globe after seven nods as stuntman Cliff Booth — and basked in a standing ovation. (So did his Supporting Actor rival, Cecil B. DeMille winner Tom Hanks.) The affection for Pitt in the Beverly Hilton ballroom was palpable. And he will continue to win at SAG and the Oscars. “I wouldn’t be here without you, man,” he said to his beaming “all-star,” Leonardo DiCaprio, before thanking Sony chairman Tom Rothman for having the “big balls” to take on the film. Sony nabbed the most motion picture Globes for any studio, with three.
Beating DiCaprio, surprisingly, was first-time nominee Taron Egerton as Best Actor, Musical or Comedy, for his flamboyant role as Elton John in “Rocketman.” The movie also won Best Song, for Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again.” “This is really sweet. This is not just about a movie,” said Taupin, “but a movie which deals with our relationship, which doesn’t happen much in this town. It’s a 52-year-old marriage.”
“We never won anything together except for this,” added John.
Egerton remains a longshot even for a nomination in this crowded Oscars Best Actor field, but “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” is now the title to beat in the Original Song category. Also still vying for a Best Actress Oscar slot is “The Farewell” star Awkwafina, who won Best Actress Comedy or Musical, as expected. She’s the first Asian-American actress to win in this category. “If I fall upon hard times I can sell this,” she said. “I’ve never been to the Golden Globes, but I am here now and it’s great.”
Nabbing surprise wins for Best Motion Picture Drama as well as Best Director was “1917” writer-director Sam Mendes, who paid heartfelt homage to Martin Scorsese. The movie was the last title screened by the HFPA, as many Oscar voters have yet to watch it in this shortened award season. These wins will push it up in screener piles —although it should be seen in theaters, as Mendes said in his speech: “This is huge thing for this movie,” said Mendes. “I hope people will turn up and see it on the big screen for which it was intended.”
Backstage he added, “it’s up to filmmakers to make movies that need to be seen on the big screen and make the audience feel if they don’t see it on the big screen they’ll miss out…It’s important that filmmakers are ambitious and use the tools of cinema, like SurroundSound and IMAX and every fiber of their being to try and make big stories for big screen.”
Winning two Globes was “Joker,” including Best Actor in a Drama Joaquin Phoenix, who beat Adam Driver of “Marriage Story.” Phoenix not only thanked the HFPA for going vegan — Sunday marked the first time he ate food at the event — but director Todd Phillips for putting up with him. Phoenix denied that there was a competition with his fellow actors. “It’s a thing to create advertising,” he said. “I’m inspired by you, I’m your fucking student.”
He exhorted everyone to unite and make such “changes and sacrifices” as not taking “private jets to Palm Springs.” Backstage, in response to why he wanted to play a familiar DC character like Joker, he said, “I don’t think I’ve ever done too many predictable things. Todd and I are not following any rule book. It’s because we’re inspired to explore the character more thoroughly.” Phoenix will go go up against DiCaprio and Driver at the Oscars.
Not a surprise was the Original Score Globe going to Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir for “Joker,” winning her first Globe after 20 years composing. She also composed the score for “Chernobyl.” “It’s been a long time coming,” she said. “It’s a beautiful year, to have both opportunities at the same time.” The industry opened up to trusting women on bigger projects, she said. “I benefited a lot from that — people are a bit more open to trusting women.”
And Renee Zellweger collected her Globe for Best Actress, Drama for “Judy,” 17 years after she won for Roxy Hart in “Chicago.” “Thanks to the HFPA for inviting me back to the family reunion,” she said. “It’s the journey that matters and the work that matters.” Playing icon Judy Garland reminded her that “the choices we make matter, what we make matters, and how we choose to honor each other in our lifetimes can matter down the road.” Zellweger has a strong comeback narrative going into SAG and the Oscars.
While Netflix dominated the Golden Globe nominations with 36 total across television and film, Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” was shut out, and Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” landed just one win, for Supporting Actress Laura Dern. The Globes took the high road, opting not to go for glitzy favorite Jennifer Lopez, star of “Hustlers,” in favor of Hollywood royalty Dern, who is on the way to a likely Oscar win. Dern reminded that she was 14 years old the first time she won an award from the HFPA, “Miss Golden Globe.” “We long to give service and give voice to the voiceless,” she said, “and pay tribute to the divorce lawyer. It’s long, long overdue. Thanks Noah for the most incredible ride ever.”
One of the shocking wins of the night was the animation winner, stop-motion Laika film “Missing Link” (Annapurna), whose director Chris Butler was “genuinely shocked,” he said. “450 human beings made this movie possible.” Possibly, it was the entry unlike the others — an original, not a sequel. But this win suggests, along with its underwhelming Annie Award nominations, that “Toy Story 4” is not necessarily the Oscar frontrunner.
Steady as he goes is Korean auteur Bong Joon Ho, who took home the expected win for Best Foreign-Language Film for Neon’s indie box-office juggernaut “Parasite,” which could get to $30 million or more with some awards behind it. “Unbelievable,” he said. “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”
Bong admitted backstage that he was not surprised the movie played so well in America after winning the Palme d’Or in Cannes. “The film is about the rich and poor,” he said. “It’s about capitalism and the United States is the heart capitalism, so I thought it was natural to win such an explosive response.” Expect the movie to score multiple Oscar nominations and a few more wins.