By John H. Foote
Did the Golden Globe Awards just become irrelevant?
The Hollywood Foreign Press is one of the more bizarre award groups in Hollywood, known to accept bribes, known to be star lovers who will use their press credentials to get close to the actors. Sharon Stone gifted each of them with expensive watches when she was nominated for Casino (1995) and won, while trips to Vegas, all kinds of access to stars is suddenly granted, more than once the group has been called out for corruption within. Though they claimed to have ended all that, last night has me wondering. Still this is a group that honoured the infamous Pia Zamora, that handed Best Picture to Scent Of a Woman (1992) and gave Madonna an award for Best Actress (Comedy/Musical) in Evita (1996) over Frances McDormand in Fargo (1996). They are well know for their howlers. Last night they added to the laughers.
Bohemian Rhapsody won Best Picture (Drama) last night, stunning the film world with its unpredicted victory. The film was a box office smash, had been reasonably well reviewed by critics, raves came for lead actor Rami Malek who played Queen frontman Freddie Mercury and won Best Actor (Drama).
But seriously guys, Best Picture???
Better than BlackkKlansman? Nope. Black Panther? Nope. A Star is Born? No way.
More than anything this felt like it was all about bringing Bradley Cooper and A Star is Born into the real world.
Buoyed by great reviews, strong box office (the film is a blockbuster), A Star is Born seemed to be headed for multiple wins last night. Even the seating arrangements suggest that with Cooper, Lady Gaga and the rest of their cast and gang sitting front and centre, a King and Queen waiting for their coronation. The backlash had begun with Jeff Welles of Hollywood Elsewhere calling for something to bring down Cooper’s film. It is not that Welles hates the film, but he is not among those believing it to be a film for the ages. I happen to believe it is a triumph, beautifully crafted with sensational performances from Cooper and Gaga, with Cooper proving to be a most confident director.
It was believed A Star is Born might indeed sweep its categories, and while it still could do so if nominated for Oscars, last night it won only Best Song.
Bohemian Rhapsody contains a truly terrific performance from Malek, but take that away and you would see just how average the film is. Sure it is a warm biography of the singer but did you know more about him coming out of the cinema than you did going in? I did not. Malek was up to it, but instead we get a film version of Queen’s Greatest Hits. Good film, great performance, hardly Best Picture.
Green Book won three awards including Best Picture (Comedy/Musical) proving to be a most popular winner. Mahershala Ali took Supporting actor for his performance, while the film also won Screenplay
Glenn Close won Best Actress (Drama) for The Wife then proceeded to give the best speech of the night, hugely emotional, pushing women to follow their dreams.
As expected Olivia Colman took Best Actress (Comedy) for her daffy Queen in The Favourite, but neither of her co-stars won their category which went to Regina King in If Beale Street Could Talk.
Alfonso Cuaron won Best Director and Best Foreign Film for Roma, a Netflix production that has captivated critics since TIFF. The director also gave a deeply moving speech about his film reflecting his childhood in Mexico.
First Man won the Globe for Musical Score and was conspicuous in its absence from major nominations.
Much was made of the divide between film and television seating arrangements. The film nominees have always sat closest to the stage and this year was no different. But now with major stars such as Jim Carey, Benedict Cumberbatch and Elisabeth Moss working in TV, is placing the TV nominees behind the film nominees sensible or, um, cool? What was alarming is that Cooper and Gaga were placed front and centre and any winners had to nearly climb over them to get to the stage. It felt like they were there to be crowned but it was a ruse, it now feels like they were set up to be humiliated.
The Globes lost some of their shine yesterday, and most of their credibility.
John H. Foote is a well-recognized Canadian film critic/historian who has been an active critic for 30 years. His deep love for the movies began at a very young age. He began his career as co-host of the popular TV show Reel to Real where he remained for nine years. While on TV he began dabbling in education, eventually ascending to Director of the Toronto Film School, where he also taught film history. After leaving the college to care for his wife, he returned to teaching at Humber College where he taught both Film History and Method Acting Theory. John has written two books: “Clint Eastwood – Evolution of a Filmmaker” and the upcoming “Spielberg – American Film Visionary”. He is currently working on two books, one about the films of the seventies and another on the films of Martin Scorsese. Through his career he has worked in TV, radio, print and the web. John has interviewed everyone in the industry (more than 300 interviews) except Jack Nicholson, he says sadly. Highlights include Martin Scorsese, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep Robert Duvall, Jane Fonda, Francis Ford Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow.