By John H. Foote
For the most part, the Golden Globe Awards went to the films we thought they would, some deserving, some contentious. Split into categories for Drama, and another for Comedy or Musical, the Globes have often been the target of scandal, accused of accepting bribes, of enjoying lavish press junkets in Las Vegas, being gifted expensive watches and swag, and this year targeted for having not a single black member in their voting body. That came up more than once last night, including from members of the Association themselves who vowed to do better.
The two biggest upsets last night occurred in both Best Actress categories where Audra Day as Billie Holliday took Best Actress in a Drama for her superb performance in The USA vs. Billie Holliday, a late arrival to the awards race. It was highly anticipated that either Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman or Frances McDormand in Nomadland would win the award but the Globe voters, as is their wont, went in a very different direction. They did the same in the Comedy or Musical category, honoring the very deserving Rosamund Pike in I Care a Lot, a searing black comedy about a woman scamming the elderly for their money and property. Pike was lacerating in the film, and I loved her performance but did not believe she stood a chance.
Jodie Foster was a complete shock as Best Supporting Actress in the political thriller The Mauritanian, as many, myself included, felt the award belonged to Amanda Seyfried in Mank, which went home with nothing. Glenn Close again went home empty handed for her over acting in Hillbilly Elegy.
Chadwick Boseman won Best Actor (Drama) in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, while Sacha Baron Cohen won Best Actor in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, his sequel to Borat (2007), marking the second time he won the award for that character.
Daniel Kaluuya won Best Supporting Actor for his seething performance in Judas and the Black Messiah, another late arrival to awards season.
As expected Chloe Zhao took Best Director for the winning Best Picture (Drama) Nomadland marking just the second time a woman won the Best Director prize. Barbra Streisand won the award for Yentl (1983) being the first woman to win Best Director, 26 years before Kathryn Bigelow won the Academy Award for The Hurt Locker (2009).
Netflix did not do well on the movie front, same as last year, but they certainly did well with their TV offerings. Their magnificent series The Queen’s Gambit won Best Limited Series or Movie, with Anya Taylor-Joy taking Best Actress, richly deserved. The Crown was a big winner too, bringing in Globes for Best Drama Series, Actor (Josh O’Conner as Prince Charles), Actress (Emma Corrin as Princess Diana) and Supporting Actress (Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher).
Schitt’s Creek took the Best TV Comedy or Musical prize, with Catherine O’Hara winning Best Actress in a TV Comedy or Musical. TV Veteran Norman Lear won the Carol Burnett Lifetime Achievement Award for TV.
The highlight of the night was Jane Fonda’s speech in accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement. I suggest everyone watch it on YouTube.
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.