The Golden Globes featured a diverse group of winners from all over the globe. The British invaded by handing out awards and picking them up to take home. The Golden Globes are the Hollywood Foreign Press, after all, a rather mysterious group of press people no one seems to know much about. What we do know about them is that they are important to potential Oscar winners, and they are known as the more wild and crazy awards show around. One of the reasons for this is that all of the stars now show up to get their awards. It is a lot like a dress rehearsal for the Oscars – how they work the red carpet, how it feels when they win or lose – like it or not, the Globes have their place firmly out front of the many blooming award shows.
Monday night’s Golden Globes split up its winners across the board. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Babel took the top prize only. Martin Scorsese won Best Director for The Departed, yet the film won nothing else. Bill Condon’s Dreamgirls took home the most Globes, three in total, including two for Best Supporting Actor and Actress, and Best Picture for Musical or Comedy. The Queen won two, with Best Actress going to Helen Mirren and Best Screenplay going to Peter Morgan.
Little Miss Sunshine, which seemed to be enjoying a kind of buzz surge after the directors, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, were named in the Directors Guild nominations, didn’t beat Dreamgirls, which has much momentum heading into the Oscar race. A few days earlier, Dreamgirls won four Broadcast Film Critics awards, two for music and two for acting. The Departed took the top prizes at the Critics Choice, winning Best Picture and Best Director. The Oscar race for Best Picture seems to be coming into clearer focus, but no one has any clue what will happen.
The Golden Globes honored three African-American actors for their top acting awards, something rarely seen at awards shows, if ever. Babel is the first film to win Best Picture by a Mexican director.
The most interesting category of the night, Best Foreign Film, put Clint Eastwood’s Letters from Iwo Jima in the same category as Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto, Guillermo del Toro’s magnificent Pan’s Labyrinth, the equally wonderful Lives of Others, written and directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, and Pedro Almodovar’s Volver. This category blew away the competition in either of the Best Picture categories. The winner was Eastwood’s Letters, even though the film isn’t enjoying the same success in the Oscar race thus far.
All in all, the Globes represented a melting pot of films, cultures and countries, as one would expect from the Foreign Press. While American films are competing for tweener attention spans and movie stars’ ever-increasing salaries, foreign and independent films are flourishing.
The more awards that are thrown at these types of films, the more of them we will see. When they split up their prizes this way, there seems to be something for everyone to be happy about. Babel is a multi-cultural experience, and so did our silly little world celebrate it for one evening.
At the end of the day, it is just an awards show. But if it brings a taste of the more artful films out there to the masses, where’s the harm? The Globes telecast seems to run so much more smoothly than the Oscars, which is always considered too long and too boring to hold anyone’s interest for long. The Academy could take a page from the Globes’ book and bring back the round tables, the casual atmosphere and the faster presentation.
As for whether or not the Globes will be a key indicator for the Oscars, no one can say. Dreamgirls is looking good. The Departed is still strong. Babel looks great. We’ll find out what the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences thinks when they announce their awards on January 23.