Kate Winslet became the third actor or actress in the 66 years of Golden Globes to win in both the supporting and lead categories for The Reader and Revolutionary Road, respectively. It comes the year that the often-nominated yet mostly ignored actress is poised to finally win an Oscar.
This was among a handful of surprises given out on Sunday night’s broadcast. Mickey Rourke triumphed in the Best Actor category, beating the favorite, Sean Penn, who has been winning awards left and right, including both the Los Angeles and the New York film critics, for his portrayal of Harvey Milk.
Rourke’s career has been slowly getting back on track after he blew it the past two decades and fell into the abyss. Director Darren Aronofsky had hand picked Rourke for the role of Randy Robinson, a washed-up wrestler with nowhere to go but down. But Rourke was a nobody and no studio would take a chance on him. Eventually, Aronofsky won out and Rourke got the part.
Rourke’s work in the film is exquisite, and he’s giving Sean Penn a run for his money in the awards race. Penn’s beautifully sculpted Harvey Milk is the polar opposite of Randy Robinson. He’s a warm and friendly man, someone who decided to put it all on the line to fight for gay rights in San Francisco before his untimely murder.
Also in the Best Actor race are Clint Eastwood for Gran Torino, which is rumored to be his last performance as an actor, and Frank Langella who brings Richard Nixon to life in all of his greasy, insecure, and paranoid glory.
Heath Ledger took yet another award posthumously for his crash-and-burn Joker from the year’s most profitable film, The Dark Knight. Ledger looms large over these proceedings, and every time he wins another award his popularity grows. Ledger’s prominence remains an unexplained phenomenon. Even James Dean who was more popular dead than alive couldn’t win a posthumous Oscar, which Ledger seems destined for.
But the night truly belonged to the Bollywood crossover film, Slumdog Millionaire. Danny Boyle’s exuberant love story won Picture, Director, Screenplay, and Best Score, the same combination won decades earlier with The Last Emperor. Slumdog Millionaire appears to be unstoppable, as it charms its way towards the Best Picture Oscar.
Though Slumdog and Rourke lit the room on fire, the night seemed to belong to the double winner Winslet, who gave a much more surprised speech when she collected her second Globe for lead actress. Unfortunately, Sigourney Weaver also won twice for Gorillas in the Mist and Working Girl, only to leave the Oscars empty-handed.
Though Sigourney Weaver had only been nominated once previous to her Globes double win, compared to Winslet, who has been nominated five times and has never won. Winslet competes against herself this year, though, with two brilliant turns. Harvey Weinstein and The Weinstein Company is backing Kate in The Reader, while Scott Rudin and Paramount Vantage are backing Kate in Revolutionary Road. It is no secret that Rudin took his name off of The Reader after accusing Weinstein of rushing it for Oscar season.
Winslet is right in the middle and unless voters can settle on one or the other, Kate could end up like Weaver, with her vote being split. In fact, it would be difficult to decide between the two. In both films, Winslet dives headlong into these complex and unlikable women. If voters are waiting for her to side with one or the other, they’ll have to wait forever because she probably will never do something that crass just to win an award; clearly her heart was involved in both. It is an embarrassment of riches.