Fox Searchlight may face an uncertain future after being sold to Disney last month, but the studio had reason to celebrate on Sunday night, winning four top awards for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Picture/Drama, Actress/Drama, Supporting Actor and Screenplay), not to mention a well-deserved victory for The Shape of Water director Guillermo del Toro.
Not to be outdone, indie studio A24 took home two top awards for Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird, which lost two awards early on, but rallied when it mattered to win Best Picture – Comedy/Musical and Best Actress for Saoirse Ronan’s heartfelt, nuanced performance as a Sacramento teen. Both wins were fairly expected even though the film entered the fall festival season rather low-key as the work of first-time filmmaker Gerwig.
Laurie Metcalf was edged out for Best Supporting Actress by I, Tonya star Allison Janney, but trust me, that’s still one Oscar race worth keeping a close eye on. After all, the Academy and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association only share one voting member, so tonight’s winners have little bearing on the outcome at the Oscars.
A24 also saw James Franco named Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical for his turn as Tommy Wiseau in The Disaster Artist. Franco was the first winner to be played off the stage, where he was joined by his baby brother, Dave Franco, and Wiseau himself. It was a touching gesture, and I have no doubt Wiseau appreciated his moment in the spotlight (even if he wasn’t allowed to take the mic), which comes many years after he released The Room to some of the worst reviews of all time.
The HFPA seemed to forgive Gary Oldman for his past unflattering remarks about the organization, as he was named Best Actor in a Drama for his turn as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour. Oldman’s win helps reinvigorate his Oscar campaign, which had been losing momentum as young Call Me by Your Name star Timothee Chalamet has gained traction this season.
Pixar’s Coco predictably won Best Animated Film, and its co-directors Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina found themselves forced to address the cloud of allegations surrounding John Lasseter, who is currently on a six-month leave from the animation studio. ““We can all be better. We have been taking steps and continue to move forward to create art,” said Unkrich.
The foreign language race saw Germany’s revenge thriller In the Fade triumph over Angelina Jolie’s First They Killed My Father. I really thought the HFPA would be unable to resist the opportunity to put Jolie onstage, but in the end, they rewarded the better film, which is led by a dynamite performance from Diane Kruger. Awards strategist Fredell Pogodin deserves some of the credit, as this was a tough category.
But again, this was Fox Searchlight’s night, and they were not to be denied. Frances McDormand held off the always-formidable Meryl Streep for the Best Actress prize, and Sam Rockwell’s upset win over Willem Dafoe and, to a lesser extent, Christopher Plummer, proves he’s being taken seriously this awards season. The HFPA clearly liked Martin McDonagh’s movie, and it showed on Sunday night, though I don’t think it’s the frontrunner for Best Picture at the Oscars
Elsewhere, Natalie Portman raised some eyebrows (the good way) when she said “And here are the all-male nominees,” in introducing the Best Director nominees. Meanwhile, before announcing Best Picture, Barbra Streisand lamented being the first, and last, female director, apparently, to win Best Director at the Golden Globes (for 1983’s Yentl), and that was 34 years ago! Still, Guillermo del Toro’s win was well-deserved, and hopefully he’ll continue to make intimate films like The Shape of Water. Del Toro’s win marked the third time in five years that the HFPA has bestowed its Best Director award on a Mexican filmmaker, following Alfonso Cuaron for 2013’s Gravity, and Alejandro González Iñárritu for The Revenant.
On the TV side, Amazon celebrated a big night for its freshman series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which took home Best Comedy/Musical Series, while leading lady Rachel Brosnahan won Best Actress. Amazon is clearly doing something right on the comedy side, as the win followed its 2015 triumph for Transparent, and with Jeffrey Tambor poised to exit that series, perhaps Mrs. Maisel will inherit its mantle. The company could’ve won both of the top awards had it not passed back in the day on The Handmaid’s Tale, which ended up going to Hulu and winning both the Golden Globe and the Emmy for Best Drama Series.
Like Amazon, Hulu was on cloud nine, celebrating that win, as well as Elisabeth Moss’ victory for Best Actress in a Drama Series. The HFPA is a big fan of Moss, who won several years ago for Top of the Lake, and was also nominated for Mad Men.
HBO’s Big Little Lies also won big, taking home trophies for Best Limited Series/TV Movie, Best Actress (Nicole Kidman) and Best Supporting Actress (Laura Dern). Ewan McGregor also won a well-deserved Golden Globe for his dual performance on FX’s Fargo.
And I’d be remiss not to mention Sterling K. Brown’s win for This Is Us, which made him the first black actor in history to win the Golden Globe for lead TV actor in a drama. The award came on the heels of his Emmy win, so clearly his performance on the NBC show made a strong impression on voters of all stripes.
Overall, the show was clearly politically charged, coming in the middle of the #MeToo movement, and yet host Seth Meyers was more than up to the challenge of hosting what many expected to be a tricky show, coming out of the gate strong. It was especially fitting that the Cecil B. DeMille Award was presented to Oprah Winfrey, given everything she has done for women, particularly African-American women. Winfrey became the first black woman to win the DeMille award, and she referenced Sidney Poitier and the others pioneers who came before her in her touching acceptance speech.
All in all, it was a pretty good show that moved quickly and only went about 10 minutes long. #MeToo was well represented throughout the night, and several women urged Hollywood to address the gender pay gap. The sexual harassment scandals that have left the town reeling the past few months have forced the industry to look in the mirror and confront its own demons, and while that reckoning is only just beginning, the Golden Globes telecast certainly did its part.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief