Netflix Owns The Golden Globes
07 Jan, 2019
Netflix dominated the 76th Golden Globes ceremony on Sunday, scoring high profile wins for “Roma” and taking home a best TV comedy prize for “The Kominsky Method.”
The nearly three-and-a-half hour broadcast was filled with shocking upsets and politically charged speeches. “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a biopic of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury that endured a troubled production to become a box office smash, won best drama over the heavily favored “A Star is Born.” “Green Book,” a look at the friendship between a white bouncer and a black jazz musician, upset “Vice” to score a best comedy award. Unlike the Oscars, the Globes separates dramas from musicals and comedies. “A Star is Born” only converted one of its five nominations into a win, picking up a best song statue for Lady Gaga’s power ballad “Shallow.”
The Globes honor the best in both film and television, allowing the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to pack the ballroom at the Beverly Hilton with A-listers from both the big and small screen.
Netflix’s impressive night signals a changing landscape in Hollywood and comes as traditional studios are being challenged by streaming giants. Among other awards, Netflix earned a best foreign film and a directing award for “Roma,” Alfonso Cuaron’s sweeping look at his childhood in Mexico City. “Roma” was ineligible for the top drama prize because it is shot entirely in Spanish. Netflix scored five wins across its motion picture and television divisions.
Netflix also celebrated a best actor in a TV comedy win for Michael Douglas for his work as an aging acting coach in “The Kominsky Method.” Netflix’s British water-cooler hit “Bodyguard” captured a best actor in a TV drama prize for Richard Madden. The streaming leviathan has spent heavily on original content, shelling out some $13 billion in 2018 alone. In the coming months the rush to nab award-worthy programming will only intensify as WarnerMedia and Disney launch their own direct-to-consumer services. One of the ways that Disney is hoping to bolster its arsenal is by spending nearly $72 billion to buy much of 21st Century Fox. It must have left the Globes feeling justified in that investment, as Fox, Fox Searchlight, and FX, all of which will exist as part of the Magic Kingdom, scored six wins.
Though the story of the night may be the rise of streaming, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group behind the Globes, also recognized shows that debuted on cable or movies that played extensively in theaters. “The Americans,” for instance, was sent off in style at the ceremony, capturing the best TV drama award over the likes of “Killing Eve” and “Pose.” The FX series about Cold War espionage wrapped its acclaimed run after six seasons and eight episodes. The network also won a best limited series or TV movie for “The Assassination of Gianni Versace,” and Darren Criss earned acting honors for his portrayal of serial killer Andrew Cunanan.
The evening had its share of bombshell moments, none more so than “The Wife” star Glenn Close’s victory over Lady Gaga in the best actress in a drama category. Close, tears streaking her cheeks, look stunned and sounded a magnanimous note. “We all should be up here together,” she said. Close, who play a spouse who sublimates her career ambitions to help her husband, went on to urge women to seize opportunities. “We have to say I can do that and I should be allowed to do that,” she added.
That wasn’t the only stunning moment. Rami Malek earned a best actor in a drama statue for his turn as Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody.” His win came at the expense of Bradley Cooper, the actor and director who had been expected to go home with some hardware for his performance as an alcoholic rock star. Malek omitted one name in his list of thank you’s, that of Bryan Singer, the director who was fired from the film after he failed to show up to set.
Christian Bale picked up a best actor in a comedy for his chameleonic performance as former vice president Dick Cheney in “Vice,” a role that required him to shave his head and pack on 40 pounds. The actor thanked “Satan” for giving him the inspiration to play a master bureaucrat who pushed the United States to invade Iraq. In a free-wheeling speech Bale quipped that “Vice” director Adam McKay picked him to play Cheney because of his ability to be “absolutely charisma-free and reviled.”
“The Favourite’s” Olivia Colman was honored as best actress in a comedy for a very different look at power. The English actress portrays the mercurial and depressive Queen Anne in the offbeat costume piece.
Regina King earned a best supporting actress statue for her turn as a fiercely supportive mother in “If Beale Street Could Talk.” In an evening in which inclusion and representation were frequently brought up in speeches and on the red carpet, King vowed that 50 percent of the roles on the films and shows that she produces will go to women.
“I just challenge anyone out there — anyone out there who is in a position of power, not just in our industry, in all industries, I challenge you to challenge yourselves and stand with us in solidarity,” said King.
Both “Vice” and “If Beale Street Could Talk” are backed by Annapurna, an indie film company that is backed by Megan Ellison, the daughter of Oracle founder Larry Ellison. The awards were a rare piece of good news for Annapurna, which has been brought low by a series of film flops such as “Detroit” and “Sisters Brothers.” Larry Ellison is pressuring his daughter to get the studio’s financial house in order and has grown tired of losing money.
“Green Book’s” Oscar chances have now been bolstered by its strong showing at the Globes, where it won three awards, the most of any movie. The film also scored a screenplay award and a supporting actor win for Mahershala Ali, who played jazz musician Don Shirley. “Green Book” won the audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival, but its awards chances dimmed after it failed to perform well commercially.
It may have been the Globes, but hosts Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh didn’t shy away from making fun of rival awards show the Oscars and the show’s ongoing public relations debacle with Kevin Hart. The comic had originally been tapped to host the Academy Awards, but stepped down after his past homophobic remarks recirculated on social media. The Hart imbroglio rekindled after Ellen DeGeneres urged the actor to reconsider his decision during a lengthy interview on her talk show.
Oh joked that they were asked to host the Globes because, “We’re the only two people who haven’t gotten in trouble for saying something offensive.” The pair also joked that at the end of the evening, “One lucky audience member will be picked to host the Oscars.”
In addition to hosting, Oh picked up a best actress in a TV drama statue for her role as an obsessive MI-6 agent in “Killing Eve.” When it came to emceeing, she and Samberg were kinder and gentler than such predecessors as Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and, most infamously, Ricky Gervais, all of whom used their stints to vivisect Hollywood pretension. Their most vicious zingers were jokes about how the octogenarian and septugenarian stars of “The Kominsky Method” needed to load up on antacid to get through dinner. Instead, they relied on moments of real emotion.
Oh, the daughter of Korean immigrants, teared up towards the end of the opening monologue, revealing that she took the gig because she wanted “to look out into this audience and witness this moment of change. And I’m not fooling myself…Next year could be different. It probably will be. But right now, this moment is real.”
Nominated films such as “Black Panther” and “Crazy Rich Asians” have hit theaters as the media business is under pressure to become more inclusive and to back more projects featuring women and people of color. There’s a lot of ground to make up. Black directors made strides, comprising fourteen percent of the filmmakers behind the top 100-grossing movies last year a 270% increase over 2017. However, only four of the 100 most successful movies were helmed by female directors.
Last year’s Globes unfolded in the wake of a series of sexual harassment scandals in Hollywood — a months-long reckoning ignited by the implosion of indie mogul Harvey Weinstein. In response, attendees took to the red carpet dressed in black. They also took activists and social justice advocates. This year was more muted. Attendees sported #TimesUp bracelets and ribbons, but sequined and brightly colored gowns returned to carpet in force.
Politics cropped up in other ways over the course of the evening. Cuaron used his moment at the microphone to talk about film’s power to inspire empathy, particularly at a moment when the U.S. government is being shut down over President Donald Trump’s claims that the country must build a wall to prevent a migrant crisis.
“Cinema at its best, builds bridges to other cultures,” said Cuaron. “As we cross these bridges, this experience and these new shapes and these new faces, we need to realize why they may be strange, they are not unfamiliar. We need to understand how much we have in common.”
Brad Simpson, executive producer of “The Assassination of Gianni Versace,” was more explicit in his calls to action. He noted that the miniseries was set in a time in the 1990s when legislators worked to prevent gay people from having equal rights.
“Those forces of hate are still with us,” said Simpson. “They tell us we should be scared of people different from us. They tell us we should put walls around ourselves. By artists would we must fight back by representing those not represented and by providing a space for people for new voices to tell stories that haven’t been told. As human beings, we should resist in the streets. Resist at the ballot box. And practice love and empathy in our every day lives.”
Viewers don’t just tune into the Globes telecast to watch screen legends sound off on presidential politics. Because booze is copious there’s a strong chance that audiences at home will see some stars feeling no pain or stumbling over their teleprompter banter while in their cups.
The Globes are second only to the Oscars in terms of film awards prominence. But the shows deviate not just in terms of their alcohol consumption, but also in the films they honor. Last year, the HFPA handed out the best drama prize to “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and the best comedy statue to “Lady Bird.” Neither film won best picture at the Academy Awards. Instead, Oscar voters awarded their top prize to “The Shape of Water.”
The Globes may be must-see TV, but the HFPA still struggles to be taken seriously. The group is comprised of fewer than 90 journalists and photographers who report on the entertainment industry for overseas outlets. The group has cracked down on what its members can accept in terms of gifts, but studios are still known to lavish the HFPA with catered lunches, parties, and access to movie stars. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the group behind the Oscars, boasts a much larger membership of over 8,000 people who work in the film business.
The HFPA has had to contend with two highly embarrassing recent scandals. In October, an error-filled profile of Drew Barrymore in EgyptAir’s in-flight magazine by former HFPA president Aida Takla-O’Reilly went viral. It was derided for dwelling on Barrymore’s personal life, claiming she was “unstable in her relationships.” Earlier this year, Takla-O’Reilly’s predecessor as HFPA chief, Philip Berk, was publicly accused of sexual harassment by Brendan Fraser. The actor said Berk groped him at a 2003 party. The HFPA’s internal investigation reportedly concluded that Berk had touched the actor inappropriately, but that he did so as a joke.
The group honored Jeff Bridges, the star of “The Big Lebowski” and “Crazy Heart,” with the Cecil B. DeMille award, its career achievement honor. For the first time, the HFPA extended its career salute to the world of television. Carol Burnett, the legendary variety show star, was the first recipient of the award, a fitting selection given that the organization named the prize in her honor.
“I’m really gobsmacked by this,” said Burnett. “Does this mean I get to accept this every year?”
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