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Oscar Frontrunners are Crowned at the 69th Annual Golden Globes

January 16, 2012

By John C.

Uggie helps accept the Golden Globe for The Artist

Hosting the Golden Globes for the third year in a row, Ricky Gervais opened last night’s telecast by saying to the room full of nominees “nervous?  Don’t be.  This isn’t about you.”  Despite the usual sort of snarky comments from the British comedian, the show was less cynical and in better taste than last year’s telecast, with several nice moments coming courtesy of the presenters.  Even though it was often predictable who was going to win, I enjoyed watching the awards be handed out.

Over his opening monologue, Ricky Gervais went on to say that “the Globes are to the Oscars what Kim Kardashian is to Kate Middleton.  A bit louder, a bit trashier, a bit drunker and more easily bought.”  He paused, before safely adding “allegedly.  Nothing’s been proved.”  Even if Gervais did get in some questionable jabs at Jodie Foster, Colin Firth and Natalie Portman to name only a few, he was absent for much of the evening and I got the sense that people were a lot less offended than they rightfully were last year.

The first award of the night was for Best Supporting Actor, and it went to Christopher Plummer for Beginners.  The iconic Canadian gave a classy acceptance speech, while putting the focus on his co-star Ewan McGregor.  Later in the night, Octavia Spencer was named Best Supporting Actress for her great performance in The Help.  “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance,” she said quoting Martin Luther King in her heartfelt acceptance speech, before making sure to thank “the most amazing cast and crew” for their work on the film.  Although I’m also a big fan of fellow nominees Jessica Chastain (The Help) and Shailene Woodley (The Descendants), this was one of my favourite wins of the night.

Octavia Spencer wins Best Supporting Actress for The Help

Michelle Williams took home Best Actress – Comedy or Musical for her breathtaking performance in My Week with Marilyn.  It’s the same award that Marilyn Monroe herself won for Some Like it Hot way back in 1960.  Best Actress – Drama predictably went to Meryl Streep’s good performance as Margaret Thatcher in the mediocre film The Iron Lady, beating out Viola Davis for The Help.  This is Streep’s eighth Golden Globe.  Best Actor – Comedy or Musical went to Jean Dujardin for his brilliant work in The Artist.  His classy and charming acceptance was made even more admirable when he silently delivered the last few words of his speech.

One of the best wins of the night was in the Best Actor – Drama category, when George Clooney took home the gold for The Descendants.  Delivering as awesome and suave an acceptance speech as we have come to expect, he also delivered what was by far the funniest moment of the night.  Aided by a nice little sway from side to side, he referenced fellow nominee Michael Fassbender’s excessive full frontal nudity in Shame by asking the actor “do you play golf with your hands behind your back?”  The award was presented by Natalie Portman.  The actress was everywhere last awards season for her brilliant performance in Black Swan, and it was great to see her back in the spotlight.

George Clooney wins Best Actor for The Descendants

Ludovic Bource easily took home Best Musical Score for his beautiful work on The Artist, and it was the first of three wins for one of the best films of the year.  Although there weren’t many surprises in the very deserving list of winners, that doesn’t mean there weren’t some big disappointments.  After Madonna won Best Song for the simplistic electronic earworm “Masterpiece” from her overdone melodrama W.E., I tweeted a reminder that this was “an award for best song of the year, not worst.”  This seems like nothing more than an award that was given to the singer, without any thought given to the merits of the actual song.

The legendary Steven Spielberg won Best Animated for The Adventures of Tintin, and veterans of the industry were also honoured in the Best Screenplay and Best Director categories.  The first went to Woody Allen for his brilliant and nostalgic script for Midnight in Paris.  Allen was predictably missing in action, but presenter Nicole Kidman thanked the Hollywood Foreign Press Association on his behalf.  In a split with the Best Picture categories, Martin Scorsese took home Best Director for the unforgettable Hugo.  One of the most amusing moments of the evening came when he said “sit down, everybody” after getting a much deserved standing ovation.

Which brings us right back to the winners in the Best Picture categories.  Comedy or Musical went to The Artist.  This is the first time a silent picture has ever won the award, making this a true testament to the power of film.  The adorable little dog Uggie was on stage to help his human co-stars accept the award, and he stole the show.  The equally deserving winner of Best Picture – Drama was The Descendants.  A deeply moving and beautifully acted film, it was nice to hear the producers and director Alexander Payne get in a thank you to author Kaui Hart Hemmings before they left the stage.  There is such a perfect symmetry to the fact that both The Artist and The Descendants can both share in being Best Picture winners.  One is a silent film that doesn’t rely on sound to tell a heartfelt story, and the other is a deeply moving film that could only exist with dialogue.

Morgan Freeman was awarded the Cecil B. DeMille honorary achievement award at the 69th Annual Golden Globes, and a great montage of clips reminded us that he is one of the greatest actors of our generation.  Ricky Gervais toned back the nastiness of last year, but still managed to crack a few jokes at the expense of other celebrities and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.  Throughout the night, Oscar frontrunners predictably emerged as the winners, with the awards presented by some of the biggest names in the industry.  You can see numerous photos from the red carpet, backstage and during the show over at IMDb.  All of this only adds to the anticipation of what is to come on February 26th when the Academy Awards are handed out.

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