Articles - February 2020

Golden Globe Awards

Hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association
An International Celebration

The British entertainment industry cut a swathe at the 77th Golden Globes, with actors and  program content from the United Kingdom carrying off several awards. But the Golden Globes – the first big awards event of the year  – also brought disappointment to some, not least to the streaming giant Netflix, which had 34 nominations going in, but notched up no more than a single win each in movies and television.

Successes from across the pond included the World War I movie 1917,  voted best picture by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and its British maker, Sam Mendes, as best director. Two years ago, the World War II film Dunkirk was nominated for four Golden Globes including best picture award. It didn’t get the top prize, but went on to earn eight Oscar nominations. So Mendes’ gripping epic of two young British soldiers on a special mission in the trenches was on the same path to cinematic glory. The best movie 2020 Oscar, however, went to the South Korean film Parasite.

Brit Taron Egerton won the best actor in a motion picture award for his portrayal of the singer Elton John in Rocketman. From the television season, Olivia Colman was sent victorious (to borrow a phrase from the UK’s national anthem) as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown series, even though the television critic of the Guardian newspaper remarked that all Ms. Colman was required to do as QEII was sit on a chair (he favored Jodie Comer from Killing Eve). Phoebe Waller-Bridge was voted best actress for Fleabag, which also won the best comedy series Globe. Brian Cox chalked up another British success as best actor in a drama for Succession. The creator of that series, Jesse Armstrong, was among other winning Brits (for best drama series).

It was hardly on people’s minds at the glittering, star-studded, Los Angeles event, but for some in the UK this good showing boosts hope that similar success by other areas of British business in the U.S. market will salvage the economy after leaving Europe. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pushing for a trade deal with the United States as a soft landing for the United Kingdom after Brexit.

With three much touted films, The Irishman, Marriage Story, and The Two Popes, to say nothing of The Crown in the television category Netflix looked set for multiple wins again this year. Instead, the Hollywood Foreign Press (HFPA) lived up to their frequent quirkiness and picked 1917 as best picture and went on to name Mendes as best director – in the process overlooking Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), and a small herd of the film world’s other sacred cows, including director Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in …Hollywood), actors Robert de Niro (not even nominated) and Joe Pesci, all of whom were seated in the hall, expecting ritual acclamation.

Quirkiness aside, several critics found the evening lacked the zaniness which had made it famous – and even mesmerizing in a deer-caught-in-the-headlights sort of way. This was the awards show that actually used the words Raquel Welch and best actress in the same sentence. It was where Jack Nicholson was known to do some unexpected shenanigans once or twice along the way.

Presenter Ricky Gervais – another Brit – didn’t help with his rather tired, take-no-prisoners approach, which included a handful of beeped jokes and a caustic warning to the nominees to keep politics out of their acceptance speeches because nobody was interested in their uninformed views. Gervais vowed this was his last appearance as Golden Globes presenter, and many fervently hoped the foreign press members wouldn’t try to change his mind.

There were, in fact, less pointed references to the U.S. political situation than in recent years. For instance, Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett brought the raging Australian bush fires to everyone’s attention – blaming global warming for the extent of the disaster.  Tom Hanks’ acceptance speech as this year’s recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille award was typical of the popular actor – good natured, and unassuming; and the accompanying visuals from his movies were a reminder of his remarkable range as an actor, and his enormous body of work in the industry.

The Golden Globe red carpet was an Aurora Borealis of color and glitter. Gone were the black gowns and pant suits of two years ago, worn in solidarity with Time’s Up and the #MeToo protest movements.  At the 2020 awards, over-the-top fashion statements were back, with giant sleeves a winning look giving prominence to the shoulders. Typical of this trend was Beyonce’s black gown by Schiaparelli, with a plunging neckline – but for the distraction of her gown’s monumental, metallic gold puff sleeves.

Other members of the big-sleeve contingent included Cate Blanchett in buttercup-pleated sleeves like folded wings, by Mary Katrantzou;  Jodie Comer, also in Katrantzou, with bat-wing sleeves; Zoey Deutch in a yolk-yellow Fendi jumpsuit with billowing, arm-length coverings; and Olivia Coleman in a red gown by Emilia Wickstead. Red was a popular color, as in Scarlett Johansson’s form fitting gown from Vera Wang, with a full train, and Nicole Kidman’s Atelier Versace sweeping creation in bright crimson with strapless bodice and slit front.

The inevitable shock and awe group included Kerry Washington in a blazer and skirt by Altuzarra with, underneath, a thin chain halter that left nothing to the imagination, and Goop creator and The Politician star Gwyneth Paltrow in a Fendi ensemble consisting of sheer, brown, tiered, see-through tulle. Jennifer Lopez, who has worn risqué outfits at past Golden Globes, was gift wrapped in a green Valentino ball gown with a large gold bow across her front. “Jennifer Lopez has come as a giant present,” remarked a clearly disapproving New York Times fashion editor Vanessa Friedman, “I thought we were past that.”  

Regardless of who won and who didn’t, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association successfully brings the industry together every January and it continues to be a welcomed pageantry.

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