'Atonement,' 'Sweeney' top glum Globes


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UPDATED 9:08 p.m. PT Jan. 13, 2008

As a sampling of entertainment anchors rattled off the winners like flight attendants tossing out bags of peanuts on a no-frills airline, the pomp-free Golden Globes on Sunday night slipped the biggest prize of the evening to "Atonement."

The British film about love and loss emerged from the wreckage of the downscaled event with the win for best motion picture drama and added another for Dario Marianelli's score.

"Atonement," which led the field with seven noms, was one of four film double winners at the pomp-and-circumstance-free 65th annual nonceremony. The 82 voters of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. also awarded two prizes apiece to "Sweeney Todd," "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" and "No Country for Old Men."

On the TV side, HBO's telefilm "Longford" collected the most wins of the evening with three Globes, while AMC's freshman series "Mad Men" made an impression with two wins, including one for best drama series.

Striking writers, who had threatened to picket the traditional televised awards banquet that NBC had planned to broadcast as a three-hour TV show, pulled the rug out from under the event. And then a standoff among NBC, Dick Clark Prods. and the HFPA led to the anti-climactic news conference at the Beverly Hilton.

No trophies were handed out, and no winners came to the stage to accept.

Although elated about the "Sweeney" wins, one of its producers, Hollywood scion Richard D. Zanuck said: "I appreciate what the writers are trying to achieve, but I'm really very, very sorry for the disruption -- not just on an event like this but on all of the people who aren't writers and will never recover what they've lost. I understand what the writers are going for, but it just a shame all around, and it's a tragedy in many cases."

The bloody "Sweeney Todd" took the top prize in the best musical or comedy category, and its star Johnny Depp, who plays a vengeful barber, was hailed as best actor in the musical/comedy category. It was Depp's first Globes win after seven previous nominations.

"No Country for Old Men," the neo-Western about a drug deal gone fatally wrong, earned the filmmaking team of Joel and Ethan Coen best screenplay honors and resulted in a best supporting actor nod for Javier Bardem, who plays the film's implacable killer Anton Chigurh.

When it came to best director, the Globes turned yet another corner and awarded that prize to fine artist-turned-director Julian Schnabel, recognized for the French-language film "Diving Bell and Butterfly," the true story about a stroke victim reclaiming his life. The drama also took top honors as best foreign-language film.

The dramatic acting awards went to Daniel Day-Lewis, who plays a remorseless oil baron in "There Will Be Blood," and Julie Christie, who stars as a woman losing a battle with Alzheimer's in "Away From Her." Both actors also were first-time Globe victors.

Frenchwoman Marion Cotillard was celebrated as best actress in a musical/comedy for embodying the tragic chanteuse Edith Piaf in "La Vie en Rose."

Cate Blanchett took a figurative bow as best supporting actress in a motion picture for her gender-bending performance as one of Bob Dylan's alter egos in "I'm Not There."

Eddie Vedder's "Guaranteed," from Sean Penn's road movie "Into the Wild," for which Vedder wrote both music and lyrics, prevailed in the best song category.

Disney/Pixar's "Ratatouille," set in a savory if rat-infested Parisian restaurant, was the dish of choice in the best animated film race. It's only the second year for the category, and Pixar is 2-for-2, having won last year for "Cars."

Studio specialty film divisions dominated the awards, and the evening, such as it was, was particularly sweet for Miramax Films and Paramount Vantage. Both companies, which have made a strong awards-season showing to date under the respective leadership of Daniel Battsek and John Lesher, shared in the noms for both "No Country" and "Blood," which the two divisions co-produced. Miramax picked up two more trophies for "Diving Bell and Butterfly," while Vantage secured an added nod for "Into the Wild."

While the awards inevitably will be trumpeted in advertisements promoting the films, their impact could be limited because winners and nominees lost out on most of the exposure to a wide network audience that a traditional Globes broadcast would have earned.

Of the evening's dual winners, "No Country" has shown the most commercial clout, having grossed nearly $47 million domestically, followed closely by "Sweeney Todd" with about $44 million. "Atonement," which has been slowly expanding its run, stands at a little more than $25 million, while "Diving Bell and Butterfly," which is still in limited release, has not yet hit the $2 million mark.

With no surrounding parties to attend, this year's Golden Globes night was over in a little more than 30 minutes.

"Rest assured that next year the Golden Globes will be back bigger and better than ever," HFPA president Jorge Camara promised as the news conference came to its quick conclusion.