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After striking out in six other categories in which it was nominated, 12 Years a Slave pulled out a last-minute win as it was named best drama at the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday night. Steve McQueen, who directed the harrowing look at American slavery, rattled off multiple thank-yous as the evening drew to a close, making special mention of Brad Pitt, one of the film’s producers. While Pitt wasn’t present, McQueen said to him, “Without you, this movie would have never gotten made.”
American Hustle took the prize as best comedy. That film also earned acting honors for Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence. Although writer-director David O. Russell didn’t score awards for writing or directing, the win did represent his second film in as many years to take home that award, which went last year to his Silver Linings Playbook. Said producer Charles Roven of Hustle, “We had the privilege of telling this particular story about the art of survival, about resilience and about reinvention.”
But while the folks behind Fox Searchlight’s Slave and Sony’s Hustle could head on to the post-Globe parties in a celebratory frame of mind — both movies led the field as the evening began with seven nominations each — no one film dominated the night. The Globes’ 14 film awards were spread across 11 features.
Kicking off the festivities, hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler acknowledged how competitive this year’s film races have been, with Fey joking, “No offense to the movies and nominees last year, but this year is legit.”
To just about nobody’s surprise, critics darling Cate Blanchett scored as best actress in a drama for her portrait of a down-on-her-luck society dame in Blue Jasmine. She credited her director, Woody Allen, for turning out films with “such alarming regularity that we almost take it for granted.” The prize was Blanchett’s third Globe, following her best actress win for 1998’s Elizabeth and supporting actress trophy for 2007’s I’m Not There.
In the very competitive best dramatic actor category, the victor was Matthew McConaughey for playing a straight redneck who battles AIDS in Dallas Buyers Club. Taking home his first-ever Globe, the actor noted the movie’s extra long development history, saying, “I’m so glad it got passed on so many times or it wouldn’t have come to me.” He concluded by proclaiming, “This film was never about dying. It was always about living.”
Adams was named best actress in a comedy or musical for her turn as a conniving con woman in Hustle. Thanking her director, Russell, for whom she has appeared in both The Fighter and Hustle, she said, “Thank you so much for letting the world know a princess can punch and wear a low-cut gown.”
Leonardo DiCaprio picked up his second Globe — he previously won for 2004’s The Aviator — as best actor in a comedy or musical for playing a hedonistic trader in The Wolf of Wall Street. He devoted much of his acceptance speech to lavishing praise on the film’s director, Martin Scorsese, telling the director, “You’re not only an incredible visionary, but you put the very fabric of our culture up there on the screen.”
The award for best director went to Alfonso Cuaron for the orbiting Gravity. The Mexican-born director made fun of his own accent in his acceptance speech. While expressing his thanks to Sandra Bullock, “the most amazing collaborator,” he explained, she didn’t quit the movie when she thought he’d said, “I will give you herpes” when he really had said, “I will give you an ear piece.”
Lawrence scored the first award of the evening as she was hailed as best supporting actress in a motion picture for her performance as an unstable wife in Hustle. A visibly nervous Lawrence, who won a Globe for best actress in a comedy last year for Silver Linings Playbook, exclaimed: “I’m sorry I’m shaking so much. Don’t ever do this again.”
The award for best supporting actor went to Jared Leto, who portrayed a transsexual dealing with AIDS in Dallas. The actor joked at first — “that tiny little Brazilian bubble butt was all mine,” he said of the lengths that he took to transform himself for the part — but then turned serious. “I didn’t make a film for almost six years,” he said, “and I just have to say it’s more than an honor to come back and to have this love and this support.”
Her, the unconventional love story about a man and his computer’s operating system, earned that film’s writer-director, Spike Jonze, the award for best screenplay. As he accepted, he gave a shout-out to producer-financier Megan Ellison, sitting near the stage, as well as Hustle‘s Russell, who, Jonze said, gave him notes on the film and suggested cuts.
The singer-songwriter Alex Ebert earned the award for best score for his work on the tale of survival-at-sea All Is Lost. It was his first film score, first nomination and first Globe win, and he thanked the film’s director, J.C. Chandor, “for letting me try all over your movie.”
The award for best song went to U2 for “Ordinary Love,” the song the rock group wrote for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. In accepting, The Edge noted that the group had had a long association with the late Nelson Mandela, having performed concerts against apartheid as teens. “This really is personal for us — very, very personal,” Bono added. “This man turned our life upside down, rightside up.”
Italy’s The Great Beauty, a look at modern-day Italian society inspired by Federico Fellini‘s classic La Dolce Vita, was singled out as best foreign film. The feature also is one of the nine films on the shortlist for the foreign-language Academy Award. In accepting for director Paolo Sorrentino, producer Nicola Giuliano threw in a thanks to “Italy — that’s a crazy country but beautiful.”
Disney’s Frozen, which has grossed more than $712 million worldwide, was rewarded with the trophy for best animated film. While accepting with his fellow director on the movie (Jennifer Lee), Chris Buck thanked the movie’s fans and offered special thanks to John Lasseter and Ed Catmull, who oversee the combined animation activities of Disney and Pixar.
Emma Stone, who appears in the director’s upcoming Magic in the Moonlight, introduced a tribute to Allen, recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award, the Globes’ annual career achievement honor. “Woody’s work has been changing the way we think about life, love and the pursuit of neuroses for decades,” Stone said.
The awards-show-phobic Allen wasn’t present, but his Annie Hall muse and one-time love interest Diane Keaton accepted on his behalf. “It kind of breaks my heart to know I’ve known Woody for such a long time,” Keaton said of their 45-year-long friendship. She made special mention of Allen’s knack for working with actresses — 179 of them by Keaton’s count — and creating “the voices of four decades of unforgettable female characters.” Said Keaton, “Woody’s women can’t be compartmentalized.”
The awards, broadcast live by NBC from The Beverly Hilton hotel, are presented annually by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, an organization of about 90 foreign journalists who cover Hollywood and the entertainment industry.
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