What were my biggest takeaways from the 72nd Golden Globe Awards, which were presented on Sunday evening in Beverly Hills? Here are five about film and five about TV.
Read more Golden Globes Complete Winners List
1. Boyhood is gonna be very hard to beat at the Oscars
It’s true that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which determines the Golden Globe Awards, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which determines the Academy Awards, are almost completely different groups — “almost” because they do share one member in common — and so it’s foolhardy to read too much into the former when trying to anticipate the latter. But we do know that the HFPA has always been more inclined than the Academy to reward big names (i.e., celebrities) and big productions (i.e., Avatar), which is why I think that the big win for Boyhood — a tiny indie by a low-key filmmaker and starring no A-listers — is kind of a big deal. If Boyhood can make it there (i.e., winning best drama, best director for Richard Linklater and best supporting actress for Patricia Arquette), then I think it probably can make it anywhere (i.e., the Oscars). Quite simply, it stands out, with its unique narrative, in a year in which few other films do, and I’d be very surprised if its momentum stops anytime soon.
2. Budapest, not Birdman, may be Fox Searchlight’s strongest contender
It’s been a pretty incredible week for Wes Anderson‘s spring release The Grand Budapest Hotel, which captured a field-leading 11 BAFTA noms and then upset Birdman to win the best musical or comedy Golden Globe. Can one expect Budapest to continue its strong run on Thursday when Oscar nominations are announced? Yes, it will probably do very well — but I’m not sure that it will resonate nearly as much with the American-heavy Academy as it has with voters abroad. It has a very particular style and dry sensibility that I think Europeans appreciate more than Americans. (Heck, just featuring a European place in your film’s title seems to give one a strong shot with the HFPA!) And considering that the Academy has never really gone for Anderson’s work in the past, it’s hard to imagine why this film, which is very much in the mold of his previous films, would be much different. My hunch is that Birdman is still its better bet in the big Oscar races.
3. Redmayne is the real deal — but Keaton’s not going down without a fight
The Golden Globes provided two — perhaps the two — top best actor Oscar contenders with moments in the winner’s circle: The Theory of Everything‘s Eddie Redmayne for drama and Birdman‘s Michael Keaton for musical/comedy. Both were widely expected to win, so the really interesting thing was always to see if one might be able to distinguish himself from the other by giving a particularly great speech. Redmayne, who could charm a snake into a house pet, was on, as always — seemingly spontaneous, self-deprecating and gracious. Meanwhile, Keaton, who doesn’t have the same natural way with words, seemed to come in with a game plan, namely to emphasize (a) how much he appreciates being back in the cool club, (b) his humble beginnings and (c) his close relationship with his son — all very endearing things. The delivery wasn’t perfect, but the message was clear: Keaton wants an Oscar, he knows he may not have another shot at getting one and he’s willing to do what it takes to give himself the best possible chance. Expect both of these gentlemen to put on the full-court press during phase two.
Read more Golden Globes: What You Didn’t See on TV
4. The animated and foreign film categories are real dogfights this year
For a while there, many were penciling in The Lego Movie and Ida — two unusual, critically acclaimed films — as slam-dunks in the animated and foreign-language film Oscar categories, respectively. What the Globes remind us is that those films face some serious competition. How to Train Your Dragon 2, which joined Toy Story 3 as the only sequels to have won the animated film Globe, has some real critical champions — and the purse strings of DreamWorks Animation’s Jeffrey Katzenberg behind it. Considering how aggressively DWA fought last year on behalf of The Croods, which never received this kind of love, one can only imagine how hard it will fight on behalf of this one, which also happens to have been produced by Bonnie Arnold, the newly minted co-head of production at the operation. (Plus one should also never count out Disney and Big Hero 6.) Over on the foreign-language side, I was the only pundit to predict Leviathan for the win (despite the fact that Russia hadn’t won the award since 1969). Why? Because (a) I knew it went over very well with the HFPA, four members of which now hail from the country, and (b) I’ve seen all nine films on the Academy’s shortlist and can tell you that Leviathan, as well as Sweden’s Force Majeure (which was nominated for the Globe) and Mauritania’s Timbuktu (which wasn’t), are all ballsy and incredible and could really give Ida a run for its money at the Oscars — even if Pawel Pawlikowski‘s black-and-white Polish film is connected to the one topic that most consistently resonates with Academy members: the Holocaust.
5. The score you hear the most (in a good film) is usually the one that wins
The reason why I was one of very few pundits to correctly predict the best original score winner is not only because I personally thought Johann Johannson‘s music for The Theory of Everything‘s is the year’s best and I can’t stop playing it, but also because it fits the mold of many recent Golden Globe and Oscar winners: It is showcased over long, dialogue-free stretches — allowing it to really be heard and appreciated — in a film that is also widely liked. Let’s break that down. That certainly applies to the last four films that won the best original score Globe — the meditative The Social Network, the dialogue-free The Artist and the lost-at-sea Life of Pi and All Is Lost — and it certainly applies to Theory, throughout which there are numerous dialogue-free montages to illustrate the progression of Stephen Hawking‘s physical degeneration and then, most powerfully, a long one right at the end of the film that shows his life in reverse, leading right into an incredible credits sequence that unspools to the music as well. I would bet you anything that that’s what bagged it the Globe over dialogue-heavy films Birdman and The Imitation Game and the less popular — at least among folks the age of Academy and HFPA members — films Gone Girl and Interstellar.
1. New shows that get nominated generally do well
It is a well-known maxim that the HFPA loves to reward new series and people associated with them so that it can claim to be the group that really gave them their start — past examples include Sex and the City, Girls and, just last year, Brooklyn Nine-Nine. This year, however, took things to a whole new level: only two of the 11 TV-specific winners were for shows that weren’t brand new this TV season (Downton Abbey and House of Cards). The others all went to newbies: Showtime’s The Affair (best drama series, best actress in a drama series Ruth Wilson); Amazon’s Transparent (best comedy series, best actor in a comedy series Jeffrey Tambor); FX’s Fargo (best miniseries or TV movie, best actor in a miniseries or TV movie Billy Bob Thornton); The CW’s Jane the Virgin (best actress in a comedy series Gina Rodriguez), which was renewed just yesterday; Sundance TV’s The Honorable Woman (best actress in a miniseries or TV movie Maggie Gyllenhaal); HBO’s The Normal Heart (best supporting actor in a series, miniseries or TV movie Matt Bomer).
2. Love was spread among many different content producers
Like some of the early film awards season events that always seem to divvy their awards up rather evenly among the studios that they then try to sell tables to, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association spread its 11 TV-specific prizes among seven different content producers, meaning many had something to celebrate — Amazon (two wins), FX (two), Showtime (two), The CW (one), HBO (one), Netflix (one), PBS (one) and Sundance TV (one) — but no show really swept.
3. Much more than the TV Academy, the HFPA embraces new technology
While the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which determines the Emmys, continues to live in the 20th century by failing to acknowledge streaming networks in any meaningful way — one still hasn’t taken home a major Emmy — the same can certainly no longer be said for the HFPA, which sent Netflix home with a prize last year (best actress in a TV series, drama, for Robin Wright), and last night made Amazon (two wins for Transparent) and Netflix (another win for House of Cards, this time for Kevin Spacey) very happy. Netflix has been on the general public’s radar for a couple of years by now, but last night was really Amazon and Transparent‘s big coming-out party, if you’ll pardon the pun — which is probably why Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who is not exactly known for being an omnipresent social animal, was personally in attendance last night at the show (where I saw him chatting with Ari Emanuel) and at the TWC/Netflix afterparty (where I saw him chatting with Harvey Weinstein). Knowing what sort of resources Amazon has, there is no reason not to think that Transparent is only the first of many awards-caliber shows to emerge from the studio division of America’s largest Internet-based retailer.
4. The HFPA doesn’t care what the TV Academy thinks
Julia Louis-Dreyfus has gone three for three at the Emmys for Veep, including a win at the most recent ceremony — and zero for three at the Globes for the same show, including a loss last night. Of the other big winners at the most recent Emmys who were also eligible for Globe love, Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory‘s Jim Parsons weren’t even nominated and The Good Wife‘s Julianna Margulies, Mom‘s Allison Janney and The Normal Heart all lost. So much for peer pressure!
5. Category fraud doesn’t necessarily pay off
Last year, Orange Is the New Black, for its buzzy first season, and Shameless, already well into its run, both competed for the Globes on the drama side, even though both are clearly comedies, or at least dramedies. Orange landed a best actress in a drama nom for its terrific star, Taylor Schilling, but that was it, and Shameless was shut out entirely. This year they both reconfigured their game plans, entered the race as musicals/comedies — and both did much better, with Orange landing series, lead actress and supporting actress noms and Shameless registering a nom in the lead actor category. Neither show won any prizes, but they factored into the game. Of course, there’s an exception to every rule: Edie Falco has received best actress in a musical/comedy noms for Nurse Jackie, a show that offers precious few laughs, in four of the last six years, including this one — despite her own insistence, in her 2010 Emmy acceptance speech for the show, that she’s “not funny!”