Golden Globes 2019: Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book win big

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The Queen biopic and the road trip comedy won the major film awards while Olivia Colman and Christian Bale led a strong night for British talent

Jake Nevins

The Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody and the fact-based comedy Green Book won major film awards at the 76th annual Golden Globes in a night that also saw a strong showing for British talent.

Though his Spanish-language epic wasn’t eligible for inclusion in either main category, Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma was awarded best foreign language film, while the director-writer-cinematographer bested Bradley Cooper and Spike Lee to take home the prize for best director.

It was a victorious evening for British entertainers, with the stars of The Favourite, Vice, The Bodyguard, and A Very English Scandal recognized for their achievements in film and television. With wins for Roma, The Bodyguard, and the Michael Douglas-helmed comedy The Kominsky Method, Netflix will also be pleased with its haul.

But as the dead sprint to the Oscars heats up, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s decision to honor Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody with the evening’s two pre-eminent awards is sure to earn derision, both films having been accused by audiences and critics alike of handling subjects like race and sexuality in a reductive and regressive manner. Before he was fired during production, the latter film was partially directed by Bryan Singer, who has been accused of sexual assault.

Held at the Beverly Hilton and hosted by Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh, the 2019 Globes proved a somewhat less rousing affair than last year’s ceremony, when Oprah Winfrey gave an affecting speech that set off rumors of a potential 2020 run for the presidency, and celebrities wore all black and Time’s Up pins to honor the victims of sexual abuse.

But in the absence of Oprah and, for the most part, overt references to the president or contemporary hot-button issues, Oh and Samberg approached their co-hosting duties with a certain tongue-in-cheek wit, calling out various celebrities not for their alleged indiscretions but for their good looks or awards season spoils: “You’re hot,” they told Bradley Cooper; “Jacked AF”, they said of Black Panther’s Michael B Jordan, while Oh told the twice-nominated (and twice-losing) Amy Adams to “save some for the rest of us”.

 

Oh, however, would get her due, taking home the competitive award for best actress in a drama series for her stellar work in the cat-and-mouse thriller Killing Eve. The host triumphed over a murderer’s row of gifted contenders, including Julia Roberts, nominated for Homecoming; Elisabeth Moss, for The Handmaid’s Tale; and Keri Russell, for The Americans.

While Samberg and Oh emceed the ceremony with a refreshing dose of levity, the Killing Eve star did take a moment to acknowledge the considerable diversity amongst the show’s nominees. “I wanted to be here to look out into this audience and witness this moment of change,” she said, noting lucrative box office returns for minority-led films like Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians. “I’m not fooling myself. Next year could be different and probably will be. But this moment is real, because I see you.”

The Americans earned a surprising and indisputably well-deserved win in best drama series, a category for which the Soviet spy drama, which just completed its six-season run, had never before been nominated despite deep and consistent reserves of love among television critics. Along with Russell, the show’s lead Matthew Rhys was nominated for best actor in a drama series but lost out to Richard Madden of The Bodyguard, the smash hit six-part BBC series that notched the network its highest viewing figures in a decade.

In the drama acting categories, Glenn Close beat out Lady Gaga, Nicole Kidman, Melissa McCarthy, and Rosamund Pike for her powerful turn in The Wife, an adaptation of the Meg Wolitzer novel of the same name. Close’s speech, a galvanizing and heartfelt ode to women following their dreams, drew the night’s biggest applause, with the 13-time Globe nominee drawing parallels to her character’s struggle for recognition and fulfillment vis-à-vis her Nobel Prize-winning husband .

“It was called The Wife … that’s why it took 14 years to get made,” said Close, who’s now well-positioned to win her first Oscar at next month’s Academy awards. “We are women and nurturers, we have our children, and our husband’s if we are lucky enough, our partners, whoever. But we have to find personal fulfillment. We have to follow our dreams.”

Meanwhile, Bohemian Rhapsody’s Rami Malek upset Bradley Cooper to win best actor in a drama, making sure the star and director of A Star is Born, which was nominated for five awards on the evening and won one (best original song), went home with few spoils.

Christian Bale, undoubtedly buoyed by the headline-making physical metamorphosis he underwent for his role as Dick Cheney in Vice, won best actor in a comedy ormusical, cheekily thanking Satan for providing him with inspiration for the role of the former US vice president. Olivia Colman won best actress in a comedy or musical for her tragicomic turn in Yorgos Lanthimos’ period piece The Favourite, whose supporting players Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz were nominated for best supporting actress. Another British success came for Ben Whishaw for his portrayal of Norman Scott in A Very British Scandal.

 

 

Stone and Weisz, though, were beat out by Regina King, who won best supporting actress for her role in Barry Jenkins’ James Baldwin adaptation If Beale Street Could Talk. King defied the ceremony’s orchestral exit music to make an appeal for gender equality in Hollywood.

“I am making a vow to make sure that everything that I produce, it’s 50% women,” said King, who was also nominated for best actress in a limited series. “And I just challenge anyone out there who is in a position of power to stand with us in solidarity and do the same.”

The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, a breakout hit for Amazon and the darling of last year’s Globes, was upset by The Kominsky Method in the category of best comedy series, although Maisel’s star Rachel Brosnahan did notch her second consecutive win for best lead actress in a comedy series, beating out Alison Brie and Debra Messing. “Thank you to our incredible village it takes to make this show,” said Brosnahan, also an Emmy award winner in 2018. “And our village is a matriarchy.” Other television victors included a pair of Patricias: Arquette, for her lead actress work in the limited series Escape at Dannemora, and Clarkson, for her supporting work in Sharp Objects.

Michael Douglas, who plays the titular Sandy Kominsky in the Chuck Lorre-created Netflix series, won best actor in a comedy series, adding a fourth Golden Globe to his well-decorated mantle, which includes the Cecile B DeMille lifetime achievement award given to him in 2004. This year, that honor was bestowed upon Jeff Bridges, who took the stage in full “the Dude” mode, channeling Lebowski with a series of free-associative wise-cracks about his prolific film career, punctuating his sentences with the character’s famous addendum: “man”.

 

 

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse won the award for best animated feature film, beating out Ralph Breaks the Internet and Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs. Elsewhere, the Neil Armstrong space odyssey First Man was honored for its Justin Hurwitz-composed score; The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story for best limited series; and Mahershala Ali for best supporting actor for his portrayal of the pianist Don Shirley in Green Book, the true story of an unlikely friendship between a black and a white man in the 1960s American South, which also won best screenplay.

This year’s awards also marked the debut of a non-competitive honor for career achievement in television, named for Carol Burnett, also the award’s inaugural recipient. Burnett, whose visionary variety show The Carol Burnett Show won eight Golden Globe and 25 Emmy Awards over its 11-season run, was introduced by Steve Carell, who called her “one of the most revered, respected, and well-liked people in show business”.

Burnett was greeted with rapturous applause by the Globes audience. “I’m really gobsmacked by this,” said the comic pioneer, who dedicated the award “to all those who share the love I have for television”, capping her speech with her celebrated ear-tug gesture, a nod to the grandmother who raised her.

 

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