The 59th annual Golden Globes majored in math, with a minor in music.
“A Beautiful Mind,” Universal/DreamWorks’ bio about troubled mathematician John Nash from Imagine Entertainment, won four Globes: drama film, actor Russell Crowe (who won an Oscar last year for “Gladiator” after losing the Globe to Tom Hanks), scripter Akiva Goldsman and supporting actress Jennifer Connelly. Director Ron Howard and Brian Grazer accepted the award.
Fox’s bold and bright musical “Moulin Rouge” was a triple winner, triumphing for best musical/comedy film, for actress Nicole Kidman (who was a double nominee this year) and composer Craig Armstrong.
Six other films won one apiece. Miramax also scored a trio of prizes, for three different films.
In the history of the Golden Globes, only a quintet of pics have won five Globes, and “Mind” joins a group of 17 previous films that have won four. (The last was “Titanic” in 1997.)
In most years, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. distributes the kudos widely; last year, for example, no film won more than two awards.
So multiple wins are a major achievement, especially this year. The kudos from critics and orgs such as the American Film Institute have been all over the place; just as one film seemed to be building momentum (i.e., two wins in a row), it hit a speed bump as some other contender stole the spotlight.
One of the biggest winners of the evening was Australia, thanks to writer-director Baz Luhrmann (who accepted the award for “Moulin Rouge”), Kidman, Crowe, Armstrong and TV victors Judy Davis and Rachel Griffiths.
Accepting the award for best musical or comedy, director and co-producer Luhrmann spoke of “the journey of ‘Moulin Rouge’ to see the musical come back to the place of credibility that I enjoyed as a child.” And he smilingly thanked “the entire nation of Australia, who was in the film.”
Robert Altman won as best helmer for “Gosford Park,” and was rewarded with one of the few standing ovations of the evening. Aside from saluting his producers, writer, actors and other collaborators, the director praised USA Films: “For me to say this, this is a lot: They’re doing a terrific job.”
Scribe Goldsman’s win for “Mind” was the only adapted screenplay in a category that mixes adaptations and originals.
The supporting film nods went to two thesps playing real-life, supportive and long-suffering spouses of geniuses: Connelly in “Mind” and Jim Broadbent in “Iris.”
The Bosnian film “No Man’s Land” from United Artists won as best foreign-language film. It was the most topical win of the evening, but director Danis Tanovic’s brief comments did not address the issues, only thanking the people at MGM/United Artists.
As for the race ratio, there were a trio of acting contenders who are black — Will Smith, Halle Berry, Denzel Washington — but everyone in the winner’s circle was white.
On the TV side, cable edged out broadcast networks 7-4. HBO reveled in six wins, including a surprise victory for drama series “Six Feet Under.” The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. often likes to reward newcomers, which it did in most of the TV acting races; the only TV repeats were HBO’s third consecutive wins for both comedy series “Sex and the City” and its star, Sarah Jessica Parker.
ABC nabbed three wins, while Fox and TNT took home one apiece.
HBO’s trophies also included the miniseries-telefilm prize for “Band of Brothers,” with exec producers Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg on hand to accept — a clear signal that Hollywood heavyweights take these awards seriously; in 23 of the 24 categories, the winners were on hand to accept.
The only no-show was Gene Hackman, who won for lead actor in a musical or comedy, for Disney’s “The Royal Tenenbaums.” It was explained that the thesp had missed his plane connection.
A slew of Hollywood films were released in the past two months, hoping to tap into the awards season. In many cases it worked: “Rouge” was the only winner Sunday night that had been released in the first half of the year.
While nearly half of the awards go to television, the film noms get the most attention, due to the timing. The nominations were unveiled Dec. 20, when Oscar voters were wading through a glut of year-end releases.
And the awards ceremony takes place in mid-January, when Oscar voters still have nomination ballots in hand. The Globes are often touted as a bellwether of the Academy Awards, but that’s not always the case. Last year, only six of the 10 Golden Globe film winners went on to take home an Academy Award. (Though the HFPA gives out 13 pic awards, three are duplications, thanks to the org splitting the film, lead actor and actress categories into comedy or drama.)
Among the films with multiple noms that went home empty-handed: “Mulholland Drive” and “The Lord of the Rings,” with four noms each, and triple nominees “A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” “Ali” and “The Man Who Wasn’t There.”
But no one should feel left out. A few years ago, “The Thin Red Line” was unable to muster even one Globe nomination, but ended up with seven Oscar nominations.
Return to normalcy
After the Emmys, which were subdued in the wake of Sept. 11, the Globes marked a return to normalcy for kudocasts — if one can ever call kudocasts “normal.” But it was back to black-ties and gowns, post-awards parties (a slew of studios and networks took over various spaces at the BevHilton for their fetes) and breathless, often lengthy acceptance speeches.
The Globes got off to fast start, presenting four prizes in the first 15 minutes, but the winning thesps slowed things down with their litany of thanks for executives, filmmakers, family members and other names.
One of the evening’s most touching moments came when presenter Kevin Spacey asked everyone to raise their glass in honor of director Ted Demme, who died last week at age 38.
Harrison Ford was handed the Cecil B. DeMille Award “not only for his acting achievements, philanthropic endeavors and trademark sincerity, but also for the passion that has fueled his life,” according to the org.
Ford deadpanned that he’s thrilled to win “in a category where the competition is dead.” He said he wrote a long speech and a short one. “I’ll give you the short one: Thank you. But it seems there might be time for the long one, which is ‘Thank you very much.’ ” (He continued to briefly praise and thank his collaborators and the people who gave him opportunities.)
Though the Globes are touted as an Oscar predictor, they actually may have a better record as an Emmy bellwether. For years, the HFPA has pioneered unusual choices in the TV realm that later garnered Emmy attention: “The X-Files,” “Sex and the City,” etc.
This year, the potential ground-breaker is “Six Feet Under,” which was tapped best drama series over such heavyweight contenders as “The Sopranos” and “The West Wing.” Rachel Griffiths also won for “Six Feet” in the supporting race.
The HFPA was evidently in a bio rhythm. Aside from the film wins of Crowe, Broadbent and Connelly, both leads in the miniseries-telefilm race went to actors playing real actors: Judy Davis in ABC’s “Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows,” and James Franco in TNT’s “James Dean.” And “Band of Brothers” is also a based-on-fact project.
There were many familiar faces in the TV races, with numerous past winners and nominees contending. But, aside from Parker, the HFPA favored newcomers (as it has often done in the past).
Landing in the winner’s circle were first-time nominees Jennifer Garner for the first-season “Alias” on ABC; two second-generation thesps in Kiefer Sutherland for the freshman series “24″ on Fox, and Charlie Sheen, ABC’s “Spin City”; and Griffiths.
Several of those wins served as reminders of the strong presence that film companies often have in TV. Imagine TV was repped by “24,” DreamWorks TV for “Spin City,” Touchstone for “Alias.”
Garner’s acceptance speech was one of the funniest and most exuberant. As she took the podium, the actress laughed, “I’m kinda glad I had the first glass of wine, I’m kinda regretting the second.”
Dagmar Dunlevy, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., took the stage and said the event is “now referred to around the world as the Hollywood party of the year.”
The HFPA, composed of L.A.-based journalists who write for overseas news organizations, has 87 voting members this year (plus three new members, who’ll be allowed to vote next year).
But people do take the event seriously — particularly Oscar contenders and campaigners. The HFPA has worked hard to gain respect in this town, by emphasizing its charity work, scholarships and the credentials of its members.
Even the most vocal detractors admit that the event is fun, plus the show always garners hot ratings for NBC. Besides, it’s impressive that a small group of journalists can last this long and get a hefty TV deal.