HFPA spreads film prizes among diverse slate of contenders

It was a night for “Argo,” “Les Miserables”. . . and almost everyone else.

Robbed of their power as an Oscar bellwether, the 70th annual Golden Globes on Sunday at the Beverly Hilton spread the wealth in a showcase of the diverse strength of this year’s awards contenders.

Among 14 film categories, there were 10 different winning movies, with “Argo” and “Les Miserables” earning the top prizes in drama and musical/comedy picture, respectively. Neither film earned an Oscar nomination for directors Ben Affleck or Tom Hooper.

In musical/comedy, “Les Miserables” — which won a leading three Golden Globes on the night to “Argo’s” two — beat out “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” and “Silver Linings Playbook.”

“The first thing I would love to say is that this room has made some amazing films and some amazing TV shows this year,” Working Title principal and “Les Miserables” producer Eric Fellner said. “I would like to congratulate everybody here, because it’s been incredible. For those films to be making money and financed by studios, I think there’s a great future for the film business now, which is fantastic.”

“Argo” topped “Django Unchained,” “Life of Pi,” “Lincoln” and “Zero Dark Thirty” in drama.

“We want to thank Ben Affleck, our fearless leader,” “Argo” producer Grant Heslov said. “I (also) want to thank all the thousands of people working in our diplomatic services (and clandestine services) putting their lives on the line.”

Reversing years of history, this Golden Globes took place after the Oscar nominations were announced, eliminating what impact they might have had on the Academy Awards process and instead capitalizing on the interest Thursday’s AMPAS nominations generated. Combined with its ongoing separation of drama and musical/comedy, the Globes took on the aspect of a roll call of 2012 films.

Little underscored the divergence more than the directing Golden Globe that went to Affleck, three days after AMPAS did not vote him an Oscar nomination in the category. Affleck came out ahead of two Oscar director nominees, Ang Lee (“Life of Pi”) and Steven Spielberg (“Lincoln”), as well as Kathryn Bigelow of “Zero Dark Thirty” and Quentin Tarantino of “Django Unchained.”

“I don’t care what the award is,” said Affleck, who also won at the Critics Choice Movie Awards on Thursday for director hours after his Oscar noms omission. “When they put your name next to the names she just read off, it’s an extraordinary thing in your life,” he said, also citing bypassed potential nominees such as Paul Thomas Anderson of “The Master.”

“Django Unchained” was the night’s first double winner, picking up trophies for Christoph Waltz for supporting actor and Tarantino for screenplay.

“Everyone who wins a screenplay award, that means everything went well (and) you have the actors,” Tarantino said. “This is a damn surprise, and I’m happy to be surprised.”

Waltz trumped Tommy Lee Jones of “Lincoln,” Alan Arkin (“Argo”) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (“The Master”) as well as his castmate, Leonardo DiCaprio. Tarantino topped Mark Boal of “Zero Dark Thirty,” Tony Kushner of “Lincoln,” David O. Russell of “Silver Linings Playbook” and Chris Terrio of “Argo.”

The musical/comedy category amounted to something of a showdown between its two Oscar nominees, “Les Miserables” and “Silver Linings Playbook,” ending with the picture win for “Les Miserables.” An under-the-weather Hugh Jackman of “Miserables” won for lead actor.

“I was kicking myself for not getting a flu shot, but it appears you don’t need one — I feel great,” Jackman said.

“Three weeks before we stated filming, we had a terrible day of rehearsal. I came home and said it’s time … to find someone else to play this role,” he added, crediting his wife for giving him the extra burst of confidence he needed.

Jennifer Lawrence of “Silver Linings Playbook” — the only Oscar nominee in her category — won for lead actress in a comedy or musical, besting such long-pedigreed actresses as Judi Dench (“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”), Maggie Smith (“Quartet”) and Meryl Streep (“Hope Springs”).

“I beat Meryl,” Lawrence joked. “Harvey (Weinstein), thank you for killing whoever you had to kill to get me up here today.”

Fellow Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain won lead drama actress for “Zero Dark Thirty,” ahead of Marion Cotillard (“Rust and Bone”), Helen Mirren (“Hitchcock”), Naomi Watts (“The Impossible”) and Rachel Weisz (“The Deep Blue Sea”).

“I’ve wanted to be an actor since I was little girl — I’ve worked for a really long time,” Chastain said in an emotional acceptance speech. “I’ve auditioned and struggled and fought and been on the sidelines for years, and to be here now in this moment is a beautiful feeling.

“To Kathryn Bigelow, my director, I can’t help but compare my character of Maya to you. Two powerful, fearless women that allow their expert work to stand for them. When you make a film that allows your character to disobey the conventions of Hollywood, you’ve done more for women in cinema than you’ve taken credit for.”

Daniel Day-Lewis, the oft-presumed frontrunner in acting this awards season, won lead drama actor for “Lincoln.”

“If I had this on a timeshare basis, with my wonderful gifted colleagues, I might just hope to keep it for one day and be happy with that,” Day-Lewis said, before thanking Spielberg for giving him “an experience I’ll treasure for the rest of my life.”

Anne Hathaway of “Les Miserables” scored the supporting actress honor ahead of Amy Adams (“The Master”), Sally Field (“Lincoln”), Helen Hunt (“The Sessions”) and Nicole Kidman (“The Paperboy”).

“Blurgh,” said Hathaway, quoting Globes co-host Tina Fey’s “30 Rock” catchphrase.

“Thank you for this lovely blunt object that I will forever use as a weapon against self-doubt,” she added, before addressing Field directly in the audience. “As the girl who started as the Princess of Genovia (in ‘The Princess Diaries’), I can’t tell you how encouraging it was to know that the Flying Nun grew up to be Norma Rae.”

Disney’s “Brave” was named best animated film, while “Amour,” representing Austria, was the winner in foreign film.

“I never thought (I would) get an award in Hollywood from an Austrian,” director Michael Haneke said, after Arnold Schwarzenegger co-presented the category. “The base (of the trophy) is for me and the crew, but the Globe is for those fantastic actors.”

“Amour” outtallied “A Royal Affair,” “The Intouchables,” “Kon-Tiki” and “Rust and Bone” in the foreign-film race, while “Brave” topped “Frankenweenie,” “Hotel Transylvania,” “Rise of the Guardians” and “Wreck-It Ralph” in animation.

Said “Brave” director Mark Andrews: “Being brave is about being true to yourself, and allowing your loved ones that same freedom.”

Mychael Danna earned the Globe for original score for “Life of Pi,” while the title song of “Skyfall” took the original song prize.

“Honestly, I’ve come out for a night out with my friend Ida — we’re new moms,” singer and co-songwriter (with Paul Epworth) Adele said in her acceptance speech. “We’ve been pissing ourselves laughing.”

In addition, Jodie Foster officially became the youngest recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award since Charlton Heston in 1967.

“Trust me, 47 years in the film biz is a long time,” said Foster. “I feel like the prom queen. … I share my most special memories with members of the crew. We make movies together, and you can’t get more intimate at that.”

Foster went on to devote a significant portion of a heartfelt but wide-ranging speech to the virtues of personal privacy.

“You guys might be surprised, but I’m not Honey Boo Boo child,” she said. “I’m sorry, that’s just not me. It never was and never will be. If you had been a public figure from the time you were a toddler, then maybe you too might value privacy above all else. Privacy — someday, in the future, people will look back and remember how beautiful it once was.”

“Lincoln” had the most pic nominations from the HFPA with seven, followed by “Argo” and “Django Unchained” with five apiece and “Les Miserables,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Zero Dark Thirty” with four each. All six of those movies were nominated for best picture at the Oscars, yet in an indication of how splintered the awards vote has been this year, only “Lincoln” and “Silver” paired those with critical Oscar directing nods.

If the Globes are to have any influence in the Oscar race going forward, it might be to re-establish the chances of either “Argo” and “Les Miserables” to become the first Academy Award winners for best picture without a corresponding director nomination since “Driving Miss Daisy” in 1989. While it’s possible that the films were taken for granted in the Oscar nominations balloting, it’s still an uphill battle for each.

The alternative possibility is that “Argo” and “Les Miserables” become among the most-honored films in awards season that don’t win best picture. Each is a finalist for Producers Guild, Screen Actors Guild and Writers Guild honors.

Awards season takes something of a break next weekend, before resuming with the Producers Guild Awards on Jan. 26 and the Screen Actors Guild Awards the following night.

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