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‘12 Years a Slave,’ ‘American Hustle’ Win Top Prizes at Golden Globes

The 71st Golden Globes Sunday were a celebration of cruelty and corruption as “12 Years a Slave” and “American Hustle” took top prizes, with one win and three trophies, respectively.

Columbia’s “American Hustle” won for comedy film, lead comedy actress (Amy Adams) and supporting actress (Jennifer Lawrence). Focus Features’ “Dallas Buyers Club” was a runner-up with twin wins, for actor and supporting actor (Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, respectively).

Otherwise, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. spread the wealth wide, with no other film getting more than one award in the 14 film categories, including Fox Searchlight’s “12 Years.” Alfonso Cuaron was saluted for Warner Bros.’ “Gravity” direction; Spike Jonze, script for WB’s “Her”;  Leonardo DiCaprio, comedy actor for Paramount’s “The Wolf of Wall Street”; Cate Blanchett, Sony Pictures Classics’ “Blue Jasmine.”

The wins should give some of these films a bump at the domestic box office, but a bigger boost will be in their international rollouts: The show is telecast in 160 countries to 250 million viewers, according to the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., whose 80 members decide on the winners.

In a year overflowing with strong contenders in every category, there were a few surprises, including Adams, DiCaprio and McConaughey, in very competitive fields, and Alex Ebert for his “All is Lost” score.

Other winners at the 71st annual Globes Sunday include Weinstein Co.’s “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” U2’s song; “The Great Beauty” from Italy won as top foreign-language film; and Disney Animation’s “Frozen,” which took home the prize for feature animation, a category with only three contenders, also including “The Croods” and “Despicable Me 2.” (Oscar will have five contenders, since their criteria for eligibility differs from the HFPA.)

Among the films with multiple noms that went home empty-handed were “Nebraska” (five), “Captain Phillips” (four), “Inside Llewyn Davis” (three),  “Philomena” (three);  and “Rush” (two, including best drama picture).

“The Butler,” “Fruitvale Station” and “Lone Survivor” were among the films completely shut out of noms.

Highlights of the show included a funny opening duologue from hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler; Philomena Lee accompanying Steve Coogan to intro the clip of “Philomena”; Blanchett and Cuaron’s witty speeches; Elizabeth Moss, so surprised at her miniseries/telefilm win that she blurted out the s-word; Diane Keaton’s acceptance of the Cecil B. DeMille Award on behalf of Woody Allen; and winner Jacqueline Bisset, making what may have been the longest walk to the stage in awards history.

There was also a sort of running joke as winners firmly continued their speeches while the orchestra tried to play them off. But in general, the evening was well-behaved, a far cry from the unpredictable wackiness of that was long one of the event’s hallmarks.

As for Sunday evening’s influence on Oscars, it’s minimal except in one regard: In Hollywood, perception equals reality, so it’s always nice to have a reputation as a winner. But as for clues to the Academy Award nominations or the eventual victor, don’t bank on it. It’s still a genuine race and the Globes have been pretty unreliable Oscar gauge in the past decade.

From 1991-2001, one of the Globes’ two best pic winners went on to Oscar victory 87% of the time. But after a move to an earlier Oscar ceremony starting with the 2002 films, the correlation has been half of that.

As one example of the divide between the two voting orgs, Ben Affleck won the director Globe last year but failed to score an Oscar nomination. In fact, only two of the five Globe director nominees went on to Oscar noms: Steven Spielberg and Ang Lee, with the latter eventually winning the Academy Award.

Sunday’s wins certainly won’t affect Oscar nominations, since that balloting closed Jan. 8 and will be announced Jan. 16. Still, the Globes winners offer “must-see” viewing tips to Academy voters.

But the two voting groups are so different, it’s not surprising when the results are different. The Academy has 6000 members of the industry as opposed to the Globes, with 80 journalists writing for non-U.S. publications.

Since the Globes are held as part of the build-up to Oscar, more attention is paid to the film contenders, but in fact, nearly half of the Globes’ 25 categories are devoted to TV and that’s where the HFPA voters often make the most interesting choices. such as Andy Samberg for “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” for comedy series and lead actor (Andy Samberg) and Poehler for “Parks and Recreation.” The year’s other big winner was “Breaking Bad” for drama seies and lead actor Bryan Cranston.

The ceremonies, held at the BevHilton, were broadcast live on NBC.

 

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