In a night full of surprises, “The Revenant” and “The Martian” dominated the top film prizes at the 73rd Golden Globes, while Amazon’s “Mozart in the Jungle” and USA’s “Mr. Robot” overcame intense competition to nab the highest television honors.
The awards overflowed with unusual choices, new faces and enough bad language to send the censors into an early grave.
If prognosticators and Oscar tea leaf readers were looking to the Globes to help crystallize a wild and woolly awards season, then their hopes for clarity may have been frustrated. “The Martian,” a science fiction thriller, was honored somewhat inexplicably in the comedy category, with even its director Ridley Scott expressing shock at the designation while picking up the best picture statue.
But Scott, who was expected to be honored for his work helming the sci-fi epic was passed over in the directing category. Instead, Alejandro G. Iñárritu,who last year lost out on the Globe before going on to win an Oscar for “Birdman,” was called to the stage for “The Revenant.”
The historical drama about a fur trapper determined to exact vengeance generated headlines for a punishing shoot that led to crew defections and budget overruns. Calling the film the most difficult of his career, Iñárritu said, “pain is temporary but a film is forever.”
The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., the collection of less than 100 journalists that hand out the Globes, agreed. They handed “The Revenant” a best drama award over the heavily favored “Spotlight,” a look at the Boston Globe investigation of the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal that performed well with critics groups.
There are some performers and films that will leave the Globes with momentum heading into the Oscars. Brie Larson and Leonardo DiCaprio helped cement their front-runner statuses picking up acting honors in a drama for their work in “Room” and “The Revenant.”
Last year’s broadcast unfolded in the wake of the terrorist attack on the French satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo,” with many winners and presenters using their time in the spotlight to defend freedom of speech. This year’s show seemed less polemical in contrast, with most honorees choosing to focus on their collaborators and loved ones. DiCaprio, who has been deeply involved in environmental advocacy, provided one of the few politically charged speeches of the evening, calling for greater recognition of the Native American community.
“It is time that we heard your voice and protected this planet for future generations,” said DiCaprio.
In place of politics, winners such as Scott noted that the movie business was in solid financial shape, with the global box office hitting new highs. “The Martian,” the biggest hit of the director’s career, certainly played its part in goosing grosses. But a magnanimous Scott also used his speaking time to pay tribute to the year’s top earner, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” calling it a “majestic success” that was “inspiring.”
Jennifer Lawrence, a previous winner for “Silver Linings Playbook,” was recognized again for her work as the creator of the Miracle Mop in “Joy.” The film is Lawrence’s third collaboration with director David O. Russell — an intense bond that the actress alluded to by confessing, “I want us to be buried next to each other.”
Matt Damon overcame competition from the likes of Steve Carell (“The Big Short”), Christian Bale (“The Big Short”) and Mark Ruffalo (“Infinitely Polar Bear”) to pick up a Best Actor in a Comedy statue for his work as an astronaut stranded on Mars in “The Martian.” He noted that 18 years had passed since he last won a Globe for writing “Good Will Hunting” and that in that time he’d come to appreciate how rare popular success of the sort he enjoyed on “The Martian” could be.
“I’ve made a lot of movies that people just didn’t go see,” he said.
Most award shows feature performers feigning surprise while accepting honors for the umpteenth time, particularly in an age in which new organizations handing out hardware keep popping up. In the case of the Globes, the astonishment seemed genuine.
Kate Winslet, who scored a best supporting actress statue for her work as Apple founder Steve Jobs’ assistant in “Steve Jobs,” told reporters backstage that she was so sure she would lose that she booked a massage for just after the show was over.
Her disbelief was evident in her exclamation-heavy speech. “Is this really happening!,” Winslet said, before adding, “What an incredible year for women in film.”
Meanwhile best screenplay winner Aaron Sorkin, who penned “Steve Jobs,” confessed “I thought I had as much chance of winning the screenplay award as I had of winning best actress in a musical.”
But that’s the nature of the Golden Globes, which are seen as looser, sassier, and more inebriated than the stately Oscars, and also given to some head-scratching decisions.
It was also an evening of comebacks. Calling himself the “sum total of everyone I’ve ever met,” Sylvester Stallone earned a best supporting actor award for returning to the ring in “Creed.” Noting that four decades had passed since “Rocky” put him on the map, Stallone thanked his “imaginary friend” Rocky Balboa” for being “the best friend that I ever had.”
If DiCaprio, Larson, and Damon were heavily favored to make acceptance speeches, few saw most of the television winners coming. Amazon’s “Mozart in the Jungle” prevailed over better-known shows such as HBO’s “Veep” and Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” to score a Best Comedy Series statue.
On the drama front, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and Fox’s “Empire” may command larger audiences, but proved no match for the hacker thriller “Mr. Robot” from USA. Executive producer Sam Esmail praised the decision, noting “that took a lot of courage.”
And Christian Slater (“Mr. Robot”) and Maura Tierney (“The Affair”) were among the victors messing up betting pools, while in a sign of a power shift, the CW, USA and Amazon rivaled perennial awards juggernauts such as HBO and FX.
Gael Garcia Bernal’s win for his work as a conductor on “Mozart in the Jungle” was so unexpected that it spoiled a gag by his rival Aziz Ansari (“Master of None”). When the nominees were announced, Ansari was shown holding a book entitled “How to Lose to Jeffrey Tambor with Dignity.” The advice proved unnecessary as Tambor didn’t win a second consecutive time for his work in “Transparent.”
Virtual unknown Rachel Bloom, the winner of Best Actress in a TV Comedy, for her work as an obsessive former flame in “Crazy Ex Girlfriend,” admitted that two years ago her work was being shown on YouTube.
“We almost didn’t have a show,” she gasped, admitting that six networks passed on the pilot in one day.
Lady Gaga, best known for her chart-topping music, was singled out for her work on “American Horror Story.” In her speech, she noted that she felt like Cher in “Moonstruck,” but, in a sign of changing times, on social media it was not her gracious words that went viral. Instead it was a clip of a startled Leonardo DiCaprio visibly stiffening as the singer brushed against his back.
There were more conventional winners, to be sure. “Inside Out,” the critically adored story of a young girl’s warring emotions, scored a best animated feature award, and “Son of Saul,” a Holocaust drama from Hungary, captured the best foreign film statue.
Among television honorees, best miniseries winner PBS’ “Wolf Hall” and “Show Me a Hero’s” Oscar Isaac’s best actor for a limited series or TV movie nod were among the few victors who were heavily favored. And Emmy winner Jon Hamm added a Golden Globe to his trophy case for his final season playing an alcoholic ad man on “Mad Men.”
Calling the seven season run an “incredible ride,” Hamm thanked creator Matthew Weiner for not taking his suggestion to wrap up the show with music by “Tubthumping” songsters Chumbawamba.
True to his reputation, Gervais came armed with a shiv and looking to stick it in Hollywood’s top stars. It took less than a minute for the host to bring up Sean Penn’s interview with Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman at this year’s telecast.
“I’m going to do this monologue and go into hiding,” said Gervais. “Not even Sean Penn will find me.”
Returning as emcee for the first time since 2012, Gervais greeted the celebrity filled ballroom at the Beverly Hilton with trademark insouciance, calling them, “You disgusting, pill popping, sexual deviant scum,” and telling the audience that the awards were only handed out by “confused old journalists” who wanted to take selfies with stars.
Mel Gibson, the butt of jokes by Gervais for his anti-Semitic laced tirade over his 2006 arrest for drunk driving, commented on the awkwardness of having his peccadilloes dredged up and lampooned in front of a national audience.
“I love seeing Ricky once every three years because it reminds me to get a colonoscopy,” said Gibson.
“The Office” creator stunned viewers with his three previous stints, poking fun at stars’ histories of drinking or drug abuse, rumored homosexuality, and even the loose ethical standards of the organization’s voting body. And this edition was no different with Gervais, beer by his side, sending up everything from Caitlyn Jenner’s gender transition to studios’ penchant for intensely lobbying voting members for awards love (a joke about purchasing Globes that drew deep laughs from indie mogul Harvey Weinstein).
A rowdy atmosphere prevailed throughout the show, which unlike the cavernous theater that houses the Oscars, is staged in the round, giving the event a clubbier vibe. Jonah Hill appeared in costume as the bear from “The Revenant,” at one point, while Amy Schumer listed off a series of celebrity nicknames, in heavily bleeped bits that were censored to a nearly indecipherable extent. Meanwhile actors like Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling were greeted with fevered screeching in place of staid applause, and best actress in a TV drama winner Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”) defied the wrap-up signal by shouting, “I’ve waited 20 years for this. You’re going to wait.”
Perhaps it was Gervais who set the irreverent tone, but there was certainly a spirit of biting the hand that feeds. Denzel Washington, the recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille award for career achievement, noted that legendary agent Freddie Fields first advised him to attend a Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. event. He told him he’d earn a Globe if he signed magazines and took photos with voters.
“I won that year,” said Washington.
Golden Globe Winners:
Best Motion Picture – Drama
Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Best Director – Motion Picture
Alejandro G. Iñárritu (“The Revenant”)
Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”)
Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Brie Larson (“Room”)
Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy
Jennifer Lawrence (“Joy”)
Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Matt Damon (“The Martian”)
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Sylvester Stallone (“Creed”)
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Kate Winslet (“Steve Jobs”)
Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language
“Son of Saul”
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Aaron Sorkin (“Steve Jobs”)
Best Original Score
Ennio Morricone (“The Hateful Eight”)
Best Original Song
“Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre”
Best Animated Feature Film
Best TV Series – Drama
Best TV Series – Comedy
“Mozart in the Jungle”
Best TV Movie or Limited-Series
Best Actress in a TV Series – Drama
Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”)
Best Actor in a TV Series – Drama
Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”)
Best Actor in a TV Series – Comedy
Gael Garcia Bernal (“Mozart in the Jungle”)
Best Actress in a TV Series – Comedy
Rachel Bloom (“Crazy Ex Girlfriend”)
Best Actress in a Limited-Series or TV Movie
Lady Gaga (“American Horror Story: Hotel”)
Best Actor in a Limited-Series or TV Movie
Oscar Isaac (“Show Me a Hero”)
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited-Series, or TV Movie
Maura Tierney (“The Affair”)
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited-Series or TV Movie
Christian Slater (“Mr. Robot”)