The Golden Globes 2012

The Golden Globes 2012. What did Gervais say? And who won what?

The awards season is now officially underway as the Golden globes took place on Sunday the 15th January. This year who won what is more of a secondary question. The question we all want to know is: what did Ricky say?

Last year, Gervais absolutely pierced the pomposity and indulgent back-slapping that usually accompanies these awards with a no-holds-barred, admirably irreverent approach. No star was left unscathed –nervous laughter echoed around the room as Gervais poked fun at the Hollywood untouchables like Johnny Depp. The L.A press wanted him shot. The Hollywood foreign press association – the organisation who vote for the awards – wanted him back as he lifted the profile of a ceremony that is usually a mere foot-note to the Oscars. He now has a little niche in Hollywood where people expect him to fire barbed one-liners out at the A-list.  Gervais knows it himself and boasted about it on stage with this line: ‘’The Hollywood foreign press have warned me that if I insult any of you or any of them, or offend any viewers, or cause any controversy whatsoever…. they will definitely invite me back next year.’’

Overall though, what he said was significantly tamer than last year; he’s not going to gain the headlines he got last time around as his behaviour was a lot better from an industry perspective anyway. That said, his cheeky material got the A-list shifting nervously in their chairs, prompting them into forced clenched toothed smiles every-time they felt they might be on camera. So once again his comedy was refreshing and entertaining. The campaign to get him to host the Oscars should start now. This year, after Eddie Murphy walked out, we have to endure Billy bloody Crystal again hosting the Oscars. Talk about a safe bet.

Back to Gervais. He opened by saying ‘’the globes are just like the Oscars but without all that esteem. He then implied they were trashier, before going on to mock the status of the Oscars via a dig at Eddie Murphy. Gervais said: ‘’when a man who said yes to Norbit says no to you… you know you are in trouble.’’ Which is pretty funny.

He also had another pop at Johnny Depp – introducing him by saying: the man who will literally wear anything Tim Burton tells him to please welcome… Johnny Depp.

Moving on to the secondary matter: who won what.

Well if you went down to the local betting shop last year and said the big winner at the 2012 Golden globes would be a black and white silent French film – you would probably be sitting on a small fortune now. That big winner was of course the highly acclaimed The artist. It took home three awards including best comedy, best actor – for French actor Jean Dujardin – and the uplifting jaunty score was deemed to be the best score – which I think is sound judgment. I haven’t seen it yet, but what I can say is that it is pleasing to see that a seemingly obsolete style of filmmaking can still captivate audiences in contemporary cinemas.

In the best drama category, there were some major contenders, with a family film a piece from Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg in Hugo and War horse respectively. They were both beaten by the forthcoming Alexander Payne character drama The Descendants – a film which depicts Hawaii in a distinctly greyer shade. I haven’t seen it but every film from Alexander Payne – particularly About Shmidt and Sideways has been excellent. Payne can blend organic humour and poignant human emotion better than any director in the business and he can make his characters seem very real. George Clooney and Alexander Payne is a promising combination and the Hollywood Press Association seem to agree as George Clooney scooped the best actor award,  beating Brad Pitt (Moneyball; Leonardo Di Caprio for J Edgar; Michael Fassbender for the sexual addiction film Shame; Ryan Gosling for Ides of March. If the awards are anything to go by, looks like Payne has impressed again with The Descendants. Expect to see this up for the best picture nomination at the Oscars.

Personally though, I would have liked to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s performance in 50/50 on the drama list rather than the comedy list. He absolutely captured the agony of what it must be like to be a young person coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis and he did it in a naturally humourous, yet more importantly, utterly compelling way. It was the most poignant performance I’ve seen in a long time and after watching him in the film, I now feel as if I know something about the mind-set of someone going through a serious illness. How an actor playing a character coming to terms with cancer is in the comedy and musical category and not the drama one is beyond me.

In the best female actress category, the tortured performance given by Tilda Swinton in the superb We need to talk about Kevin, was sadly over-looked, and instead Meryl Streep – for her performance as Margaret Thatcher in Iron Lady – was deemed to have given the best dramatic female performance. Streep is excellent as Thatcher, uncannily like Thatcher in voice mannerism and stance. But Swinton didn’t have a public figure to pretty much copy. She had to project herself into the mind and body of a person coming to terms with a feeling of guilt for what her son has done. Swinton looks absolutely haunted in Lynne Ramsey’s film and the whole film hinges on the audience scrutinizing her expression to determine what exactly she is feeling. She looks and acts like a women losing her soul and mind to guilt. It’s a mesmerizing performance, introspective, understated and deeply moving. It would have been nice to see that more underappreciated side of acting rewarded. Perhaps Swinton will surprise everyone with an Oscar win. I can hope.

The best female in a comedy or musical went to Michelle Williams for her portrayal as Marilyn Monroe. I haven’t seen it, but I thought Williams seemed miscast as Marilyn Monroe. I’m still doubtful as to whether Williams can pull off Monroe’s winsome combination of innocence, sex appeal and sass.  But maybe that’s not the point as the film seems to look for the figure behind the iconic image. Anyone seen it?

In the animated category, The adventures of Tin tin won the award for best animated feature. I’m disappointed the strange and beguilingly weird style of animation in Rango didn’t get the award for sheer creativity.

Not as remarkable as last year then, but there are still a number of talking points and we now have a good idea of what will be nominated for the Oscars. So if you are a betting person, I’d get down to the betting shop and put your money on The artist for best picture before the odds shorten in the coming weeks. Everyone is talking about a silent film, which in a way is a Hollywood fairytale.

Written by @filmfelladarren

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About Filmfella Darren
Film critic, writer and long-time cinema appreciator. I write about cinema matters, because cinema matters. Like your clothes and your laptops, my articles were made in Taiwan.

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