LOS ANGELES: The Golden Globes on Sunday experimented with a virtual format and cemented “Nomadland” as the film to beat this Hollywood awards season.
Here are five key takeaways from the night:
Netflix arrives (sort of…)
When it lost the first few awards, Netflix must have dreaded a repeat of last year’s fiasco, when it converted just two of its 34 nods.
But the streaming giant’s increased clout in Hollywood proved impossible to ignore, as it ultimately topped both the film and TV awards Sunday.
British royals series “The Crown” proved especially popular, sweeping four prizes including various acting gongs and best drama, and Netflix earned two other TV statuettes for “The Queen’s Gambit.”
On the film side, the late Chadwick Boseman won for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Rosamund Pike for “I Care A Lot” and Sophia Loren’s “The Life Ahead” won best original song.
But there was ultimately disappointment for Netflix best picture hope “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” which claimed only best screenplay honors for Aaron Sorkin, and nominations-leading “Mank,” which missed out altogether.
No party, no Globes
More than any other Hollywood award show, the Globes depend on their reputation for hosting a star-packed, champagne-drenched party of a night.
On Sunday, with all those elements absent due to Covid-19, it showed.
An initial review from Variety called it a “lazy, clueless ceremony,” while Deadline dubbed the show “bloated and glitchy.”
The night’s nadir was came as the first winner Daniel Kaluuya briefly lost sound for his acceptance speech, forcing in-studio presenter Laura Dern to apologize.
Unsurprisingly, the winners themselves were more generous in their analysis of the event, if still rather lukewarm.
Sorkin called the night “more intimate,” while Sacha Baron Cohen declared it “interesting” and expressed thanks that he didn’t have to set foot on a red carpet.
Diversity takes centre stage
The Globes-awarding Hollywood Foreign Press Association has been under fire this week after a Los Angeles Times expose reported that it lacks a single Black member.
Everybody from winners and presenters to co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler poked fun at the group, which put three senior members on stage to promise change.
Yet the group — known for conservative choices — ultimately chose a diverse array of winners.
Black awardees included Boseman, Kaluuya, Andra Day and “Soul” composer Jon Batiste, while Chloe Zhao became the first Asian female to win best director.
With the end of Donald Trump’s presidency still fresh in liberal Hollywood’s mind, the Globes offered a chance to ridicule the former president after his removal from the White House.
Sorkin sounded one of the night’s political notes in his acceptance speech, quoting the late activist Abbie Hoffman: “If you stop doing it, democracy crumbles.”
“I don’t need any more evidence than what happened on January 6 to agree with this,” said Sorkin, referring to the storming of the US Capitol by a Trump-supporting mob.
Mark Ruffalo, winning for TV limited series “I Know This Much Is True,” urged viewers to “turn the page on the cruel past of this nation.”
Baron Cohen also singled out Trump’s personal lawyer for attention.
“This movie could not have been possible without my co-star, a fresh new talent, who came from nowhere, and turned out to be a comedy genius,” he said.
“I’m talking about Rudy Giuliani — I mean, who can get more laughs out of one unzipping? It’s just incredible.”
Chloe Zhao stole the “record-breaking” headlines with her “Nomadland” the first best drama directed by a woman, and as the first Asian woman to win best director.
But other records also tumbled Sunday.
Sorkin — already the most-nominated Globes screenwriter — became the joint biggest winner in the screenplay category, alongside Robert Bolt and Quentin Tarantino. The trio now each have three wins.
And Boseman became just the second posthumous winner — and first in four decades — for best drama actor.
The previous, Peter Finch, went on to win an Oscar for his star turn in 1976’s “Network.” — AFP