Gay cowboys, Johnny Cash grab Golden Globes

The gay cowboy romance Brokeback Mountain and the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line grabbed top honours on Monday at the Golden Globe awards, giving both a major boost in the coming Oscar race. South African film Tsotsi and South African actress Charlize Theron went home empty-handed, though.

On a glittering Hollywood night that notably recognised films dealing with characters on the margins of society, the award for best actor in a drama went to Philip Seymour Hoffman for his portrayal of the gay writer Truman Capote in Capote.

“I was given the best part of my life, basically, and I know that,” said Hoffman, who beat out fellow nominees Heath Ledger for Brokeback Mountain, Russell Crowe for Cinderella Man, Terrence Howard for Hustle and Flow and David Strathairn for Good Night, and Good Luck.

Felicity Huffman picked up the award for best actress in a drama for her role as a pre-op male transsexual in Transamerica.

“I would like to salute the men and women who brave ostracism, alienation and a life lived on the margins to become who they really are,” Huffman said.

Other nominees were Maria Bello for A History of Violence, Gwyneth Paltrow for Proof, Charlize Theron for North Country and Zhang Ziyi for Memoirs of a Geisha.

Brokeback Mountain cemented its position as favourite for the best-film Oscar by scooping the best-drama award, as well as Globes for Taiwanese director Ang Lee, and Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, who wrote the screenplay.

Lee paid warm tribute to the other nominated directors and noted that the award carries more honour than ever, given what had been “an amazing year” for American cinema.

“So, I want to give my first thanks to my fellow filmmakers for strengthening my faith in the power of movies to change the way we’re thinking,” Lee said.

Based on a short story by novelist Annie Proulx, Brokeback is the wrenching story of two macho cowboys who, despite themselves, begin a romance in 1963 and pursue it during stolen moments over the next two decades.

The other nominees for best drama were The Constant Gardener, Good Night, and Good Luck, A History of Violence and Match Point

The other big winner on the night was Walk the Line, which took the award for best musical or comedy, as well as best-actor and best-actress Globes for its co-stars Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon.

“I was having a lot of fun, but I’m having even more fun now,” gushed Witherspoon, who said her own Southern United States roots had made the project and the role of Cash’s wife, June Carter Cash, an especially poignant one.

“This film is really important to me. It’s about where I grew up.
It’s about the music I grew up listening to,” she said.

Hollywood’s first major show of the awards season, the Golden Globes is viewed as a key predictor of Oscar success. The Academy voters have until Saturday to pick their nominees for the Oscars, which will be presented on March 5.

Among the other winners on Monday were George Clooney and Rachel Weisz, who took home the awards for best supporting actor and actress for their respective roles in the political dramas Syriana and The Constant Gardner.

“It’s early, I haven’t had a drink yet,” said Clooney, who was also nominated in the best-director and best-screenplay categories for his broadcast drama Good Night, and Good Luck.

Clooney, who played a disaffected CIA agent in Syriana, used his acceptance speech to offer a tongue-in-cheek dedication to Jack Abramoff, the disgraced lobbyist currently at the centre of a mushrooming political scandal in Washington.

“I want to thank Jack Abramoff, you know, just because ... I don’t know why,” he said to laughter from the star-studded audience.

Weisz, who played an activist taking on the pharmaceutical giants in Africa in The Constant Gardener, paid warm tribute to the movie’s star, Ralph Fiennes, who was notably overlooked for a best-actor nomination.

“One could not ask for a more wonderful, committed actor,” said Weisz, who also credited the film’s producer for “the great dignity and finesse with which she took a bunch of rich white people into some very, very, severely poor areas of Kenya”.

Organised by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, this year’s Golden Globes fell on Martin Luther King Day, a fact gleefully picked up on by one of the presenters, black comic Chris Rock.

“Relax, you only have to be nice to black people for two more hours,” Rock told the predominantly white audience.

Paradise Now, the tale of two Palestinian childhood friends who volunteer to be suicide bombers, won the Golden Globe for best foreign-language film.

Director Hanny Abu-Assad thanked Warner Independent Pictures for its “faith and courage” in distributing the film in the US and said the award is recognition that “the Palestinians deserve their liberty and equality unconditionally”.

Other nominees in the category were two films from China, Kung Fu Hustle and Master of the Crimson Armor, as well as Merry Christmas (Joyeux Noël) from France and Tsotsi from South Africa.—Sapa-AFP

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