The Artist, The Descendants rake in Golden Globes

Silent film The Artist and family drama The Descendants were the top film picks at the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday in one of the major Hollywood film honours programmes leading up to the Oscars later this year.

The Artist, a romantic tale about a failing actor who finds love at a time when movies were changing from silents to talkies, picked up three awards including best musical or comedy and best actor in a musical or comedy for its star, French actor Jean Dujardin.

Onstage, Dujardin did the most appropriate thing — gave his speech, thanked his colleagues, then signed off by not saying a word. And true to stealing the show in the movie, the little dog Uggie detracted from an emotional speech by the film’s director, Michel Hazanavicius. Uggie wanted a treat.

The Descendants, starring George Clooney as a man steering his family through a tragic time when his wife is in a coma, won two Golden Globe trophies, including best dramatic movie and for Clooney as best dramatic actor.

Other major winners included Meryl Streep for best actress in a film drama with her portrayal of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. Michelle Williams took the trophy for best actress in a comedy or musical with her role as Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn.

“I consider myself a mother first and an actress second. The person I most want to thank [is] my daughter, my little girl,” Williams said referring to her child with the late actor Heath Ledger. “I want to say thank you for sending me off to this job everyday with a hug and a kiss.”

Other accolades
Veteran Christopher Plummer (82) received honours as a supporting actor with his portrayal of an elderly man who comes out as gay to his family in Beginners, bringing both poignancy and a touch of humor to their lives.

Octavia Spencer, playing a beleaguered housemaid in the US South during the civil rights era in The Help was best supporting actress.

Woody Allen was given a Golden Globe for his screenplay for Midnight in Paris and Steven Spielberg won best animated film with his rollicking The Adventures of Tintin.

Martin Scorsese scooped up the best director award for his adventure drama Hugo, while the Cecil B DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award was handed to Morgan Freeman.

Iranian film A Separation was named best foreign language film, and its director, Ashgar Farhadi, used the opportunity to tell world audiences that, “my people, I think they are a truly peace-loving people”.

The Golden Globe Awards are given out by the roughly 90 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association at what annually is among the key events during Hollywood’s awards season because of the media exposure it brings.

Oscar race looms
Many of the movies and stars that win at the Golden Globes also go on to compete for Oscars later this year, and The Artist, which was the most-nominated film coming into the Golden Globes with six nods overall, will certainly become a frontrunner for the world’s top film honours, as will The Descendants and The Help.

Oscar nominations from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will given out on January 24.

Unlike the Oscar voters, HFPA members also vote on their favourite TV shows and performances and in that arena Homeland, about a modern-day CIA agent tracking returning war soldiers who may be terrorists, took home two Golden Globes for best drama series and best actress in a drama for Claire Danes.

Best actor in a drama TV series went to Kelsey Grammer for his role as a stern corporate manager in Boss.

Modern Family, a take on extended families in current-day United States, took the prize for best comedy and its stars enjoyed one of the more memorable moments of the night when star Sofia Vergara gave their acceptance speech in Spanish, with English translation from creator Steve Levitan.

Best actress in a TV comedy went to Laura Dern for Enlightened and the comedic actor trophy was won by Matt LeBlanc for Episodes.

Coming into the show, all eyes were on host Ricky Gervais Gervais, who ruffled the feathers of many Hollywood celebrities at last year’s Golden Globes ceremony. While he didn’t tone down his jokes for the 2012 audience — making fun of Johnny Depp, Jodie Foster, Kim Kardashian and the HFPA itself — it seemed the stars were in the mood for his biting wit this time around.

“I thought he did a great job,” Clooney told reporters backstage. “I think he handled tonight like a proper good host again … people were expecting a lot of trash talk, and he did a little bit of that, and he made me laugh, he was very funny.”

In fact, it seemed Gervais’ humour was rather tame at some points compared to others who made penis jokes onstage and used foul language. At one point, Gervais came onstage drinking a beer, but somehow that seemed fitting for an awards show that bills itself as one big Hollywood party. — Reuters, Sapa-AP

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Bob Tourtellotte
Bob Tourtellotte works from Los Angeles. I have been Reuters chief movie writer for more than a decade and am currently the entertainment editor. Bob Tourtellotte has over 381 followers on Twitter.

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