Two frontier survival tales — The Revenant and The Martian — led a great Golden Globes where the star power of Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jennifer Lawrence was challenged only by the relentless mocking of the show’s beer-wielding host, Ricky Gervais.
In an upset, Alejandro Innaritu’s bloody 1820s thriller The Revenant won best film drama, as well as best director for Inarritu and best actor for Leonardo DiCaprio. Though Inarritu had a similar run at the Academy Awards last year with the best-picture winning Birdman, he won only a share of best screenplay at last year’s Globes.
“Pain is temporary,” said Inarritu, referring to the film’s arduous shoot in the Canadian Rockies. “A film is forever.”
In an awards season that has lacked definition, two of the top critical picks — the journalism procedural Spotlight and Todd Haynes’ lesbian romance Carol — went home empty-handed. Instead, it was The Revenant — made with the same seamless cinematography of Birdman — that emerged triumphant on the same weekend it nearly toppled the box-office juggernaut Star Wars: The Force Awakens with a $38 million opening.
DiCaprio, who appears headed for his first Oscar, dedicated his award to “First Nations people represented in this film and all the indigenous peoples around the world.”
“It is time that we recognise your history and that we protect your indigenous lands from corporate interests and people out there to exploit them,” said DiCaprio.
Questionably nominated in the comedy categories (a theoretically easier route to statuettes), Ridley Scott’s stranded astronaut tale The Martian took best film, comedy, and best actor in a comedy for Damon. Stepping to the podium, Scott wondered, “Comedy?” and answered with a sceptical wave of his hand.
Damon had to suffer being introduced by Gervais as “the only person who Ben Affleck hasn’t been unfaithful to.” The actor later said the nearly $600 million (Dh2.2 billion) success of The Martian was an unlikely pleasure: “I have made a lot of movies that people just didn’t go see.”
Nominated for the same character that earned him his only other Golden Globe nod, Sylvester Stallone took best supporting actor for the Rocky sequel-reboot Creed. The crowd greeted him with a standing ovation.
“I want to thank my imaginary friend Rocky Balboa for being the best friend I ever had,” said Stallone.
Though security was especially tight to guard against terrorism, the Gervais-led Globes, evidenced little of seriousness that marks most award shows, or the teary-eyed acceptances speeches. Instead, the Globes had a particularly unravelled atmosphere that included Jonah Hill dressed as the bear from The Revenant, copious discussion of Transparent star Jeffrey Tambor’s male anatomy by Gervais, and much buzzing about Sean Penn’s escapade with Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
Gervais greeted the crowd (which he labelled “pill-popping sexual deviant scum”) with a predictably astringent opening, setting the tone for an expletive-filled night that was at turns irreverent and frivolous.
“I want to do this monologue and then go into hiding. Not even Sean Penn will find me,” he said, pausing for a swig. “Snitch.”
In his fourth time hosting, Gervais’ act dominated the evening, often drawing loud laughs from the Beverly Hilton hotel audience, but also the expected criticism. In a particularly awkward encounter, he and Mel Gibson stood arm-in-arm after exchanging insults.
“I love seeing Ricky once every three years because it reminds me to get a colonoscopy,” said Gibson.
Best actress went to Brie Larson, the breakout star of the captive mother-son drama Room. A gleeful Larson concluded: “I’m sorry for anyone I forgot. I’ll write you a thank-you card.”
Lawrence, who spent much of the night with her new friend and collaborator Amy Schumer (herself a nominee for Trainwreck), scored her third Globe for a David O. Russell-directed film. After winning for Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle, she made it three for Joy.
Though Steve Jobs failed to win over many critics or moviegoers, Danny Boyle’s drama about the Apple co-founder earned best screenplay for Aaron Sorkin and best supporting actress for Kate Winslet, her fourth Globe in 11 nominations. Citing the crowded categories, Winslet remarked: “What an incredible year for women in film.”
If heavyweights won on the film side, underdogs led the television winners.
USA’s Mr Robot won best TV drama for its first season, besting more established favourites such as HBO’s Game of Thrones and Fox’s Empire. Best comedy series was a similar upset, with Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle, winning over the HBO heavyweight Veep. Actors in both shows — Christian Slater for Mr Robot and Gabriel Garcia Bernal for Mozart in the Jungle — also won.
In an election year, Gervais had the only cutting political remark in the show. He introduced presenters Eva Longoria and America Ferrera as two talented actresses that “your next president, Donald Trump, can’t wait to deport.”
The Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement honoree, often an emotional high point in the awards, also lacked a memorable moment. Honoree Denzel Washington fumbled with his speech, while his wife, Pauletta, prodded him. As he wound down, Washington finally granted: “Yeah, I do need my glasses.”
Best foreign language film went to Hungary’s Laszlo Nemes’ Son of Saul, a harrowing view of life inside Auschwitz. Best animated film went to Pixar’s acclaimed Inside Out. Lady Gaga, who has seven Grammys, won her first major acting honour for her performance on the anthology series American Horror Story.
Other acting winners on the TV side included Taraji P. Henson for Empire, Jon Hamm for the final season of Mad Men and Oscar Isaac for the HBO miniseries Show Me a Hero.
Gervais immediately derided a Globe Globe as “a bit of metal that some confused old journalist wanted to give you to meet you in person and take a selfie.” But, buoyed by more respectable picks in recent years and a three-year hosting stint by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, the Globes have been on the rise. Their Oscar predictive power, though, is nonexistent. Voting for the Academy Award nominations, to be announced Thursday, ended on Friday.