A no-big-winners year

2014-01-14 00:00

BEVERLY HILLS — The film 12 Years a Slave took the coveted Golden Globe for Best Drama and American Hustle won Best Musical or Comedy on Sunday in a start to the Hollywood awards season that foreshadows a wide scattering of honours for a year crowded with high-quality movies.

Only two films garnered more than one award at the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards, an important but not entirely accurate barometer for the industry’s highest honours, the Academy Awards, to be held on March 2.

American Hustle, a romp through corruption in the 1970s directed by David O. Russell, was the top winner with three Globes from its seven nominations, while modest Aids film Dallas Buyers Club, starring Matthew McConaughey, took home two acting awards, for him and co-star Jared Leto.

British director Steve McQueen’s brutal depiction of pre-civil war American slavery, 12 Years a Slave, based on a true story of free black man Solomon Northup who was sold into slavery, only won one award out of its seven nominations.

It was entirely shut out from the acting honours, for which it had been a presumed favourite.

But Best Drama is the top award of the Golden Globes and McQueen thanked actor and producer Brad Pitt, who played a small part in the film but a big role in getting it made.

“Without you, this movie would never had gotten made, so thank you, wherever you may be,” McQueen said.

Among those that left empty-handed were two darlings of critics, the Coen brothers’ paean to the 1960s folk scene Inside Llewyn Davis and Alexander Payne’s homage to the heartland, Nebraska.

The first big night of the Hollywood awards season is the purview of the 90-some journalists in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), who wield outsized clout in the awards race as buzz around these honours influences members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in their voting for the Oscars.

Oscar nominations will be announced on Thursday and 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle are likely to be in the list of 10 nominees for Best Picture, going head to head unlike in the Globes, where they competed in two separate categories.

The Globes have a mixed record when it comes to predicting the Oscar Best Picture, though last year’s Best Drama winner, Argo, did go on to win the Academy Award for best movie.

In a setting more intimate and whimsical than the tightly scripted Oscars, A-listers and powerbrokers pow-wowed over cocktails and returning co-hosts, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, poked fun at the most powerful in the glamorous audience.

It was a night in which there seemed to be a prize for most every film, a reflection of a banner year for quality cinema in which critically acclaimed films piled up in the last half of the year.

The top drama acting awards went to Cate Blanchett for her turn as a riches-to-rags socialite in Woody Allen’s tragicomedy Blue Jasmine and McConaughey for his portrayal of unlikely Aids activist Ron Woodroof, for which he lost 23 kg.

Amy Adams won Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for her role as the conniving partner to a con-man played by Christian Bale in American Hustle, while Jennifer Lawrence took Best Supporting Actress for her turn as his loopy wife.

The HFPA is known to also reward big Hollywood names and this year Leonardo DiCaprio won Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for his role as a fast-living, drug-popping, swindling stockbroker in The Wolf of Wall Street, his fifth collaboration with director Martin Scorsese.

“As the history of cinema unfolds, you will be regarded as one of the great artists of all time,” DiCaprio told Scorsese as he accepted the award.

The HFPA honoured Woody Allen with the Cecil B. DeMille award recognising outstanding contribution to the entertainment field. Famously averse to awards shows, the 78-year-old sent one of his favourite actresses, Diane Keaton, to stand in for him.

— Reuters

The full list of film winners for 2014

• Best Drama — 12 Years a Slave ;

• Best Comedy or Musical — American Hustle ;

• Best Actor, Drama — Matthew McConaughey, for Dallas Buyers Club ;

• Best Actress, Drama — Cate Blanchett, for Blue Jasmi ne;

• Best Actor, Comedy or Musical — Leonardo DiCaprio, for The Wolf of Wall Street ;

• Best Actress, Comedy or Musical — Amy Adams, for American Hus tl e;

• Best Supporting Actor — Jared Leto, for Dallas Buyers Club ;

• Best Supporting Actress — Jennifer Lawrence, for American Hustle ;

• Best Director — Alfonso Cuaron, for Gravity;

• Best Foreign Language Film — The Great Beauty (Italy);

• Best Animated film — Frozen;

• Best Screenplay — Spike Jonze, for Her;

• Best Original Score — Alex Ebert, for All Is Lost ;

• Best Original Song — Ordinary Love , from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom ;

• Cecil B. Demille Award — Woody Allen.

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