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As an unabashed cinephile, I love the Globes in part because the stars are more relaxed (read: drunk!), but mostly because it foretells things to come.
Let’s start with the obvious from the 74th Annual affair.
LA LA LAND SWEEP!
Damien Chazelle’s romantic, fantastical, old-fashioned musical “La La Land” has clearly danced its way into the hearts of fans and critics alike. Not only were Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone the darlings of the night (and winners of Best Actor/Actress, Musical or Comedy) but the film won ALL seven awards for which it was nominated, setting a Globes record for most wins for the same film. Both the score and original song, “City of Stars” garnered gold, but so did Chazelle in the Director AND Screenplay categories. Of course, it also won best picture, musical or comedy. And in my book, it unofficially won Best Opening number parody.
BATTLE LINES ARE DRAWN!
Another film which strengthened its Oscar hopes was “Moonlight,” the winner for Best Picture, Drama. The painful, coming-of-age story of a young gay man, and his difficult youth in the drug-addled streets of Miami rightfully establishes Barry Jenkins’s “Moonlight” as the strongest contender to end the drought of awards (and even nominations) for African-American-focused films.
Despite the surprise upset of Aaron Taylor-Johnson who played a villainous “redneck” in Tom Ford’s stylized, noir-ish “Nocturnal Animals” over Mahershala Ali as the touchingly paternal drug dealer in “Moonlight” in the Best Supporting Actor category, Jenkins’s movie is sure to rack up Oscar noms . . . and, I’d venture to guess, a win for Ali.
The Best Actor, Drama award went to Casey Affleck, for his portrayal of the emotionally paralyzed protagonist in “Manchester By the Sea.”
Despite some low-volume controversy about sexual assault allegations, Affleck would appear to be the Oscar front-runner, and “Manchester” a viable Best Picture candidate.
Likewise, “Fences” profile rose with the Best Supporting Actress win by the unequivocally fantastic Viola Davis. In my opinion, Davis’s powerhouse performance should be that of a Best Actress nominee, equal in range and screen time of her movie “husband” Denzel Washington.
But in the mysterious ways of award season’s inner-workings, there seems to be an unspoken understanding that Natalie Portman is a shoe-in for Best Actress for “Jackie,” and at the same time, acknowledgment that Davis should receive an award; ergo, Best Supporting for Ms. Davis.
Directed by Washington, “Fences” is justifiably being hailed as that rare example of a movie that is even better than its Broadway version.
Every performance in this film was incredible, and to my novice eye the direction and cinematography added greatly to the tense mood of the film.
Ironically, Portman — whose uncanny portrayal of Jackie Kennedy in the days after JFK’s assassination transcended mere caricature and showed a nuanced strength/vulnerability mixed with fierce smarts in fashioning the Camelot legacy of her husband — did NOT win Best Actress, Drama, in a year where she seems destined to pick up her second Oscar for “Jackie.”
Instead, indie mainstay Isabelle Huppert won for her terrific turn in the French film “Elle.” Keep in mind the Globes are awarded by the Hollywood FOREIGN Press Association! But Huppert probably cemented her Oscar nomination.
So to recap: “La La Land”, “Moonlight”, “Manchester By the Sea”, “Fences” and “Jackie” should be front and center come Oscar time.
I was also incredibly moved by “Lion.” And the Globes appearance of Dev Patel and Sunny Pawar, who was unbelievably good in the film, to introduce their film, made me misty all over again! “This is our film, ‘Lion!’” Adorable!
MERYL STREEP — KATHERINE HEPBURN AND MARLON BRANDO ALL IN ONE!
I don’t need to love Meryl Streep any more than I already do. For my entire adult life she has been the greatest living actor. But she topped even herself in her brilliant-as-always, impassioned acceptance speech for her Cecil B. DeMille Award.
Starting with the recognition that those in the room — Hollywood, Foreign and Press — are held in contempt in the current political environment, she went on to observe how Donald Trump, without ever mentioning his name, mocked a disabled reporter, and she framed it as an effective but disturbing acting performance that, unfortunately, was real life.
“When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.” She also cleverly referenced more than a handful of Hollywood actors who are of foreign descent, to demonstrate how diversity enriches our culture and the arts. Streep is a treasured star in every sense of the word.
I planned to write about fashion — FASHION FOREWORD — and how the Globes also presage Oscar attention (Viola! Emma! Natalie! Plunging necklines!), but, alas, my time is up! Look for the Oscar nominations to be announced January 24 and my coverage thereafter.