NBC’s telecast of the 66th Golden Globe Awards was turning into a predictable, ho-hum affair Sunday night at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles. Not as dull as last year’s event, when the writers' strike reduced it to an extended press conference, but almost.
Then Tracy Morgan, Kate Winslet, and Mickey Rourke saved the day… uh, night.
Winslet became the third person in Globe history to win two film acting awards, Rourke continued his career comeback by jumping off the mat as The Wrestler to defeat a strong field for best actor in a drama, and Morgan, as the “face of post-racial America,” rocked the star-studded house in an acceptance speech for best TV comedy 30 Rock.
They were the highlights of the three-hour show along with Slumdog Millionaire, the darling of fans and critics alike about a poor teenager from the streets of India seeking fame, fortune, and love while competing on the country’s version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. The movie continued to steamroll its higher-budgeted and seemingly more formidable competition, just like it did at the Critics Choice Awards three days earlier.
Slumdog went 4-for-4 at the Golden Globes, winning for best film (drama), best director (Danny Boyle), best screenplay (Simon Beaufoy), and best original score (A.R. Rahman).
They were all Critics Choice Awards winners, too. And while the plaudits for a feel-good arthouse film with subtitles attract more well-deserved attention and ensure its chances at Academy Awards time, the same Slumdog faces making acceptance speeches did little to create much spontaneity Sunday night.
The awards for excellence in television intermingled with the film categories, but there were few surprises there, too.
HBO’s John Adams, the seven-part series about the nation’s second president, dominated the drama categories, including best mini-series or motion picture made for TV and acting awards to Paul Giamatti (best actor), Laura Linney (best actress), and Tom Wilkinson (best supporting actor).
And while winners Tina Fey (best actress) and Alec Baldwin (best actor) continued to establish 30 Rock’s hold as TV’s most beloved comedy among critics (if not viewers), it was another cast member, former Saturday Night Live player Tracy Morgan, who stole the show Sunday night.
As the entire cast hit the stage when the show was named best TV series – musical or comedy, Morgan (with Fey, far left) didn’t hesitate to reach the podium.
“Tina Fey and I had an agreement that if Barack Obama won, I would speak for the show from now on,” he said. “Welcome to post-racial America. I’m the face of post-racial America; deal with it, Cate Blanchett.”
Blanchett, not in attendance, wasn’t even nominated Sunday night, but her film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button curiously was shut out again, just like at the Critics Choice Awards. It tied for the most Globe nominations (five), along with Frost/Nixon and Doubt, both of which also left empty-handed.
This trend doesn’t bode well for those highly recognized films. And it has also made the early awards season more uneventful to watch and less tougher to handicap.
Other repeat winners from Thursday night’s Critics Choice Awards among the film categories included Winslet (best supporting, The Reader), the late Heath Ledger (supporting actor, The Dark Knight), Bruce Springsteen (best song, The Wrestler), who sat between his wife Patti Scialfa and Rourke, Israel’s Waltz With Bashir (best foreign language film), and Wall-E (best animated feature).
Although she has been shut out at previous Oscar and Golden Globe nominations (five times each), Winslet was again considered the front-runner in the supporting category for her portrayal of a former Nazi prison guard in The Reader.
She kept her cool in accepting the first award, then lost it after winning the best actress – drama award for Revolutionary Road, the best film nominee directed by her husband Sam Mendes and co-starring her Titanic partner, best actor nominee Leonard DiCaprio.
A flummoxed Winslet reached out to her fellow best actress nominees. “I’m so sorry, Anne [Hathaway], Meryl [Streep], Kristin [Scott Thomas]. … Oh God, who’s the other one? Angelina [Jolie]. Okay, now forgive me … Gather. … Is this really happening?”
Rourke, who won for his role as down-and-out wrestler Randy “The Ram” Robinson, soon followed and seemed humbled and gracious, thanking everyone from Springsteen to co-stars Evan Rachel Wood and supporting actress nominee Marisa Tomei to … his dogs?
They included “the ones that are here and the ones that aren’t here anymore because sometimes when a man’s alone, that’s all you got is your dog,” he said.
He also recognized his dark past and was especially grateful that someone took another chance on him. His praise of director Darren Aronofsky took on an R-rated tone worthy of a gritty scene from his movie.
“It’s been a very long road back for me,” Rourke said. “Several years ago, I was almost out of this business … I worked with a really special director that had to really fight hard for me in this movie because he couldn’t get any money on my name … He brought the best out of me. He hates it’s when I say he’s tough but he’s one tough son of a bitch.”
The camera zeroed in on Aronofsky, who was smiling broadly while clearly (even on tape delay) flipping the middle finger at Rourke. Hopefully, it was past his children’s bedtime, along with the other kiddies in more than 160 countries where the event was seen.
Slumdog producer Christian Colson also got in the smutty spirit of things. In accepting the award from presenter Tom Cruise for best drama, he let the F-word slip while the music began to wrap up the proceedings. So much for sticking to the script.
At least it made for an interesting ending for anyone still awake to see it.
Memorable Moment Runner-Ups
Best off-the-cuff remarks by someone other than Tracy Morgan: British actor/comedian Ricky Gervais, right, improvised in introducing the film clip for best film comedy nominee Happy-Go-Lucky. With beer in hand, he gave a shout-out to a fellow Brit, saying, “Well done, Winslet. I told you – do a Holocaust movie … the awards come, didn’t I? … The trouble with Holocaust films, there's no gag reel on the DVD."
Best comments from a winner who still knows his place: Springsteen, whose best song challengers included Gran Torino: “This is the only time I’m going to be in competition with Clint Eastwood. Felt pretty good, too.”
Complete List of Winners from the 66th annual Golden Globe Awards
- Best Motion Picture – Drama: Slumdog Millionaire
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama: Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
- Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy: Vicky Cristina Barcelona
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy: Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical Or Comedy: Colin Farrell, In Bruges
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Kate Winslet, The Reader
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
- Best Animated Feature Film: Wall-E
- Best Foreign Language Film: Waltz With Bashir (Israel)
- Best Director – Motion Picture: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
- Best Screenplay – Motion Picture: Slumdog Millionaire, by Simon Beaufoy
- Best Original Score – Motion Picture: Slumdog Millionaire, by A. R. Rahman
- Best Original Song – Motion Picture: The Wrestler, music and lyrics by Bruce Springsteen
- Best Television Series – Drama: Mad Men
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama: Anna Paquin, True Blood
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama: Gabriel Byrne, In Treatment
- Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy: 30 Rock
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical Or Comedy: Tina Fey, 30 Rock
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical Or Comedy: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
- Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: John Adams
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Laura Linney, John Adams
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Paul Giamatti, John Adams
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Laura Dern, Recount
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Tom Wilkinson, John Adams