Paul Whitington: Golden Globes snubs and surprises prove only a fool would bet on Oscars outcome
Only a day into its existence, the 2019 awards season is already mired in controversy. Not that it came from the Golden Globes’ impeccable hosts, Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh, who explained that they’d only got the gig because “we’re the only two people left in Hollywood who haven’t gotten in trouble for saying something offensive”.
Last year, while being presented her lifetime achievement award, Meryl Streep said plenty, but there were no overt broadsides against Donald Trump this time around, just polite jokes about inclusivity. No, the controversy came from the surprise success of two films, Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody.
The Freddie Mercury biopic might have gone down a treat with audiences, but was considered lightweight and flippant by many critics, and was also accused of whitewashing the saltier aspects of Mr. Mercury’s covert gay lifestyle. Nevertheless, it beat out such films as BlacKkKlansman, Black Panther, If Beale Street Could Talk and the much fancied Star is Born to win the Best Motion Picture/ Drama award. And Bohemian Rhapsody’s star, Rami Malek, thanked the “beautiful” Freddie when he won Best Actor in a Drama.
Almost as surprising was the success of Green Book, a perfectly enjoyable but rather twee and old-fashioned comedy about an Italian-American bouncer and a refined black musician who embark on an eventful tour of the profoundly racist Old South in the early 1960s. It’s based on a true story but its veracity has been questioned, as has its failure to show just how bad things were in the Jim Crow South. But that didn’t stop the Golden Globes’ venerable judges from making it Best Motion Picture/Comedy, and giving Mahershala Ali the Best Supporting Actor gong.
Bradley Cooper’s Star is Born, meanwhile, walked away with only one award, for Best Original Song, having been widely expected to sweep the board. If this is any indication of how the Oscars are going to go, we could be in for a crazy year.
Christian Bale was a worthy winner for his portrayal of warmongering Vice President Dick Cheney in Vice, and introduced a bracing dose of politics to the evening when he amusingly thanked “Satan for giving me the inspiration to play this role”. So did Glenn Close, when she used her immensely popular Best Actress in a Drama win for The Wife to bang the drum for girl power.
The speech of the night, though, was undoubtedly given by Olivia Colman, after winning Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for the Element Pictures/Ed Guiney-produced The Favourite.
“I’m not going to cry,” she explained, “because my whole table will point and laugh at me,” then thanked, among others, “me bitches”, her co-stars Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone.
And in a nice touch, Sandra Oh, who did a charming job as co-presenter, won an award of her own for her work in the hit TV drama, Killing Eve.
What did it all prove? That only a fool would bet on the outcome of this year’s Academy Awards.