Liveblog: Golden Globe Dust

Kate Winslet and Slumdog Millionaire are the night’s big winners

by Brian D. Johnson

Golden Globe Dust

The Golden Globes embrace film and TV, but the TV types definitely feel like second-class citizens at Hollywood’s primo party. Last night, as a hyperventilating Kate Winslet accepted her second Golden Globe (she won best actress for Revolutionary Road and best supporting for The Reader), she looked like a woman labouring under the delusion she had just been named Queen of Heaven for Life. Then Rian Wilson from The Office came on with a girl from Gossip Girls and deflated the emotional bombast with a grin and a cheeky reminder: “Hello, we’re TV actors.”

But like the Globes, I’m more interested in film than TV. And the big winners on the movie side of the ledger last night, aside from Winslet, were Slumdog Millionaire and The Wrestler. Mickey Rourke’s speech was the highlight, as he thanked Bruce Springsteen and Axel Rose, who gave him songs for free. Director Darren Aronofsky had trouble getting this movie about a washed-up wrestler financed because the studios had no faith in Rourke, a washed-up star. Rourke helped out by bringing rock stars on board. The irony is that he met Bruce Springsteen via Sean Penn, who was Rourke’s chief rival for best actor with his performance in Milk. We’ll see if Mickey takes Sean to the mat at the Oscars. Meanwhile, here’s my running real-time account of the Globes, typed last night in a live blog…..

What begins is a half-assed live blog of the Golden Globes. Don’t know how long I’ll keep it up. But I’m sitting here at the TV with a laptop on my knees. Might as well type during the commercials. I’ll try to limit myself to the movie awards, because I don’t watch a lot of TV, except for the late night stuff. I’m going to tack new posts onto the bottom, rather than add fresh posts to the top, which may be a hassle if you’re actually reading this live, instead of watching TV—why aren’t you watching TV??—but it will read more coherently in the morning.

So far we’ve seen Kate Winslet bring an Oscar-scale speech to her victory for best supporting actress, which is strange on so many fronts. For one thing, she played the lead role in The Reader. I mean, if she wasn’t the lead, who was? (I guess this is so she wouldn’t have to compete with herself in the Best Actress category for Revolutionary Road) Also, she broke the Golden Globe rule: if you’re any kind of star, you act blase about winning, because everyone knows the only award that counts is the Oscar, and the Globes are part dress-rehearsal, part promotional campaign. Two thumbs up for Kate’s titanic passion.

Bruce Springsteen won best song for The Wrestler. Sting, looking strangely unblond and bearded, like he’d just come out of a marathon tantric session in the woods, handed him the statuette with a hug. Bruce offered the first decent quip of the night: “This is the only time I’m going to be in competition with Clint Eastwood. It felt pretty good too.” Expect the Boss to win the Oscar

* * *

I said I wasn’t going to write about the TV folks. But how could I ignore Tom Wilkinson’s sputtering acceptance of Best Supporting Actor for the TV mini series, John Adams. He could barely bring himself to get the words out, as if to say, “I’m better than this.” Hey, after all, he played a Nazi supporting Tom Cruise in Valkyrie.

* * *

Don Cheadle introduces a clip for Burn Before Reading, wraps his mouth around the phrase “dysfunctional glib gym employees,” calls Brad Pitt stupid, and says, “The Coen brothers who, incidentally, have never hired me. . . are at it again. ”

Everybody has fabulous tans. The breasts match the faces. These Golden Globes are truly golden.

Cool. Of my limited TV diet, the one show I have watched every episode of is In Treatment. Gabriel Byrne just won, but wasn’t around to accept.

* * *

Ah, a live can’t-believe-he-said-said-that moment. This is the reason we like the Globes more than the Oscars. Ricky Gervais just came onstage with a beer in his hand and started riffing dangerously. Started out by reprimanding the crowd for being so rowdy, telling the to “shush,” and questioning the credibility of an awards show that failed to nominate him. Congratulated Kate Winslet, with an I-told-you-so comment: “Do a Holocaust movie, the awards come. The trouble is with Holocaust films, there’s never any gag reel on the DVD.” Even Spielberg is laughing, eventually, although he looks a little nervous about it. Then Gervais goes back to squeezing humour from sour grapes and slagging the Hollywood Foreign Press Association: “I can’t believe I’m not nominated. What a waste of a campaign. This is the last time I have sex with 200 middle-aged journalists. It was horrible. A lot of them didn’t even speak English. Europeans with wispy beards. The men were worse.”

* * *

Sally Hawkins wins best actress for motion picture musical and comedy and can barely contain herself. She’s so “I’ll try to get through as muh as my nerves and knees will let me.” Praises the “exceptionally phenomenal goddesses” nominated with her. She’s beginning to break down. Emma Thompson looks like she might run up and embrace her like an anxious stage mum. No one is happier to to win a Golden Globe than an actor who has come out of nowhere. I mean, if Meryl Streep had won this award for Mamma Mia— and she was nominated—what on earth would she have been able to add to her legacy of acceptance speeches in accepting a minor award for a minor role. That would have required some serious acting.

* * *

Tom Hanks offers a brisk, exuberant acceptance for John Adams, its second award tonight. Our own Sarah Polley played a role in that mini-series, Sarah who was our honoured guest our own Toronto Film Critics Awards last Tuesday night. I see this as a clearcut victory for the TFCA. I noticed the Globes have bottles of Moet et Chandon champagne on every table. At the TFCA, we had bottles of Moet et Chandon on every table. I’m sure they stole the idea from us.

Heath Ledger, predictably and post-humously, wins best supporting actor for playing The Joker in The Dark Knight, as he did at the TFCA. He will win every nomination for this role, deservedly, all the way to the Oscar.

* * *

Colin Farrell presents the award for Best Foreign Language Film to Israel’s Waltz With Bashir, which invents its own genre as an animated documentary about Israel’s war with Lebanon. We wait for the director to say something about the current carnage in Gaza. He says, “I want to dedicate this prize as we promised to do to the eight beautiful production babies born [as it was being filmed] and . I hope one day when they grow up they will watch this film together and they see this war in the film and it will look like an ancient video game that ha nothing to do with their lives whatsoever.” Close enough.

Laura Linney wins best actress for the mini-series John Adams, in what is beginning to look like a sweep.

* * *

Seth Rogen, looking radically slim and virtually handsome (honing himself for his superhero role in Green Hornet). Presenting with Elizabeth Banks, he says he regrets that he wasn’t here in the’ 80s: “Instead of being drunk with Mickey Rourke tonight, I’d be doing cocaine with Mickey Rourke tonight.” Rogen and Banks present the screenwriting award to Slumdog Millionaire.

Alec Baldwin wins best actor for 30 Rock, thanks Tina Fey three times, thanks his family once, mentioning his daughter last, and does not call her “a rude, thoughtless little pig.” What a guy.

* * *

Yet another win for John Adams. The star, Paul Giamatti, wins for best acdtor. This was a hell of a job, this little costume drama we put on. It seemed like there were thousands of people who saved my ass each and every day. Says Tom Wilkinson got him smoking again and thanks “the great nation of Hungary,” where this story of American greatness was shot.

* * *

Tina Fey, televison’s It Girl, demurs as 30 Rock wins the Globe for best comedy series. African American cast member Keith Powell accepts the award for her as she stands by smirking. “Tina Fey and I had an agreement,” he says, “that if Barack Obama won I would speak for the show from now on. Welcome to post-racial America.” I guess being on the cover of Vanity Fair as a star-spangled sex-bomb was recognition enough for theis thinking woman’s comedienne, who has redefined the female face of TV comedy more dramatically than anyone since Mary Tyler Moore. (Hey, I said I wasn’t going to type about TV, and now I’m unleashing vast, un-thought-out generalizations! Gotta love the Globes.)

* * *

Slumdog Millionaire wins for best score. A sign, I think, that it will win best picture. And, between you and me, I predict at this early stage that it will win the Oscar in the same category.

Maybe Tina Fey was just holding her fire. Now she wins best actress in a comedy or musical for 30 Rock and takes the podium. Looking seriously thin—after going on about how her campaign to lose weight in Vanity Fair—she’s wearing a slinky black dress with glittery vertical cleavage. (Don’t asked me what that means. I’ve never been able to describe women’s clothes. What do they call it when a dress exposes the sides of women’s breasts as opposed to the tops?) With her cat-that-ate-the-canary Mona Lisa smile of hers, she said, “I’ve always loved the Hollywood Foreign Press. I have all the Hollywood foreign press action figures.” Then thanked someone else for writing the joke. After saying how lucky she’s been this year, she adds, ” If you ever start to feel to good about yourself they have this thing called the Intenet and you can find a lot of people who don’t like you.” Then she starts naming bloggers. Does anyone not like Tin Fey? Apparently there’s an audience for every taste on the Web.

* * *

“When I think of Steven Spielberg, I think of history,” says Martin Scorsese, introducing a tribute to the man who is, by implication, the other great living American director. Time to hit the fridge.

* * *

Spielberg talks. Thanking Scorsese, he says, “We have known each other for going on 39 years. I was going to talk about a bit about C.C. De Mille, but there’s my inspiration right there [pointing at Scorsese].” Fittingly, in accepting the Cecil B. De Mille award, Spielberg says the first movie his dad saw him to see was Cecil B. De Mille’s ‘The Greatest Show on Earth” in 1952.” He says the train wreck made an indelible impression on him: “C.B. De Mille got me into model railroads. Running my trains at full speed into whatever obstacle I could put in front of them.” Once his dad warned him that he would wreck his train set if he kept staging crashes, he says, he got an 8 mm movie camera, shot one final wreck “and got the same feeling of gratification watching it over and over again.”

The funny thing about Hollywood is that no matter how safe or commercial the filmmaker, he or she sees himself as a risk taker. And I guess Spielberg once was on the edge. Yet even now says he never stops feeling, “Am I going to get away with this? Whenever I tried to tell a risky story, whether it’s about sharks or aliens, I always thought, “Am I going to get away with this?”

He didn’t just get away with it. He ran away with it.

* * *

Danny Boyle wins best director for Slumdog Millionaire, which will go on, I predict, to win Best Picture. This Dickensian tale of a Mumbai underdog is the ultimate underdog movie. The ultimate Little Movie That Could. And its success began right here, at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it won distribution and took the Cadillac People’s Choice Award after its premiere.

* * *

The first real upset of the evening. Colin Farrell wins best actor in a musical or comedy motion picture for In Bruges. He seems as surprised as anyone, saying, “They must have done the counting in Florida.” On the other hand, this is not an Oscar category, and it was baffling to begin with : it might have been surprising to see any of the nominees win, with the exception of Javier Bardem for Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Farrell thanks his director, “for not listening to me when I asked you to cast someone else.”

Finally another blast of bad taste.It’s been a while since Ricky Gervais made people laugh and wince at the same time with a string of Holocaust gags. You gotta hand it the Brits. Now Borat‘s Sasha Baron Cohen unloads three one-liners about the recession affecting everyone, even celebrities I paraphrase: Victoria Beckham has had to go three days without eating. Charlie Sheen has had to have sex without paying for it. Even Madonna has been forced to give up one of her personal assistants—our thoughts go out to you Guy Ritchie.” In the audience a kind of celebrity patriotism prevails, and there are more groans than laughs.

* * *

And now the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a a drama. Wow. This is an upset. Overrriding Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet wins for Revolutionary Road. Her speech is a total emotional meltdown. This time she’s really hyperventilating. “I’m so sorry, Ann, Meryl, Kristin! . . . Oh God, who’s the other one. . . ? Angelina! Forgive me. Is this really happening? Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Please wrap up? You have no idea how I’m not wrapping up. . . .”

Kate, Kate. It’s only the freakin’ Golden Globes. You haven’t won the Nobel Peace Prize. Save something for the Oscars, if this speech hasn’t totally blown your opportunity of having another chance an accepting an award.

Perhaps the strangest part of the speech is where she rhapsodizes about her love for co-star Leonardo DiCaprio. About how she’s loved him for so many years. About how she really, really loves him: “Leo, I love you with all my heart I really do.” Uh, oh yeah, she’s married to the director. She thanks her husband, Sam Mendes. “Thank you for directing this film and killing us every day . . . ” Uh, yeah, and she says she loves him too. And her children, who were with them every day of the shoot and as much a part of it as anyone. Huh? This is a movie about adultery, and her children were as much a part of it as anyone else? I’m totally confused.

Apparently I’m not the only one. Right after her speech, Rian Wilson from The Office comes on to present an award and deadpans, “Hello, we’re TV actors.”

* * *

Mickey Rourke wins best actor for The Wrestler, a feat he’s likely to repeat at the Oscars. He’s takes his time with a nice, sensitive speech, but keep his perspective. “I’m not a really good public speaker,” he says, “I was kinda hoping Robert Downey Jr. get up here and speak for me.” He goes on to talk about how he was almost out of the business seven years ago, and how an agent took a chance on him. He thanks everyone he can think of, from Axel Rose to Bruce Springsteen, from his director to his dogs. About the director, Darren Aronofsky, he says, “He is one tough sonofabitch, and if you’re not in shape, the man will bring you down, because he’s smarter than the rest of us.”

People used to thank God. Tonight no one thanked God. But Rourke may be the first actor who thanks God spelled backwards: “I’d like to thank all my dogs, the ones who are here and the ones who are not here any more.”

* * *

Ah, as predicted here earlier this evening, Slumdog Millionaire takes best motion picture drama. Because Kate Winslet and Mickey Rourke took so long with their speeches, the filmmaker is cut off in mid-thank-you, just after expressing his gratitude to his girlfriend for dumping him just once. I, too, am signing off without further ceremony. I apologize for the errors and typos that undoubtedly litter this live blog. I’ll clean it up in the morning. Good night and good luck.

Liveblog: Golden Globe Dust

  1. here i thought Mickey Rourke would never show up in public again, and there he was, winning big at the Golden Globes

  2. “What do they call it when a dress exposes the sides of women’s breasts as opposed to the tops?”

    Ill-fitting

    Too small

    And the finalist…

    vertical cleavage

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