Silent-era film The Artist and family drama The Descendants were the top film picks at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday in a loose-lipped awards show that even had host Ricky Gervais walking onto the stage with a drink in his hand.
The Descendants, starring George Clooney as a man steering his family through a tragic time when his wife is in a coma, won two Golden Globe trophies, including the top honor of best dramatic movie and another for Clooney as best dramatic actor.
Onstage he thanked writer--director Alexander Payne and backstage told reporters: “He knows how to tell stories. He knows how to make something funny and how to turn it around.”
Clooney called the movie “a coming-of-age film for a 50-year-old and a lot of us have dealt with people like that.”
The Artist, a romantic tale about a failing actor who finds love at a time when movies were -changing from silents to talkies, picked up three awards, including best musical or comedy and best actor in a musical or comedy for its star, French actor Jean Dujardin.
Onstage, Dujardin did the most appropriate thing — gave his speech, thanked his colleagues, then signed off by not saying a word.
Other key winners included Meryl Streep for best actress in a film drama with her portrayal of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. Streep, who is typically reliable with a funny acceptance speech had a difficult time reading hers this year when she forgot her glasses.
Michelle Williams took the trophy for best actress in a comedy or musical with her role as Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn.
Veteran Christopher Plummer, 82, won supporting actor with his portrayal of an elderly man who comes out as gay to his family in Beginners, bringing both poignancy and a touch of humor to their lives. Octavia Spencer, playing a beleaguered housemaid in the US South during the civil rights era in The Help was best supporting actress.
Woody Allen was given a Golden Globe for his screenplay for Midnight in Paris and Steven Spielberg won best animated film for The Adventures of Tintin.
Iranian film A Separation was named best foreign language film, and its director, Ashgar Farhadi, used the opportunity to tell world audiences that “my people. I think they are a truly peace-loving people.”
The Golden Globe Awards are given out by the roughly 90 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). Unlike the Oscar voters, HFPA members also vote on their favorite TV shows and performances and in that arena, Homeland, about a modern-day CIA agent tracking returning war soldiers who may be terrorists, took home two Golden Globes for best drama series and best actress in a drama for Claire Danes.
Best actor in a drama TV series went to Kelsey Grammer for his role as a stern corporate manager in Boss.
Modern Family, a take on -extended families in the US, took the prize for best comedy.
Best actress in a TV comedy went to Laura Dern for Enlightened and the comedic actor trophy was won by Matt LeBlanc for Episodes.
Coming into the show, all eyes were on Gervais, who ruffled the feathers of many Hollywood celebrities last year at the Golden Globes. While he did not tone down his jokes for the this year’s audience — making fun of Johnny Depp, Jodie Foster, Kim Kardashian and the HFPA itself — it seemed the stars were in the mood for his biting wit this time around.