The Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody and the fact-based comedy Green Book won major film awards at the 76th annual Golden Globes in a night that also saw a strong showing for British talent.
Though his Spanish-language epic wasn’t eligible for inclusion in either main category, Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma was awarded best foreign language film, while the director-writer-cinematographer bested Bradley Cooper and Spike Lee to take home the prize for best director.
It was a victorious evening for British entertainers, with the stars of The Favourite, Vice, The Bodyguard, and A Very English Scandal recognized for their achievements in film and television. With wins for Roma, The Bodyguard, and the Michael Douglas-helmed comedy The Kominsky Method, Netflix will also be pleased with its haul.
But as the dead sprint to the Oscars heats up, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s decision to honor Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody with the evening’s two pre-eminent awards is sure to earn derision, both films having been accused by audiences and critics alike of handling subjects like race and sexuality in a reductive and regressive manner. Before he was fired during production, the latter film was partially directed by Bryan Singer, who has been accused of sexual assault.
Held at the Beverly Hilton and hosted by Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh, the 2019 Globes proved a somewhat less rousing affair than last year’s ceremony, when Oprah Winfrey gave an affecting speech that set off rumors of a potential 2020 run for the presidency, and celebrities wore all black and Time’s Up pins to honor the victims of sexual abuse.
But in the absence of Oprah and, for the most part, overt references to the president or contemporary hot-button issues, Oh and Samberg approached their co-hosting duties with a certain tongue-in-cheek wit, calling out various celebrities not for their alleged indiscretions but for their good looks or awards season spoils: “You’re hot,” they told Bradley Cooper; “Jacked AF”, they said of Black Panther’s Michael B Jordan, while Oh told the twice-nominated (and twice-losing) Amy Adams to “save some for the rest of us”.
Oh, however, would get her due, taking home the competitive award for best actress in a drama series for her stellar work in the cat-and-mouse thriller Killing Eve. The host triumphed over a murderer’s row of gifted contenders, including Julia Roberts, nominated for Homecoming; Elisabeth Moss, for The Handmaid’s Tale; and Keri Russell, for The Americans.
While Samberg and Oh emceed the ceremony with a refreshing dose of levity, the Killing Eve star did take a moment to acknowledge the considerable diversity amongst the show’s nominees. “I wanted to be here to look out into this audience and witness this moment of change,” she said, noting lucrative box office returns for minority-led films like Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians. “I’m not fooling myself. Next year could be different and probably will be. But this moment is real, because I see you.”
The Americans earned a surprising and indisputably well-deserved win in best drama series, a category for which the Soviet spy drama, which just completed its six-season run, had never before been nominated despite deep and consistent reserves of love among television critics. Along with Russell, the show’s lead Matthew Rhys was nominated for best actor in a drama series but lost out to Richard Madden of The Bodyguard, the smash hit six-part BBC series that notched the network its highest viewing figures in a decade.
In the drama acting categories, Glenn Close beat out Lady Gaga, Nicole Kidman, Melissa McCarthy, and Rosamund Pike for her powerful turn in The Wife, an adaptation of the Meg Wolitzer novel of the same name. Close’s speech, a galvanizing and heartfelt ode to women following their dreams, drew the night’s biggest applause, with the 13-time Globe nominee drawing parallels to her character’s struggle for recognition and fulfillment vis-à-vis her Nobel Prize-winning husband.
“It was called The Wife … that’s why it took 14 years to get made,” said Close, who’s now well-positioned to win her first Oscar at next month’s Academy awards. “We are women and nurturers, we have our children, and our husband’s if we are lucky enough, our partners, whoever. But we have to find personal fulfillment. We have to follow our dreams.”