BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. » As stars and filmmakers made a grand show of their support for free speech and the rights of all, a pair of personal films, "Boyhood" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel," took the top movie prizes Sunday night at the 72nd Golden Globes.
"The bottom line is that we’re all flawed in this world, no one’s perfect," said Richard Linklater in accepting an award for directing "Boyhood," which a few minutes later would receive the prize for best dramatic film.
His simple, introspective point came at the end of a night that had been dominated by political themes and global worries right from the opening monologue — or duologue — by the co-hosts, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
Winners of the 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards, announced Sunday in Beverly Hills, Calif., by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association:
» Best drama: "Boyhood"
» Drama series: "The Affair"
Source: Associated Press
Fey had welcomed the "despicable, spoiled, minimally talented brats" of Hollywood who had come to honor "all the movies that North Korea was OK with."
It was the inevitable quip, right out of the gate, about the dominant story in Hollywood over the last month: the North Korean-inspired hacking attack on Sony Pictures and its controversial film, "The Interview." The assault forced "all of us to pretend we wanted to see it," said Fey’s co-host, Poehler.
As usual, television awards consumed much of the evening, and several of the most valued awards went to shows like "Transparent" and "The Normal Heart," which explored sociopolitical issues of their own — the transgender experience in "Transparent" and AIDS in "The Normal Heart." When the major film awards finally came into focus in the show’s third hour, actors and filmmakers like Linklater were struggling to bring small matters like show business to the fore.
Michael Keaton, in a widely expected win, was named best actor in a film comedy or musical for "Birdman." With the award, he seemed well on the way toward an Oscar for a bravura performance as a stage actor locked in a life-and-death struggle with his own potential.
What wasn’t said from the stage: The prize for "Grand Budapest" was a blow for "Birdman," which has been seen as a hot contender for the best picture Oscar. Meanwhile, it was a tough night for "Selma," "The Imitation Game" and "Foxcatcher," prominent films that had seemed in line for major awards but didn’t win.
With their sisterly winks, nudges and double takes, Fey and Poehler returned to the North Korean theme several times, ending the show in the company of a mock Korean general (played by Margaret Cho) who promised to return next year, though the co-hosts have already said they will not.
Another perennial target of quips: George Clooney. Set to pick up a Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime service to entertainment, Clooney was mocked by the hosts for receiving a lifetime achievement award when his new wife, Amal, a human rights lawyer, was actually the one whose myriad efforts were saving the world.
Unlike many of the hosts’ gags, it played big in the room.
By Sunday, Clooney had shifted his own focus from Sony to the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris. Clooney and Helen Mirren were among the stars wearing pins in support of that French humor publication and of free speech. Jared Leto, presenting an acting award, put it in French: "Je suis Charlie."
Billy Bob Thornton, onstage to accept an award for "Fargo," said these days you can "get in a lot of trouble no matter what you say, I know this for a fact." So he just said "Thank you."
And there it was again from Amy Adams, as she picked up an award for "Big Eyes," about artist Margaret Keane. For Adams, the story was really about free speech, with a gender twist. It is "so wonderful that women today have such a strong voice," she said.
Matt Bomer won a prize for his work in "The Normal Heart," about the human struggles behind the AIDS. epidemic, while "Transparent," about transgender people, was the best comic or musical series and won an acting prize for Jeffrey Tambor. Those awards gave occasion for a pivot from foreign oppression to a domestic variety.
Yet another issue lurked behind that "Transparent" prize: The series came from Amazon Studios, marking yet another inroad by digital players invading the turf of classic TV distributors.
Extending that trend was Kevin Spacey, who won best actor in a drama, for Netflix’s "House of Cards."
It was not until almost halfway through the show that one of the core movie awards landed — they were beginning to feel like an afterthought.
The prize in question was Patricia Arquette’s, as the best supporting actress for her work in "Boyhood." Arquette’s Globe seemed to point toward future honors for her and "Boyhood," an emerging Oscar favorite.