World War I movie 1917 and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, set in 1960s’ Tinseltown, won the top prizes at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday as the Hollywood awards season got underway.
The Sam Mendes-directed 1917 took Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Director, beating favourites The Irishman and Marriage Story, both from Netflix.
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The nostalgic Once Upon a Time in Hollywood from Sony Pictures won the Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, and had the biggest Golden Globe haul, with three awards.
Martin Scorsese’s high-profile and costly gangster epic for Netflix went home empty-handed on a disappointing night for the streaming service that could affect its Oscar chances in February.
Netflix won just a single Golden Globe in the movie race, for Laura Dern’s supporting role as a ruthless divorce lawyer in Marriage Story.
British director Mendes expressed surprise when he was named Best Director for 1917, an immersive film based on his grandfather’s experiences in the trenches.
“That is a big surprise,” said a stunned Mendes. “I really hope this means people will turn up and see it.”
Joaquin Phoenix, who played a terrifying Joker, and Renee Zellweger, who portrayed Judy Garland in Judy, took the drama movie actor honours. Taron Egerton (Rocketman) and Awkwafina (The Farewell) were first-time winners in the comedy/musical field.
“We all know there is no … competition between us,” Phoenix told his fellow nominees, praising their “beautiful, mesmerising work”.
Tarantino won for the screenplay of his love letter to the industry, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, while Brad Pitt was a popular winner for playing a laid-back stunt double in the film.
British comedian and actor Ricky Gervais, hosting the awards ceremony for the fifth time, threw caution to the wind with expletives and jabs about the dominance of streaming platforms, diversity and Hollywood’s sexual misconduct scandal, which drew mostly nervous laughter from the room of celebrities.
Gervais was not the only celebrity at the boozy dinner to get political.
Michelle Williams, who was named best actress in a limited TV series for Fosse/Verdon, gave an impassioned speech about reproductive rights and encouraged women to vote.
She said she had built a career of her choosing and “wouldn’t have been able to do this without employing a woman’s right to choose. To choose when to have my children and with whom.”
Others, including absent winner Russell Crowe, for television series The Loudest Voice, spoke of the devastating bushfires in Australia and the dangers of global warming.
In the television competition, HBO’s media dynasty show Succession and Amazon Studio’s quirky British comedy Fleabag were the big winners.
British performers took multiple prizes. In addition to Mendes, they included Succession and Fleabag stars Brian Cox and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Olivia Colman for The Crown, Rocketman actor Taron Egerton, and music duo Elton John and Bernie Taupin for original song (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again.