Golden Globes provide high drama of their own


2013’s most exciting cliffhanger turns out to be where the awards season itself will climax The winning films set the tone at this year’s Golden Globes – an event that played out, variously, as a gentle insurrection and an intrepid heist that caught the gatekeepers napping. Les Misérables was named best comedy-or-musical (in my opinion it counts as both), while audacious Argo shot down Lincoln to take the best film drama award. Heads rolled, sides were held and the Oscar race was blown wide open. At the end of a boisterous, unexpected Golden Globe ceremony, we know very little beyond the fact that Jodie Foster is probably gay. Now is not the time to rage against the Globes’ lack of taste or good sense (that moment came last month, when The Master was barred from the best film shortlist and Nicole Kidman found herself nominated for The Paperboy). Far better to accentuate the positive. Certainly Sunday’s awards deserve a round of applause for tossing out the form guide and bounding off in a fresh direction. If nothing else, they’ve kept things interesting. By rights this should have been Lincoln’s night. Steven Spielberg’s meticulous tribute to the civil war president strolled in as the lofty frontrunner, having led the nominees at the Globes, Baftas and Oscars alike. How startling to note that it was promptly sent packing with just one prize to its name (a best actor gong for Daniel Day-Lewis), whereas Django Unchained – an altogether brasher, bloodier approach to the subject of American slavery – came away with two. The evening’s other big winners were Tom Hooper’s rabble-rousing Les Misérables (three awards in total) and Ben Affleck’s Argo, the tale of a daring rescue during the Iranian hostage crisis, which pocketed the all-important drama and director prizes. And yet, even here, the Globes conspired to mess with the formula. Many will feel that the real “best drama” at this year’s Globes came courtesy of Jodie Foster’s extraordinary speech on receiving a lifetime achievement award. Judged in terms of emotional voltage and sheer nail-biting fascination, Foster’s monologue (not so much a public declaration that she is gay as a celebration of privacy in general) risked casting Argo’s high-wire antics as so much excitable tomfoolery. In conclusion, then, we’re none the wiser. At various stages of this most confounding of awards seasons, the favourite’s baton has been passed from Argo to Zero Dark Thirty to Les Mis to Lincoln and now back to Argo again. The Globes have spun and brought us all full circle. My suspicion, now, is that the Baftas may plump for the musical while the Oscars will go for Lincoln. But who knows? The experts are in uproar and the consensus is a joke. The real best drama may be yet to unfold.