War epic ‘1917’ wins best drama film Golden Globe

Director Sam Mendes poses at the world premiere of the film ‘1917’ in London December 4, 2019. — Reuters pic
Director Sam Mendes poses at the world premiere of the film ‘1917’ in London December 4, 2019. — Reuters pic

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LOS ANGELES, Jan 6 — War epic 1917 shocked the Golden Globes today by claiming the top prize for best drama film, while Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood won comedy honours, boosting their prospects for next month’s Oscars.

Once Upon a Time... — an homage to 1960s Tinseltown — won the most awards on the night with three prizes, while Martin Scorsese’s much-vaunted Netflix crime saga The Irishman went home empty-handed.

The Globes are the first major awards gala of the year, in a packed season that ends with the Academy Awards in just over a month’s time, so today’s winners will hope to capitalise on some much-needed momentum.

1917 follows two British soldiers through the trenches in World War I, and is filmed to look like one continuous, two-hour-long shot.

“Goodness me, that is a big surprise,” said stunned filmmaker Sam Mendes, who bested Scorsese and Tarantino in the crowded best director category.

“Can I just say there’s not one director in this room, not one director in the world that is not in the shadow of Martin Scorsese? I just have to say that,” he added to loud applause.

Tarantino won the best screenplay award, and Brad Pitt took home best supporting actor honours for his role as a loyal stuntman to Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in the film.

“I also have to thank my partner in crime, LDC,” said Pitt.

“I wouldn’t be here without you, man... I would have shared the raft, though,” he added, referring to the closing scene of Titanic.

Once Upon a Time... clearly resonated with the 90-odd members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), which doles out the prizes, but other films made their mark.

Joaquin Phoenix cemented his Oscar frontrunner status by winning the best drama actor prize for his radical turn in Joker, a dark and controversial take on the comic book super-villain.

Phoenix, like several A-listers, used his speech to address climate change and the Australian wildfires, continuing until producers played him off with music.

He also thanked director Todd Phillips, saying: “You convinced me to do this movie and you encouraged me to give everything and to be sincere. And I’m such a pain in the a**.”

Renee Zellweger also burnished her Oscar credentials with an expected win for biopic Judy, portraying Judy Garland in her later years.

South Korean black comedy Parasite bagged the award for best foreign language film, as widely expected, while Awkwafina became the first actress of Asian descent to win the best comedy actress prize for The Farewell.

Oscar nominations voting is already under way, but does not close until tomorrow.

Gervais roasts Hollywood

Stars arriving under bright California skies in couture gowns and extravagant jewels were greeted by British comic Ricky Gervais’s signature cutting one-liners.

“Let’s go out with a bang, let’s have a laugh at your expense, shall we?” joked Gervais, hosting the awards for the fifth and final time, before tearing into the industry with a no-holds-barred monologue.

Gervais tackled topics haunting the entertainment sector including #MeToo, lack of diversity, and the streaming wars, to name but a few.

An off-colour joke about British actress Judi Dench and the critically slammed film Cats was bleeped out by censors.

Elton John’s I’m Gonna Love Me Again won best original song for Rocketman, a musical biopic about the legendary British musician’s life, and Taron Egerton won best musical/comedy actor for his starring role.

“It was one of the most emotional moments of my life to win this, the first time I’ve ever won an award with him,” said John, referring to long-time collaborator Bernie Taupin.

“It’s a relationship that doesn’t happen very much in this town — it’s a 52-year-old marriage,” added Taupin.

Tom Hanks welled up thanking his family as he accepted a lifetime achievement award.

TV honours

Among the Globes handed out on the TV side, HBO hit “Succession” won best drama, fending off Netflix’s flagship “The Crown.” Its star Brian Cox won for best actor.

But “Crown” star Olivia Colman scooped best actress for her turn as Queen Elizabeth II.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge added a best comedy actress Globe to her Emmy win for her show “Fleabag,” which also won overall top comedy honors.

Netflix flops

Netflix -- which has disrupted the film industry in recent years -- began the night far ahead of the traditional Hollywood studios with 17 Globe movie nominations.

“This show should just be me coming out, (saying) ‘You win everything, Netflix, good night,” joked Gervais.

But the streaming giant, which has spent billions to lure the industry’s top filmmaking talent, flopped to end with just one movie win.

Laura Dern won for her supporting turn in Marriage Story, a heart-wrenching divorce saga starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, which began the night with the most nods (six).

The Irishman, a favourite to win best picture that cost Netflix US$160 million (RM657 million) to make, did not convert any of its five nominations. — AFP

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