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Golden Globes 2013: a fun-loving antidote to the fusty Oscars

Published: January 14, 2013 | 8:53 am
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Robbie Collin gives his verdict on the 2013 Golden Globes, which saw Ben Affleck win Best Director for Argo, just days after he was snubbed in the Oscar nominations.

Ben Affleck wins the Golden Globe for Best Director for his film Argo.
Ben Affleck wins the Golden Globe for Best Director for his film Argo.

The Golden Globes are voted for by the 88 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and right now I want to kiss each and every one of them on the mouth. Just as awards season was starting to smell unbearably fusty, they have thrown the window wide open, or perhaps smashed it with the business end of a high heeled shoe.
Who, outside the 20th Century Fox PR office, could truthfully describe themselves as thrilled by Lincoln’s sweep of 12 Oscar and 10 Bafta nominations last week? The Globes voters recognised Daniel Day-Lewis’s stooping, stately performance in that film with one of their two Best Actor prizes, but in a vintage piece of Golden Globes nose-thumbing, gave the Best Motion Picture (Drama) award instead to Ben Affleck’s nimble hostage thriller Argo.
Even weirder and more wonderfully, the HFPA also handed Affleck their Best Director prize, just days after he was shut out of that category altogether by the Academy. Oscar-watchers are now frantically trying to parse this result: does it mean Argo could now win Best Picture, making it the first film to do so without a directing nomination since Driving Miss Daisy in 1990? It still seems unlikely. What it has proved is the Globes is unafraid to plough its own furrow, which makes awards season a damn sight less predictable – not to mention a damn sight more fun.
But the Golden Globes has always been at peace with fun, and its voters have no qualms about honouring it. Argo may have been the night’s biggest talking point, but the biggest winner was Les Misérables, which triumphed in three of its four categories: Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) Best Actor (Musical or Comedy) for Hugh Jackman, and Best Supporting Actress for Anne Hathaway. (The fourth was Best Original Song, won by Adele for Skyfall.)
The Globes is at its best when voters make these kind of glaring, common sense choices: the ones the Oscar and Bafta electorates miss because they are too busy working out which films they should vote for. Given a choice between Tom Hooper’s rafter-shaking musical and, say, the fuddled kookiness of David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook (in contention for eight Oscars and three Baftas), I know which I would rather re-watch, and re-re-watch.

Jennifer Lawrence, winner of Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) award for Silver Linings Playbook.

And yet Silver Linings Playbook still picked up the one award it has arguably deserved all along: Best Actress for Jennifer Lawrence. Thanks to the Globes’ category system, in which musicals and comedies are recognised separately from dramas, this did not come at the expense of Jessica Chastain, who won the other Best Actress prize for her work in Zero Dark Thirty.
Rounding out the ceremony were a pair of unexpected fillips for Django Unchained: best screenplay for Quentin Tarantino and best supporting actor for Christoph Waltz. Their secret? Brute likeability. Long may the Globes continue to celebrate it.


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