'Boyhood' leads Golden Globes, 'Grand Budapest' upsets

'Boyhood' wins Golden Globe for best motion picture, drama

Funny and bright but perhaps just a bit anodyne, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler presided over the 72nd Golden Globes award broadcast Sunday night from the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel with a sense of professional good cheer, if not quite the feeling of controlled, breezy wickedness they brought to the proceedings in years past.

The Globes are notorious for the amount of alcohol imbibed in the ballroom, but bleary acceptance speeches were absent this year, a night that saw wins for “Boyhood” and the film's director, Richard Linklater, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” for best comedy and top acting honors for Michael Keaton in “Birdman,” Julianne Moore for “Still Alice” and Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything.”

It was the repartee of the hosts, reliable, if lacking a sense of danger, that anchored the night. Paraphrasing one of the more notorious leaked emails in the Sony hack, Fey landed a pair of sharp one-liners right at the top: “Welcome you bunch of despicable, spoiled, minimally-talented brats. Tonight we celebrate all the great television shows that we know and love, as well as all the movies that North Korea was OK with.”

“Boyhood,” which took 12 years to shoot, was notable for best supporting actress winner Patricia Arquette’s presence, proving that there are “still great roles for women over 40,” Poehler noted, “a long as you get hired when you’re under 40.”

The bulk of the monologue was given over to “X celebrity is here…” (“Wes Anderson is here tonight for the film ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ — per usual, Wes arrived on a bicycle made of antique tuba parts”) but none of the punchlines hit quite like the zinger from last year roasting George Clooney’s preference for dating younger women.

Some attendees arrived at the ceremony with Je Suis Charlie iconography — the slogan referencing the murder last week of 12 people at the Paris headquarters of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo — and there were a few nods to it, including one from George Clooney in his acceptance speech, and a prominent visual from Helen Mirren, who accessorized her dress with an actual fountain pen pinned to her gown.

It's been a tough, scary week for satirists, though. Imagine if Fey and Poehler had taken a slightly riskier path on Sunday as an expression of satire's power in a free society. That might have been too tricky a needle to thread; perhaps the Globes aren't the occasion for the kind of thought-provoking comedy that's willing to grapple with just how dangerous things have become for creative types.

Even taking that into account, there was something just a little vanilla about Fey and Poehler's material compared with their previous two outings as Globe hosts, when their jokes had a fascinating architecture, speaking truth to power with a good-natured smile and a side order of deeply comedic sass. When they weren’t afraid to get personal with their Hollywood peers. That was missing for the most part this time out.

To their credit, they didn't let last year's whipping boy Clooney off the hook. Amal Alamuddin is a human rights lawyer, Fey said of his age-appropriate bride, listing the new Mrs. Clooney's impressive and rather serious achievements. “So tonight” — a cat-that-ate-the-canary look coming over Fey's face — “her husband is getting a lifetime achievement award” for, ahem, a career in movies.

The closest the hosts came to a savage if finely wrought moment was when Poehler, listing the fractured fairytales of “Into the Woods,” ended with: “And Sleeping Beauty thought she was just getting coffee with Bill Cosby …”

The Hollywood Foreign Press is often seen as something of a joke, but the voters weren't playing around when it came to television. Departing from the Emmys (which tend to reward the same shows year after year), the Globes were particularly on point Sunday, singling out new shows including “Fargo” (best mini-series), “Transparent” (best comedy) and “The Affair” (best drama). It was refreshing as hell.

Chicago natives fared well this year, with newcomer Gina Rodriguez winning for her title role in the CW series “Jane the Virgin.” She thanked a number of network executives first (let's note the career savvy as well as talent) but also said the award felt significant for the Latino community in recognizing a “culture that wants to see themselves as heroes.”

“Transparent” creator Jill Soloway, who got her start at the Annoyance Theater on the North Side, was a winner, as was the show's star, Jeffrey Tambor. Yet another Chicagoan, Common, who won best original song (for “Glory,” from “Selma”), took the stage and let his priorities be known: “I would like to thank God — and the Hollywood Foreign Press.”

As a night of entertainment, though, there wasn’t much to chew on. Fey and Poehler apparently felt no need to go out in a blaze of glory. Even Ricky Gervais, a past host with a reputation for going for the jugular, kept himself in check. “Let's not ruin it by me saying anything,” he joked … and then embraced the kind of easy inoffensiveness he tends to eschew: “As we've learned, famous people are above the law, as they should be.” He then looked out meaningfully into the audience: “Streep.”

nmetz@tribpub.com

@NinaMetzNews

 

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