Culture

Big drama: ‘Rhapsody’ upsets ‘Star Is Born’ at Globes

Gwilym Lee and Rami Malek in a scene from the Globes' surprise big winner "Bohemian Rhapsody." Alex Bailey/Twentieth Century Fox via AP

NEW YORK: Thunderbolt and lightning rocked the 76th Golden Globes, where a string of upsets culminated with the Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” winning best picture, drama, over another movie about musicians: Bradley Cooper’s much more heavily favored “A Star Is Born.” “A Star Is Born” came into Sunday’s ceremony in Beverly Hills as the presumed heavyweight and Oscar favorite but Cooper’s remake went home with just one award, for the song “Shallow.”

Instead, the night’s final two awards went to “Bohemian Rhapsody” - the popular but poorly reviewed drama about Queen’s frontman, a movie that wrapped after jettisoning its director, Bryan Singer - and best actor-winner Rami Malek for his full-bodied, prosthetic-teeth-aided performance as Mercury.

“Thank you to Freddie Mercury for giving me the joy of a lifetime,” Malek said.

“This is for you, gorgeous.”

Few nominees were considered more of a sure thing than Lady Gaga as best actress in a drama but Glenn Close pulled off the shocker in that category, too, for her performance in “The Wife,” as the spouse of a Nobel Prize-winning author. Met with a standing ovation, Close said she was thinking of her mother, “who really sublimated herself to my father her whole life.”

“We have to find personal fulfillment. We have to follow our dreams,” Close said, drawing still louder cheers from women in the crowd. “We have to say, ‘I can do that and I should be allowed to do that.’”

It’s Close’s second Globe in 14 nods. She’s never won an Oscar.

A year after Oprah Winfrey’s fiery anti-Donald Trump speech at the Globes, politics were largely absent from the ceremony before Christian Bale took the stage for winning best actor in a musical or comedy for his lead performance in Adam McKay’s “Vice.”

He thanked the Antichrist.

“What do you think? Mitch McConnell next?” the Welsh-born actor joked, referring to the Senate’s majority leader.

“Thank you to Satan for giving me inspiration for this role.”

Co-hosts Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg opened the Globes, put on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, on a note of congeniality, including a mock roast of attendees and a string of jokes that playfully critiqued Hollywood.

Oh performed an impression of a sexist caveman film executive who casts like the title of Damien Chazelle’s Neil Armstrong drama - “First ... man!”

Noting the success of “Crazy Rich Asians,” Oh alluded to films with white stars in Asian roles like “Ghost in the Shell” and “Aloha,” the latter of which prompted “Aloha” star Emma Stone to shout, “I’m sorry!” from the crowd.

Oh, who later also won for her performance on the BBC America drama series “Killing Eve,” closed their monologue on a serious note explaining why she was hosting.

“I wanted to be here to look out at this audience and witness this moment of change,” Oh said, tearing up and gazing at minority nominees in attendance. “Right now, this moment is real. Trust me, this is real, because I see you. And I see you. All of these faces of change, and now, so will everyone else.”

Mahershala Ali, whom the Foreign Press Association overlooked for his Oscar-winning performance in “Moonlight,” won best supporting actor for “Green Book.”

While the Globes, decided by 88 voting members of the HFPA, have little relation to the Academy Awards, they can supply some awards-season momentum when it matters most. Oscar nomination voting begins Monday.

Arguably the biggest boost went to “Green Book,” Peter Farrelly’s interracial road trip through the early ’60s Deep South, which has struggled to catch on at the box office while coming under harsh criticism for relying on racial tropes.

It won best film, comedy or musical, and best screenplay.

“If Don Shirley and Tony Vallelonga can find common ground, we all can,” said Farrelly, the director best-known for comedies like “There’s Something About Mary.”

The year’s biggest domestic box-office superhero hit, “Black Panther,” went unrewarded.

Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt won best song for the signature tune from “A Star Is Born.”

“Can I just say that as a woman in music, it’s really hard to be taken seriously as a musician,” Gaga said, “and as songwriter and these three incredible men, they lifted me up.”

The HFPA don’t including foreign language films in their two best picture categories (for drama and musical/comedy), leaving Alfonso Cuaron’s masterwork “Roma” out of the top category.

Cuaron won best director and the Mexican-born filmmaker’s movie won best foreign language film.

“This film would not have been possible without the specific colors that made me who I am,” he said. “Gracias, familia. Gracias, Mexico.”

“The Kominsky Method” won both best actor in a comedy series for Michael Douglas (he dedicated the honor to this 102-year-old father, Kirk Douglas) and for best comedy series.

Olivia Colman, expected to be Lady Gaga’s stiffest competition when the two presumably go head-to-head at the Oscars, won best actress in a comedy/musical for her Queen Anne in “The Favourite.”

“I ate constantly throughout the film,” she said. “It was brilliant.”

A year after the Golden Globes was awash in a sea of black and #MeToo discussion replaced fashion chatter, the red carpet largely returned to more typical colors and conversation. Some attendees donned ribbons that read TIMESUPx2, to highlight the second year of the gender equality campaign that last year organized the Globes’ black-clad demonstration.

Alyssa Milano, the actress who was integral in making #MeToo go viral, said on the red carpet that in the past year a “really wonderful sisterhood has formed.”

In remarks about everything from Michael Cimino to Buckminster Fuller and his “Big Lebowski” character the Dude, Jeff Bridges, the Globes’ honorary Cecil B. DeMille Award-winner, compared his life to a great game of tag. “We’ve all been tagged. We’re alive,” said Bridges, who ended by “tagging” everyone watching. “We can turn this ship in the way we want to go, man.”

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 08, 2019, on page 12.

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