Steven Spielberg wins big as Golden Globes make comeback
Steven Spielberg claimed top honors including best drama at the Golden Globes on Tuesday for his deeply personal film “The Fabelmans,” as Hollywood’s A-list stars flocked to the first major awards show of the year despite a series of scandals swirling around its organizers.
The other top film award, best comedy or musical, went to “The Banshees of Inisherin” — a tragicomedy about a shattered friendship on a remote Irish island that ended the night with the most movie prizes.
Spielberg, who also took home the award for best director, thanked his family including his late mother, who he said would be “up there kvelling about this right now.”
“The Fabelmans” covers the troubled marriage of Spielberg’s parents, anti-Semitic bullying, and the director’s early efforts making zero-budget movies with his teenage friends.
“Everybody sees me as a success story, and everybody sees all of us the way they perceive us based on how they get the information,” said the 76-year-old filmmaker.
“But nobody really knows who we are until we’re courageous enough to tell everyone who we are.”
Spielberg said films like “E.T.” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” had used elements from his real life, but he had “never had the courage to hit this story head on” until now.
Despite faring poorly at the box office, the film saw off last year’s two biggest commercial hits — James Cameron’s sci-fi film “Avatar: The Way of Water,” and “Top Gun: Maverick” — to win the night’s final prize.
“Inisherin” also earned a win for Colin Farrell for best comedy actor, boosting his Oscar hopes, and for writer-director Martin McDonagh for best screenplay.
The Globes, which kick off the annual film prize-giving season, have not had their usual glitz for the past two years, due to the pandemic and revelations about their organizers’ lack of diversity and allegations of ethical lapses.
In particular, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which organizes the awards, was criticized for not having a single Black member, although it has recently expanded its ranks.
All eyes were on which A-listers would show up Tuesday, as NBC — which scrapped its broadcast of the show last year — brought back the 80th Golden Globe Awards on a one-off basis.
As it turned out, many heavy hitters were in attendance, including Spielberg, Rihanna and Brad Pitt.
Austin Butler, stepping into Elvis Presley’s blue suede shoes for rock-and-roll biopic “Elvis,” won best actor in a drama.
“You were an icon and a rebel and I love you so much,” said Butler to the legendary singer, in an emotional speech in which he also praised Presley’s family for their support.
Eddie Murphy accepted a career achievement award at the Beverly Hills gala, while Angela Bassett won best supporting actress for Marvel blockbuster “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
But Cate Blanchett, who won best drama actress for “Tar,” in which she plays a ruthless conductor navigating the cutthroat world of classical music, did not attend the gala.
Other prominent winners who didn’t show included Kevin Costner (“Yellowstone”), Zendaya (“Euphoria”) and Amanda Seyfried (“The Dropout”).
Michelle Yeoh won best comedy actress for the surreal “Everything Everywhere All At Once.”
Her co-star in the multiverse-hopping sci-fi film, Ke Huy Quan — who shot to fame as a child star in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” almost four decades ago — won best supporting actor.
Action-packed Indian blockbuster “RRR,” which has become a huge word-of-mouth hit in Hollywood, added momentum to its awards season campaign by winning best song.
“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” won best animated feature, while “Argentina, 1985” won best non-English language film.
On the television side, “Game of Thrones” prequel “House of the Dragon” won best drama, and “Abbott Elementary” claimed best comedy series.
Success at the Globes is often seen as a potential bellwether for films hoping to win Oscars, which take place this year on March 12.
Academy voters will begin casting ballots for Oscar nominations on Thursday, just days after the Globes gala.
But recent controversies have muddied the waters.
Host Jerrod Carmichael, who struck a daring and edgy tone throughout the night, kicked the gala off with a monologue poking fun at the HFPA.
“I’ll tell you why I’m here. I’m here because I’m Black,” said Carmichael.
Most of the Globes’ usual swanky after-parties — where winners parade their trophies, and losers drown their sorrows with free champagne — did not take place this year.
Nominee Brendan Fraser and Tom Cruise, the star and producer of “Top Gun: Maverick,” notably did not attend.
But despite the controversy surrounding the Globes, “Avatar” director Cameron told AFP he “didn’t really think about it that much.”
“Obviously I did my research about what they had gone through, and I made sure that they had been responsive to the protests and complaints and all that, which I believe they have been,” he said.
“I think we should celebrate the fact that an organization does such radical changes.”