Jeremy Irons gets major soothsayer points for the Golden Globes. The actor was one of the evening's first winners -- Best Supporting Actor (TV) for Elizabeth I -- and used up his acceptance speech saying he was rooting for co-star Helen Mirren, 'and if you don't root for Helen Mirren, there isn't much else to do tonight.' Fair point, given that Dame Mirren was the evening's grandest nominee, the first ever actress to have three nominations in the same night.
And what a night it was, the Hollywood Foreign Press showering the two-time Oscar nominee with enough gold to make us picture her profile on postage stamps. Mirren, the first ever actress to play both Elizabeth I and II got Globes twice over, and both films did superlatively well, showing a sudden Globe love for monarchy that made one wish Shekhar Kapur's Cate Blanchett-starrer had released this year instead.
Outside of The Queen, the evening proved interesting for the other best acting trophies, the only expected winner being Meryl Streep for The Devil Wears Prada. Leonardo DiCaprio was left criminally (The Departed) and not-so-criminally (Blood Diamond) out in the cold by Forest Whitaker's bravura Idi Amin portrayal in The Last King Of Scotland, a film that met with superb reception on release, but hadn't gathered enough press. Yet.
The success of Sacha Baron Cohen for Borat was a revelation, and shows that the major awards aren't backing away from the scandalous and often-disgusting work of comic genius merely in the name of political correctness -- an Oscar nod for the film would be delicious.
Johnny Depp could have won for Dead Man's Chest, but the film wasn't Jack Sparrow's finest hour, and while Aaron Eckhart was indeed super-smooth in Thank You For Smoking, but that film shouldn't hope for major award ceremony recognition, save for perhaps a shot at Best Original Screenplay -- unless Little Miss Sunshine ties that up.
With award-favourite Clint Eastwood being pacified by winning Best Foreign Film over the critically raved Pan's Labyrinth, all signs finally point to Martin Scorsese picking up that much-deserved Best Director award for The Departed.
The Globe win is just another step, like the National Board of Review win that shows Marty's at the forefront this year, and the Academy should fork over the award for this film, possibly the finest this decade -- and a work the 64-year-old director isn't much likely to eclipse.
Best Film for Babel was a big surprise, despite the film being absolutely astonishing -- and best described by Dana Stevens in Slate as 'Makes Crash, another recent film with converging stories and a multicultural cast, look like an undergraduate term paper on race relations.' Which the Academy loved, hence the words 'big surprise' in the last sentence.
Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu's film is a magnificent, complex triumph that deserves every award it gets. The Academy needs to reward directors like Inarritu, the icons of modern filmmaking narrative, and it'd be smashing if we saw some of the supporting cast get acting nominations, come the Oscars.
All in all, the Globes have been a pretty fair lot, with the possible exception of Mirren steamrolling Penelope Cruz's incredible work in Volver, and Pan's Labyrinth missing out. Still, it did very well to keep double-nominee Eastwood out of Best Director, and pulled off yet another great decision which reads wrongly as an upset: it halted the march of the penguins. Happy Feet may have been fun, but came nowhere close to Cars.