• Thu. May 23rd, 2024

‘Oppenheimer’ leading Golden Globes with wins for Murphy, Downey Jr., Nolan

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BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 07: (L-R) Cillian Murphy, winner of the Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama for “Oppenheimer,” and Robert Downey Jr., winner of the Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture award for “Oppenheimer,” pose in the press room during the 81st Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton on January 07, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

Kevin Mazur | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Christopher Nolan’s epic American drama “Oppenheimer” is dominating the 81st Golden Globes, where “Succession” and “The Bear” are also taking multiple honors.

“Oppenheimer,” perhaps the Academy Awards frontrunner, picked up four big awards including best director for Nolan, best drama actor for Cillian Murphy, best supporting actor for Robert Downey Jr. and for Ludwig Göransson’s score.

“Golden Globes journalists, thank you for changing your game, therefore changing your name,” said Downey.

The Globes were in their 81st year but facing a new and uncertain chapter. After a tumultuous few years and heaps of scandals, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association was dissolved, leaving a new Globes, on a new network (CBS), to try to regain its perch as the third biggest award show of the year, after the Oscars and Grammys. Even the menu (sushi from Nobu) was flipped.

It got off to a rocky start. Host Jo Koy took the stage at the Beverly Hilton International Ballroom in Beverly Hills, California . The Filipino American stand-up hit on some expected topics: Ozempic, Meryl Streep’s knack for winning awards and the long-running “Oppenheimer.” (“I needed another hour.”)

After one joke flubbed, Koy, who was named host after some bigger names reportedly passed, also noted how fast he was thrust into the job.

“Yo, I got the gig 10 days ago. You want a perfect monologue?” said Koy. “I wrote some of these and they’re the ones you’re laughing at.”

Downey’s win, his third Globe, denied one to Kenergy. Ryan Gosling had been seen as his stiffest competition, just one of the many head-to-head contests between “Oppenheimer” and Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie.” The filmmakers faced each other in the best director category, where Nolan triumphed.

“Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” two blockbusters brought together by a common release date, also faced off in the best screenplay category. But in an upset, Justine Triet and Arthur Harari won for the script to the French courtroom drama “Anatomy of a Fall.” Later, Triet’s film picked up best international film, too.

Though the Globes have no direct correlation with the Academy Awards, they can boost campaigns at a crucial juncture. Oscar nomination voting starts Thursday, and the twin sensations of Barbenheimer remain frontrunners.

Other contenders loom, though, like Yorgos Lanthimos’ Frankenstein-esque fable “Poor Things.” Its star, Emma Stone, won best actress in a comedy or musical.

“I see this as a rom-com,” said Stone. “But in the sense that Bella falls in love with life itself, rather than a person. She accepts the good and the bad in equal measure, and that really made me look at life differently.”

The night’s first award went to Da’Vine Joy Randolph for best supporting actress in Alexander Payne’s “The Holdovers.” Randolph has emerged as the favorite in the category for her performance as a grieving woman in the 1970s-set boarding school drama.

“Oh, Mary you have changed my life,” Randolph said of her character. “You have made me feel seen in so many ways that I have never imagined.”

Swift and stand-ups join new categories

Making a late entrance Sunday was Taylor Swift, whose “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” is nominated in the newly launched “cinematic and box-office achievement” award. Swift’s boyfriend, Travis Kelce, was with his team, the Kansas City Chiefs, played at nearby SoFi Stadium earlier in the afternoon. Whether they would turn up together at the Globes was one of the most debated questions going into the evening.

That category, along with an award for stand-up comedy, were new additions this year. Winner of the stand-up special went, surprisingly, to Ricky Gervais, who didn’t attend the show he so often hosted. Some expected Chris Rock to win for “Selective Outrage,” his stand-up response to the Will Smith slap.

Also new: Most categories include six, not five, nominees. At the same time, the Globes skipped its tribute honors, the Cecil B. DeMille Award and the Carol Burnett Award.

‘Succession’ and ‘The Bear’ lead TV winners

The final season of “Succession” came in the lead TV nominee, and rapidly picked up a pair of awards. Matt MacFadyen won for best supporting actor and Kieran Culkin took best actor. He wryly relished the win over Pedro Pascal (“The Last of Us.”) “Suck it, Pedro,” said Culkin, grinning.

Ali Wong and Steven Yeun both won for their performances in “Beef.”

Jeremy Allen White won for the second time for “The Bear,” but this time he had company. Ayo Edebiri won her first Globe for her leading performance in the Hulu show’s second season. She thanked the assistants of her agents and managers.

The Globes comeback

A few years ago, the Golden Globes were on the cusp of collapse. After The Los Angeles Times reported that the HFPA had no Black members, Hollywood boycotted the organization. The 2022 Globes were all but canceled and taken off TV. After reforms, the Globes returned to NBC last year in a one-year deal, but the show was booted to Tuesday evening. With Jerrod Carmichael hosting, the telecast attracted 6.3 million viewers, a new low on NBC and a far cry from the 20 million that once tuned in.

The Golden Globes were acquired by Eldridge Industries and Dick Clark Productions, which Penske Media owns, and turned into a for-profit venture. The HFPA (which typically numbered around 90 voters) was dissolved and a new group of some 300 entertainment journalists from around the world now vote for the awards.

Questions still remain about the Globes’ long-term future, but their value to Hollywood studios remains providing a marketing boost to awards contenders. (The Oscars won’t be held until March 10.) This year, because of the actors and writers strikes, the Globes are airing ahead of the Emmys, which were postponed to Jan. 15.

With movie ticket sales still 20% off the pre-pandemic pace and the industry facing a potentially rocky 2024 at the box office, Hollywood needs the Golden Globes as much as it ever has.

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