76th Golden Globe Awards Recap: The Year Of The Ram And The Night Darren Criss Will Always Remember
With the first of the big Hollywood awards shows dusted and done; we can now say that for now, 2019 looks more like it’s the "Year of the Ram," than it is the Year of the Pig. That’s thanks to the biggest surprises of the night, of which part one, was Rami Malek taking the Best Actor in Drama for his portrayal as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, over the big favorite coming into the awards night, Bradley Cooper as the disheveled, perpetually soused, pig of a rock star in A Star Is Born. The others vying in the category were Willem Dafoe, Lucas Hedges and John David Washington—and while Dafoe was brilliant as Vincent Van Gogh in At Eternity’s Gate, who even saw that film? Hedges and Washington for Boy Erased and BlacKkKlansman respectively were long shots to begin with.
It seemed it was Cooper’s to take as you had a really popular film, and Cooper has superior star quality over Malek. The two other notable heavyweight actors were in the other category of Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy namely, Christian Bale for Vice and Viggo Mortensen for Green Book (Robert Redford for Old Man & the Gun, John C. Reilly for Stan & Ollie, and Lin Manuel-Miranda for Mary Poppins Returns rounding out the nominees in that second Best Actor category). But apparently fortune can smile on the underdog, and the HFPA (Hollywood Foreign Press Association) were impressed more by the mercurial and astonishing portrayal that Malek carved out in bringing Freddie to life. If anything, pundits were quick to point to the last minutes of the film, as Malek recreated Queen’s Live Aid Performance to ridiculous and meticulous perfection.
More bewildering for most, and I spoke at length with Cinema One Head Ronald Arguelles about the awards night in general, was surprise #2, Bohemian Rhapsody copping Best Motion Picture Drama, over Black Panther, the aforementioned BlacKkKlansman, If Beale Street Could Talk, and A Star Is Born. Never mind that the two films about musicians were in the Drama category, and not in the Musical or Comedy category; the Golden Globes has always been notorious for making wild selections, and this year will obviously go down as one of the weirdest!
Bohemian Rhapsody was the movie everyone praised Malek for, but got scathing reviews. As much for what the film failed to bring up and explore with any depth, it was evidently a whitewashing of the Queen and Mercury legacy. But be that as it may, the HFPA obviously saw differently, and was ready to gift the film with one of its most coveted awards. The lingering question now is whether the Oscars will follow suit and go beyond a Malek Best Actor nomination. From this corner, even if Bohemian squeaks through to be a Best Film nominee, it won’t have a chance in hell to win the Best Picture Award.
As for Lady Gaga, I wasn’t rooting for her. I felt her nomination was more a Hollywood move to get the younger audience interested in these awards at all. Her best chance to win and get traction was the Golden Globes, where there are two film categories for Best Actress. From here on, the wins at the SAG and Oscars will go to either Olivia Colman for The Favourite as the sheer acting choice, or the sentimental choice of Glenn Close for The Wife. I credit Gaga for not making a fool of herself in A Star Is Born, but personally didn’t feel it deserved a Best Actress nod when placed against the likes of Olivia Colman or Glenn Close. Gaga now has a bright future, but has to demonstrate the potential shown in A Star Is Born can translate to more nuanced portrayals, stretching her raw acting talent.
In the case of Malek, the dedication it took to capture every step, gesture, facial expression of Freddie Mercury in the Live Aid concert portion made us forget it was Rami Malek, and had us truly believing Freddie was there on the screen—it would have been easy to use actual footage, but kudos to Malek and the filmmakers for taking the more difficult route and making it pay off. That kind of acting magic is what the likes of Christian Bale and Olivia Colman achieved in their roles in Vice and The Favourite, bringing Dick Cheney and Queen Anne to vivid cinematic life. And it’s on these counts that Malek had us in the palms of his hands, and taking home the prize.
Whether Malek can duplicate his feat in the succeeding awards show is still up in the air; but for now, it certainly is The Year of the Ram(i); and I know Filipino audiences are happy for him. A Pinoy shout out also for Darren Criss for The Assassination of Gianni Versace, our first Fil-American to win a Golden Globe Best Actor in a Limited Series. From five years as a cast member of Glee to portraying Andrew Cunanan in the Versace made for TV FX crime anthology series; it’s been one exhilarating, and now rewarding, ride for Darren. And we love how in his acceptance speech, he said he’s ‘the son of a firecracker Filipino woman from Cebu’.
Making Darren’s win even more impressive was that the other nominees in the category were Benedict Cumberbatch, Hugh Grant, Antonio Banderas, and Daniel Bruhl. That’s a heavyweight list of established stars to be up against, so a heartfelt congratulations to Darren and his family. And now it’s on to the next awards show.
Lead images from @goldenglobes