Oscar 2011: The Artist Sweeps the Golden Globes

“The Artist” took three Golden Globes, including best comedy or musical, best actor for Jean Dujardin and for Ludovic Bource’s original score.

“The Descendants” won the Golden Globe for best drama.

But the Hollywood Foreign Press Association hewed to its tradition as an egalitarian bunch, spreading major awards around to George Clooney for best drama actor in “The Descendants,” Meryl Streep for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady,” and Michelle Williams for musical or comedy actress in “My Week With Marilyn.”

The Weinstein Company led all studios with six, and Harvey Weinstein, whose new nickname “The Punisher” was uttered numerous times at the podium, was undoubtedly the most-thanked individual of the night.

“Descendants” star George Clooney earned a lead actor nod, taking special care to thank fellow nominee Michael Fassbender for taking on the nude role of the season. “Seriously, you could play golf with your hands tied behind your back.”

Meryl Streep’s eighth Golden Globe win, for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady,” demonstrated the HFPA’s tendency to spread the wealth, giving her the award over “The Help’s” Viola Davis. But Streep said the award was almost “embarassing in a year that saw so many extraordinary performances by women in leading roles,” singling out her “Doubt” co-star Davis.

Both Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese made their way to the stage to accept awards. Scorsese earned a statuette for “Hugo,” his third career Golden Globe, following wins for 2002’s “Gangs of New York” and 2007’s “The Departed.” Spielberg accepted a best animated film award for his motion-capture adventure “Adventures of Tintin,” a bit of a no-brainer given the international appeal of the Belgian character.

“The Help’s” Octavia Spencer followed up last week’s Critics Choice award win with her first Golden Globe for her supporting role. “I’m trembling,” she said. “I’m going to fall off of these high-heeled shoes.”

Seth Rogen highlighted “My Week With Marilyn’s” questionable inclusion in the comedy/musical category when he introduced Michelle Williams “for the hysterical comedy.” Williams ultimately took home her first Golden Globe for her delicate portrayal of Marilyn Monroe, and thanked her daughter, Matilda, for patience with “six months of bedtime stories where all of the voices were read aloud in a Marilyn Monroe voice.”

Best screenplay kudos when to Woody Allen for “Midnight in Paris,” giving him a second Globe — and giving the telecast a chance to catch up, as Allen was not present.

“A Separation” continued apace toward an Oscar nomination by taking home the foreign-language film Globe, adding another trophy to a long line of critics wins the film has had during the season.

Christopher Plummer took home his first Golden Globe for his supporting role in “Beginners”, thanking “my wife of 43 years, whose bravery and beauty haunt me still.”

Original Score went to Ludovic Bource for “The Artist.” “If I were to write a song right now, it would be a tap dance number.”

Original song went to Madonna for “Masterpiece” from “W.E.,” a big surprise in a category that included nominations for songs from Mary J. Blige, Elton John and Chris Cornell.

 

Third-time host Ricky Gervais, invited back despite Hollywood’s uneasy reception of last year’s barbs from the dais, made it clear with his first words that more of the same was on tap. “So. Where was I?” he said, the precursor to a litany of insults aimed at the HFPA, kudocast network NBC, former future Oscar host Eddie Murphy, Kim Kardashian, Madonna, the entire audience at the Beverly Hilton — even his own agent.

Though once considered a precursor to the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes have become merely a complementary event since Oscarcast moved from March to February in 2004. Instead of Globe winners getting trophies while Academy voters still have a month to fill out ballots, Oscar voting closes on the eve of the Globes telecast.

Some overlap between nominees is inevitable, particularly when the HFPA can tap 10-14 films between the drama and musical/comedy categories — but there remains a distinct disconnect that makes the Globes a less-reliable bellwether. As a consolation to those who walked away empty handed Sunday: The Globes have lined up with the Oscar’s best picture only twice in the last decade, when “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” swept the Oscars 2004 and “Slumdog Millionaire” took home multiple statuettes in 2009.

The HFPA has also been accused of skewing toward stars in nominations and wins. Exhibit A: Johnny Depp’s lead actor nom for “The Tourist” last year. But it is an international group that tends to favor films with international appeal, and leans toward spreading the awards wealth — it’s rare that any single film walks away with most of the trophies.

Sunday’s ceremony came after a litigious year for the HFPA. Shortly before last year’s Globes, the org’s former publicist, Michael Russell, accused it of terminating his deal and alleged bribery in a $2 million lawsuit. The HFPA is also suing Globes producer Dick Clark Prods., accusing it of using deceptive means to renew its broadcast contract with NBC. That action is scheduled for trial on Jan. 24, the same day the Academy Award nominations are announced.

The ceremony was broadcast live in 199 international markets from the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.