Monday, January 9, 2017

Recap: 'La La Land' sweeps the Golden Globes with record 7 wins

It's always tough to say whether the Golden Globes will have an impact on the Oscar race. The voting body of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is so radically different from every other group, comprised of between 60-90 journalists, compared to the nearly 7,000 members of the Academy. In addition to that, with the massive splits between the categories of Drama and Musical/Comedy, it's hard to really get a read on the overall picture of the awards race from the Globes. That being said, the show is important from an optics standpoint, as it's the first recognizable television awards show and the chance for many favorites to take the stage. The Globes are rarely responsible for cementing a front-runner, but last night, they may have done just that. Here are the winners from last night's telecast of the Golden Globes.

Best Motion Picture- Drama- MOONLIGHT

Best Motion Picture- Comedy or Musical- LA LA LAND

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture- Drama- Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture- Drama- Isabelle Huppert, Elle

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture- Comedy or Musical- Ryan Gosling, La La Land

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture- Comedy or Musical- Emma Stone, La La Land

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture- Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nocturnal Animals

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture- Viola Davis, Fences

Best Director- Motion Picture- Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Best Screenplay- Motion Picture- Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Best Motion Picture- Animated- ZOOTOPIA

Best Motion Picture- Foreign Language- ELLE

Best Original Score- Motion Picture- Justin Hurwitz, La La Land

Best Original Song- Motion Picture- "City of Stars" from La La Land

When the first award of the night went to Aaron Taylor-Johnson for Nocturnal Animals, I thought we were surely in for an unpredictable show. After all, nobody thought Taylor-Johnson would be nominated, much less win the actual thing. But while there ended up being a few surprises, including the impressive Best Actress win by Isabelle Huppert, this night belonged to one dominant awards season juggernaut.

In my predictions on Friday, I chose La La Land to win 6 out of the 7 awards it was nominated for. I thought that I was going pretty high on Damien Chazelle's modern musical, but I somehow ended up underselling the film's chances at the Globes. Make no mistake about it- last night was all about La La Land. As soon as Jimmy Fallon's opening number, which literally recreated three scenes from the critically acclaimed film, appeared on screen, I had a feeling that this would be a very La La Land-centric night. It ended up with the clean sweep, winning awards for Picture, Actor, Actress, Director, Screenplay, Song, and Score, setting the all time Golden Globes record with 7 wins. Only one other film last night won more than one award (the black comedy/character study about rape, surprisingly enough), and several other front-runners saw their hopes deflated by the buoyant L.A.-set love story.

Whatever awards season momentum was lost by the SAG snub has now been regained by Chazelle's film. There's a good chance that it receives 14 nominations at the Oscars this month (which would tie Titanic and All About Eve for the most in history), and it's currently the odds-on favorite to win 9 of those possible awards. Moonlight did have a big win last night in the Best Picture- Drama category, there's no denying it. Barry Jenkins' film received a standing ovation and was clearly beloved by the room. But La La Land is the favorite right now, and it's not exactly close. This film has positioned itself as quite possibly one of the all time Oscar juggernauts, and if it keeps up the strong momentum at the Producers and Directors Guild Awards, it should have no problem at the Dolby Theatre. In order to stay competitive and make Oscar night interesting, Moonlight needs a win at the SAG Awards on January 29 and a victory at the Writers Guild as well. If the A24 release gets upstaged by Manchester by the Sea, La La Land will steamroll without a hint of competition.

As for the other races, there were a few contenders who cemented their status and a few who found themselves on shaky ground. Viola Davis and Casey Affleck took home trophies, much to the surprise of nobody, and they're both currently on an unstoppable path to an Oscar win for their deservedly praised performances. As for Natalie Portman, she hit a rough patch last night with her loss to Isabelle Huppert. The star of Jackie gained some ground at the Critics Choice Awards with her win over Emma Stone, but this should be considered a big stumble. Of course, many have mentioned that Huppert obviously did well with the foreign journalists, and that there shouldn't be much concern for Portman's Oscar chances. But if there's any sort of split between Huppert and Portman, that's good news for Stone.

Mahershala Ali was surprisingly upset by Aaron Taylor-Johnson in the supporting actor category, but unless it becomes a trend moving forward, I don't think Team Moonlight has too much to worry about. Zootopia got a nice boost in the animated feature category, while Elle's victory in foreign language will have no impact on the Oscars simply because it's ineligible. As for the best moments of the night, I was particularly touched by Ryan Gosling's speech, which was a nice tribute to Eva Mendes and her late brother. Of course, Meryl Streep turned things into a major event with her terrific speech, which was rousing, effective, and emotional in equal measure. And as a fan of La La Land, the aforementioned opening number dazzled me. This was a very fun night, and as a huge fan of the two Best Picture winners, I couldn't be happier with the results. We'll see where the race goes for here, but La La Land is looking like the kind of Oscar contender that most studios only dream of.

Images courtesy of Lionsgate

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