Martin Grove’s Hollywood Report 01-14-13

Daniel Day-Lewis won Best Actor in a Drama for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln at the 70th Golden Globe Awards

Daniel Day-Lewis won Best Actor in a Drama for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln at the 70th Golden Globe Awards

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in “Silver Linings Playbook”

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in “Silver Linings Playbook”

“Les Misérables” – Anne Hathaway as Fantine

“Les Misérables” – Anne Hathaway as Fantine

Golden Globes: With Sunday’s Golden Globe wins and Thursday’s Oscar nominations behind us, we’re heading full speed down the awards season homestretch.

As always, the Globes were the year’s best awards show and Hollywood’s best party night of the year. I was on hand once again for the festivities and thought they were better than ever. That’s a comparison I really can make having first attended in 1992 for the 49th Annual Golden Globes and then, after missing the next two years, having returned in '95 for the 52nd Annual. I’ve been celebrating at the Globes right through Sunday’s 70th Annual and, as far as I’m concerned, this one was the best yet.

Part of the reason for that is that The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), whose members vote to award the Globes, made the smart decision to bring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler on board to co-host the show after having endured three years of really mean spirited hosting by Ricky Gervais.

Tina & Amy were just what the Globes needed. They were consistently funny and able to keep the show moving along without resorting to nasty and vicious insults directed to the Hollywood insiders at tables filling the Beverly Hilton Hotel’s International Ballroom.

The high profile comedy stars were also just what the ratings doctor ordered. The three-hour live telecast on NBC reached 16.7 million viewers, according to Nielsen’s fast national ratings, an increase of 17 percent or 2.8 million viewers over last year. That’s the best the Globes have done in the past six years.

The Globes boasted a major surprise for viewers at home and on hand at the Beverly Hilton with “Argo” capturing the best picture – drama award that many Hollywood handicappers predicted would go to Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln.”

Listening to conversations after the show at the after-parties at the Beverly Hilton, you have to view the Globes winners as now being Oscar front runners. My wife, Marjorie, and I heard that buzz as we made the rounds of HBO’s glittering poolside party (the pool’s covered over now in order to accommodate more partygoers), The Weinstein Company’s celebration in the tented Bar 210 (fondly remembered as the Old Trader Vic’s, but now boasting a well-stocked tequila bar) and NBC Universal’s bash (driven by the night’s liveliest and loudest party music) on the hotel’s tented parking garage roof.

There was plenty to celebrate at all three events. HBO had an outstanding night with five wins, including two for its red hot hit “Girls” (best comedy series and best comedy actress – Lena Dunham) and three for “Game Change” (best TV movie/miniseries, best actress in a movie/miniseries – Julianne Moore; and best supporting actor – Ed Harris).

The Weinstein Company scored major victories for “Django Unchained” with Jennifer Lawrence’s win for best actress in a comedy or musical, Christoph Waltz’s best supporting actor award and Quentin Tarantino’s best screenplay honor.

NBC Universal had lots to be happy about given its wins for “Les Miserables,” including best picture – comedy or musical, best actor – comedy or musical (Hugh Jackman) and best supporting actress (Anne Hathaway).

The evening’s best picture winners – Warner Bros. and GK Films’ “Argo” for best picture-drama as well as director (Ben Affleck) and Universal and Working Title Films’ “Les Miserables” for best picture – comedy or musical plus the acting wins for Jackman and Hathaway – now have the advantage of having won Hollywood’s highest profile award other than the Academy Award as they fight on in the Oscar race.

The big difference is that now they’re competing against each other plus seven other nominees for best picture since the Academy, unlike the Globes, doesn’t have separate categories for best drama and best comedy or musical.

The Academy’s nine best picture noms went (alphabetically) to: Sony Pictures Classics’ “Amour,” Warner Bros. and GK Films’“Argo,” Fox Searchlight Pictures’ “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” The Weinstein Company and Columbia Pictures’ “Django Unchained,” Universal and Working Title Films’ “Les Miserables,” 20th Century Fox and Haishang Films’ “Life of Pi,” DreamWorks, Fox, Reliance Pictures, Participant Media and Disney’s “Lincoln,” The Weinstein Company and Mirage Enterprises’ “Silver Linings Playbook” and Columbia and Annapurna Pictures’ “Zero Dark Thirty.” One of those titles will emerge as the big winner Feb. 24 at the 85th Annual Academy Awards.

Meanwhile, Hollywood handicappers see the Globes winners as benefiting from being in the winners’ spotlight. That’s enormously valuable as long as they don’t embarrass themselves by making acceptance speeches that give Academy voters second thoughts about inviting them to rush to the stage Oscar night. And that definitely wasn’t the case Sunday. Lawrence, Hathaway, Jackman and Waltz all came across quite well onstage at the Globes. They all looked and sounded like winners and that should serve them well moving forward.

The same people are likely to be turning up to accept awards at other key events presented by groups like the Screen Actors Guild, the Directors Guild of America and the Producers Guild of America. Here, too, they need to always look and act their best to stay on track for Oscar success.

Sunday evening’s biggest surprise was the combined best picture –drama and best director success for “Argo.” That should translate into significant momentum for the well reviewed thriller in Oscar’s best picture race.

Because Affleck’s not a best directing Oscar nominee, he can’t directly benefit from his Globes directing win. That Oscar snub, however, could work in his favor by bringing him best picture votes from Academy members who don’t have another way in which to honor Affleck since he’s also not a best actor nominee and didn’t write the film’s original screenplay (for which Chris Terrio is Oscar nominated).

Bottom line: I’ll update how the Globes and other factors are impacting on the Oscar race in next week’s column.