Ricky Gervais plays it safe. Harvey Weinstein is “God” and Seth Rogen admits “a massive erection” at the 2012 Golden Globe Awards.
Here’s a loose collection of memorable moments for Hollywood Jews and their tribal sensibilities at the annual ceremony everyone hates to love:
Howard Gordon takes home an award for best television series – drama, for “Homeland,” based on the Israeli format “Hatufim (Prisoners of War)” but does not even mention Israel in his acceptance speech! Instead, Gordon thanks his agent, Rick Rosen at WME (William Morris Endeavor) who brought him the show, Dana Walden and Gary Newman at 20th Century Fox, who had a first look deal with Gordon but graciously passed the show to Showtime for whom it was more suitable. Gordon also mentions David Nevins, “who has been the great champion of this show from the beginning” because Nevins picked up the show for Showtime in one of his first moves at the company after he left Imagine Entertainment (for the full story, tune in to my upcoming series on the deepening relationship between Hollywood and Israel).
Entertainment blogger Nikki Finke, who “live snarks” the ceremony writes: “Well the HFPA morons get at least one award right. Homeland was the best TV I’ve seen in a long, long time. Claire Danes was transformative. Damien Lewis even better than in Band Of Brothers. Mandy Patinkin not annoying like he usually is. Granted, it’s a remake of an Israeli show. But I’d follow 24‘s Howard Gordon anywhere that terrorism takes him.”
Madonna, clad in bulging biceps and decolletage, wins Best Original Song for writing and performing “Masterpiece,” the theme song from her directorial debut feature “W.E.,” which she also wrote. Though few will likely see the film (remember “Swept Away?” Neither do I), Madge thanks her distributor Harvey Weinstein, for giving her a chance to be even more smug about her talents. She calls him “The Punisher.” A reaction shot from the crowd shows Weinstein cracking up.
Peter Dinklage wins Best Supporting Actor for a Television Series – Drama, for “Game of Thrones” created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and although not Jewish, appreciates his mother’s admonition that his competitor, Guy Pierce would win for “Mildred Pierce.” “We love our moms cause they keep us humble,” Dinklage said wryly.
Steven Spielberg wins Best Animated Feature for “The Adventures of Tintin,” which I haven’t seen but must be better than “War Horse,” and thanks fellow M-O-T studio chiefs: “I want to thank two studios that really proved the adage that Peter [Jackson] and I could have made the telephone book if we wanted to: I want to thank Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton and…Brad Grey [Paramount] for his courage.” Finke notes the diplomacy in Spielberg’s speech, adding her comment: “Hilarious, considering that Steven et al at DreamWorks did everything they could to get Grey fired when Paramount owned them.”
Standing beside a beautiful Kate Beckinsale, the recently married Seth Rogen (Rabbi Sharon Brous performed the nuptials) admits trying to “conceal a massive erection,” at which point Beckinsale blushes and begins to giggle uncontrollably.
The incomparable Woody Allen wins Best Screenplay for “Midnight in Paris,” topping Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin’s “Moneyball” and Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants” but true to form, does not show to receive his award. This prompts presenter Nicole Kidman to flip her hair and chide, “Come and get it, Woody.”
Madonna presents the Best Foreign Film award to the Iranian film, “A Separation,” which beats Angelina Jolie’s stellar debut feature “In the Land of Blood and Honey” and Yimou Zhang’s “The Flowers of War.” The filmmakers thank the Iranian people, whom, among much political friction between the U.S. and the rapidly nuclearizing nation, they insist are “a peace-loving people.”
Claire Danes wins Best Actress for Television Series—Drama, for her starring role as a suspicious, bipolar CIA agent on “Homeland.” Her performance is pretty exceptional; she does crazy well, but everytime I see her break down, I am haunted by the final scene of “Romeo and Juliet” when her ridiculously overwrought sobbing turned Shakespearean tragedy into melodramatic camp. Danes says, “I first won this award when I was 15 for ‘My So Called Life’ and I was stunned and utterly overwhelmed, and the first thing I did when I walked offstage was burst into tears because I realized I forgot to thank my parents.” Tonight, however, she had a second chance, since her mother was her date. “Any fulfillment I have as a person and an actor I owe in large part to you,” she said, adding thanks to her husband, British actor Hugh Dancy “who keeps me sane and happy as I play someone who is not so sane and happy.” Danes also thanks Gideon Raff, the creator of the original Israeli format “Hatufim” and a co-writer on “Homeland” but again, no mention of Israel. The horror! The horror!
Octavia Spencer wins Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama for her role as a beleaguered housekeeper in “The Help” and is the only award winner the entire evening to draw attention to the marginalized. In a timely tribute to the slain civil rights leader, Spencer quoted Martin Luther King Jr.: “Martin Luther King Jr. once said, ‘All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance,” and then thanked the film’s champions, among them Steven Spielberg and his second-in-command, Stacey Snyder, “Everybody at Dreamworks, everybody,” Spencer said.
“Modern Family” once again snags Best TV Series Comedy or Musical and creator Steve Levitan and actress Sofia Vergara traded off acceptance speech lines in a mock bilingual joke where Levitan appeared to be translating Vergara’s words, though he was really telling Hollywood film actresses to give their phone numbers to “pasty and nervous and out-of-shape” writers who, according to Levitan, make great lovers. Finke seems to have a crush: “Not only is Steve Levitan gorgeous, but he’s also the only genuinely funny guy 24/7 in Hollywood. (As Brad Grey when he was a manager once said about his client Levitan: ‘He’s the only Jewish guy I know who’s a 40 tall.’)”
Meryl Streep, in her acceptance speech for Best Actress for playing Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady,” said, “I just want to thank my agent, Kevin Huvane, and God—Harvey Weinstein – ‘The Punisher.’ Old testament, I guess…” Weinstein is back on top after a few destabilizing years filled with financial woe. Many in the industry were about to write him off, but as Finke writes, “Now he’s The Don again.”
Case in point: “The Artist” by Michel Hazanavicius and produced by The Weinstein Company wins Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.
George Clooney wins Best Actor for Motion Picture Drama for Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants” (Payne considers himself “1/16th Jewish” and has visited Israel several times), and the film also wins Best Motion Picture – Drama. But the best line comes when Clooney thanks fellow nominee Michael Fassbender for taking on the full-frontal nudity mantle in “Shame” by suggesting he play golf by swinging his body side to side.
If the Globes are any indicator, it looks like the Oscars will be a face off between “The Artist” and “The Descendants.”
WME founding partner Ari Emanuel, standing at the top of the stairs during a crowd shot
Universal Pictures chief Ron Meyer sitting against the wall dividing the all-important movie stars and the fringe TV hoi polloi
Sony Pictures Co-Chair Amy Pascal sitting next to Brad and Angelina
Sony Chair and CEO Michael Lynton (and author of the Newsweek rabbi list) sitting near George Clooney
And Harvey Weinstein, who got almost as many close-ups as Angelina Jolie
Alessandra Stanley writes in the New York Times:
Under all the froth, fuss and Champagne fizz, the Golden Globes are a sideshow that has swelled by straining and striving for industry relevance. Mr. Gervais put it less delicately. The Golden Globes are to the Oscars, he said, what Kim Kardashian is to Kate Middleton, “a bit louder, a bit trashier, a bit drunker and more easily bought.”
The Golden Globes are also a little like the Iowa caucuses: neither contest is a reliable harbinger, both are decided in a mystifying process by an unrepresentative group of voters, and yet merely by being first and so closely watched, both matter. So much so that eventual winners, like presidential candidates, almost always show up.
Indeed, the stars were out in full force last night: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, George Clooney and his latest arm candy girlfriend, Stacy Keibler, Madonna, Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis and Sacha Baron Cohen. The star power attracts the television audience (according to Finke, the HFPA and the telecast producer, Dick Clark Productions make approximately $30 million on the Globes), and the ceremony is often ridiculed and derided for pandering to movie stars and powerful studios
The best thing about the Golden Globes is what Stanley calls “the scrim of informality” which is aided and abetted by one thing: the presence of alcohol. Lots of it. It may not be as prestigious as the Oscars but it looks like much more fun.
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