“Bohemian Rhapsody” pulled a major upset at the close of the Golden Globes on Sunday, taking home the final two top prizes to put itself into the Oscars conversation along with “Green Book” and “Roma.”
On a night of wins for movies representing minorities, two awards favorites about white people — Dick Cheney biopic “Vice” and musical romance “A Star is Born” — all but struck out, with each picking up just one trophy in the run-up to the all-important Oscars on February 24.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” — which charts the rise of British rock group Queen — picked up best actor for Rami Malek, who plays legendary frontman Freddie Mercury. It also bagged the biggest movie award of the night — best drama.
“I am beyond moved. My heart is pounding out of my chest right now,” said Malek, whose list of people to thank included the Queen singer, who died in 1991.
“Thank you to Freddie Mercury for giving me the joy of a lifetime. I love you, you beautiful man. This is for and because of you, gorgeous.”
The two trophies were the final prizes in a ceremony that had been expected to be a consecration for “A Star is Born” — starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in the age-old Hollywood fable of an ailing performer and his muse — which went into the night with five nods.
“Star” had to content itself with a statuette for best song, which went to Gaga and writing partner Mark Ronson, while Christian Bale — who plays Cheney — picked up the solo gong for “Vice.”
Civil rights dramedy “Green Book” was the numerical winner — if not the prestige player — picking up awards for best comedy movie, best supporting actor Mahershala Ali and best screenplay.
The boozy gala at the Beverly Hilton also recognized Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” a cinematic ode to his childhood in 1970s Mexico City, with best director and foreign film honors, while seven movies bagged one statuette each.
“Cinema at its best builds bridges to other cultures,” Cuaron told the audience. “We need to understand how much we have in common.”
– Less edgy –
Under an azure southern California sky, Tinseltown’s A-listers worked the red carpet with last year’s gender politics still very much in mind.
Many wore “Time’s Up” bracelets in a nod to the movement for sexual equality in the workplace that grabbed the headlines 12 months ago as the industry faced a reckoning about rampant harassment and abuse.
Hosting the Globes were comedian Andy Samberg and actress Sandra Oh, who made history as the first Asian woman to have presented a major awards show while also taking home her second Globe for “Killing Eve.”
As the only awards show where alcohol is served, the evening is usually more colorful than showbiz’s other big nights.
But the presenters set the tone for a less edgy affair than in previous years with a relatively tame opening that gave more time to complimenting the nominees than assailing them with “roast”-style jokes.
Samberg paid tribute to the diversity among the slate of films up for awards, singling out “If Beale Street Could Talk,” whose star Regina King took home best supporting actress honors, as well as “Black Panther” and “Crazy Rich Asians,” which went home empty-handed.
“And they are not just here tonight because they resonated with audiences Hollywood often ignores,” he said.
“They are here because they told stories that resonated with everyone. And that is truly a beautiful thing.”
King vowed that, for the next two years, she would only produce projects that employ 50 percent women, exclaiming: “Time’s Up times two!”
“And I just challenge anyone out there — anyone out there who is in a position of power, not just in our industry, in all industries — I challenge you to challenge yourselves and stand with us in solidarity and do the same,” she said.
– Bellwether of momentum –
This year, the Globes come at the start of voting for Oscar nominations, and while they are not always a clear predictor of Academy Award success, they are a bellwether of momentum.
In the acting categories, Glenn Close (“The Wife”) bested the favorite Lady Gaga on the drama side.
Olivia Colman, who plays Queen Anne in offbeat royal romp “The Favourite,” and Bale won as expected in the comedy acting races.
“Thank you to Satan for giving me inspiration for playing this role,” deadpanned Bale.
Bradley Cooper — who plays the aging rocker opposite Gaga’s singer in “Star” — had been favorite for best actor in a drama but was edged out by Malek.
The television side of the Globes can feel a bit redundant coming so soon after the Emmys in September, with many of the same nominees as the Television Academy field.
Best drama series went to the acclaimed FX Cold War spy thriller “The Americans” — its first Golden Globe for its sixth and final season.
But adding spice to the mix on Sunday are programs that aired too late for Emmys contention.
Netflix comedy “The Kominsky Method” took home the best comedy series trophy and best actor honors for Michael Douglas.