The Golden Globes, the first big awards show of the season, became a stage for some of Hollywood’s biggest stars to rally support for freedom of expression after the deadly attack on a satirical French newspaper.
George Clooney, receiving a lifetime achievement award and sporting a lapel pin declaring ‘Je suis Charlie’, noted the “extraordinary day” in Paris and around the world as millions of people and world leaders marched to pay tribute to victims of Islamist militant attacks.
“They marched in support of the idea that we will not walk in fear,” said Clooney. “Je suis Charlie.”
Helen Mirren wore a pen on her red gown and Jared Leto spoke in French to show solidarity with the cartoonists shot dead at the Paris weekly Charlie Hebdo last week.
It was a more somber night than usual for the Golden Globes, usually one of the more rambunctious events in the awards season, organized by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Politics played heavily into acceptance speeches, from support for the Hispanic and transgender communities to calls to protect freedom of expression.
“As international journalists we also understand the importance of freedom of artistic expression,” said HFPA President Theo Kingma.
“Together we will stand united against anyone who would repress free speech anywhere from North Korea to Paris,” he added, bringing the star-studded room to a standing ovation.
Even the comedy had the more serious underpinnings of free speech.
Third-time hosts Tiny Fey and Amy Poehler opened with a joke about the hacking at Sony Pictures , which the U.S. government has blamed on North Korea. The country, which denies it is behind the hacking, was angered over the studio’s comedy “The Interview,” which depicts the assassination of leader King Jong Un.
“Tonight we are celebrating all TV shows we know and love and all the movies North Korea was OK with,” Fey said.
While the Globes lack the prestige of the Academy Awards – the highest honors in the film industry – they are nevertheless recognized as a key building block toward Oscar glory on Feb. 22.
Before the final awards, best drama and best comedy or musical, the two films awards season front-runners “Birdman” and “Boyhood” had both picked up key awards.
‘Boyhood’ won best director for Richard Linklater, who made cinematic history by making a film over 12 years with the same actors. Patricia Arquette won best supporting actress as the compassionate mother of the boy in the coming-of-age tale.
A film that satirizes show business, “Birdman,” picked up best screenplay and led all nominees with seven nods. Star Michael Keaton, embodying the comeback in film and real life, is up for best comedy/musical actor.
The outcome of the 72nd Globes will not influence the Academy Awards slate, since voting for next week’s nominees announcement is closed. But it can give crucial momentum to the Feb. 22 Oscars.
In television awards, the HFPA anointed ‘Transparent’ as best comedy series, the first big award for original programming streamed online from retail giant Amazon Inc.. The show is about a divorced father transitioning to become a woman and how his grown children react.
In the drama category, Showtime’s ‘The Affair’ won for its first season, serving an upset to favorite the political thriller “House of Cards” from Netflix Inc.
But Kevin Spacey did win best actor in a TV drama series, his first Globe after eight nominations, for his role as the conniving politician Frank Underwood in ‘House of Cards’.