an award season favorite. That changed Sunday night, when the
writer-director’s futuristic 3-D thriller won the best drama Golden
In honoring movies as populist and American as any
recently recognized by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — among
mainstream U.S. hits, the bachelor party disaster “The Hangover” was
named best comedy or musical and “The Blind Side’s” football fanatic
front-runners, with no movie winning more than two trophies.
But “Avatar” won the two biggest.
In addition to being named the best drama, Cameron
also was picked by the 83 foreign journalists who make up the HFPA as
the top director. Cameron won the same Golden Globe statuettes — and
swept the Academy Awards — with his last feature film, 1997’s
“Titanic,” whose worldwide gross of
Cameron spent nearly five years making “Avatar,”
employing a new filming system (that married human performances and
computer-generated imagery) and more than a thousand visual effects
artists to craft a distant moon inhabited by 10-foot-tall azure aliens.
Cameron thanked the people who worked endless hours on “Avatar” for
creating “every blade of grass and every creature in it,” and producer
With its box-office thrust and Golden Globes,
“Avatar” heads into the final week of Oscar balloting (nomination votes
are due Saturday) with more momentum than any of last year’s
“Up in the Air,” the downsizing drama that entered
the 67th annual award ceremony with the most nominations (six), went
home with one award — best screenplay for
The only other films to capture two Golden Globes were “Crazy Heart” and “Up.”
“Crazy Heart,” a tale of a down-and-out country
music singer, would not have made it into theaters had Fox Searchlight
not bought the movie from Country Music Television.
a fanciful but ultimately poignant tale of a widower’s balloon voyage,
won the Golden Globe for animated film, and for
Because the Golden Globes presents five of its top
awards in two categories — drama and musical or comedy — some of its
winners may not be harbingers of other upcoming award shows,
particularly the Oscars. In accepting his directing prize, Cameron even
said that he had expected
While Bullock won the best dramatic actress tribute, “Julie & Julia’s”
a sadistic Nazi dubbed “the Jew hunter” in “Inglourious Basterds,” took
the Golden Globe for supporting actor, and Mo’Nique, who plays an
abusive mother in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire,”
won supporting actress.
The Globes are known best for their alcohol-infused informality — there was as much action at the
beer) even poked fun at the HFPA’s borderline credibility during the
broadcast, and there was no shortage of self-congratulation, especially
in Cameron’s acceptance speech for best drama.
But real life repeatedly intervened in the ceremony, perhaps most poignantly when Streep won for “Julie & Julia.”
Streep said in her acceptance speech that she was
“conflicted” about participating in an award show amid the death and
nonprofit that brings medical care to developing countries. Countless
presenters, nominees and winners wore red ribbons to show support for
the people of the devastated
Although it left
holding the most important hardware, the evening did not start out well
for “Avatar.” In the first category in which it was nominated, “Avatar”
lost to “Crazy Heart” for original song, promptly followed by a loss to
“Up” for original score. Cameron also lost in the screenplay
competition, before the tables turned.
The Oscars have not traditionally been hospitable to
science-fiction filmmaking, but Cameron (and, just as likely,
“Avatar’s” million of fans) are optimistic that could soon change.
“Hopefully this is part of a trend,” Cameron said
backstage. Science fiction, he said, “is not a genre, but a form of
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