BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. Ben Affleck got some vindication and Jodie Foster made a revelation at the Golden Globe Awards.
Affleck’s “Argo” earned him best motion picture drama and director honors at Sunday night’s ceremony. The awards came just a few days after Affleck was surprisingly omitted from the best-director category at the Academy Award nominations. Affleck also stars in the real-life drama as the CIA operative who orchestrated a daring rescue of six American embassy employees during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis.
These wins seem to shake up the Oscar race, in which Steven Spielberg’s stately, historical epic “Lincoln” was looking like a juggernaut. Despite seven Golden Globe nominations, “Lincoln” earned just one award: best actor for Daniel Day-Lewis’ intense, richly detailed portrayal of Abraham Lincoln as he fought for passage of the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery. Spielberg’s film heads into the Feb. 24 Academy Awards with a leading 12 nominations.
The other big winner of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s honors was “Les Miserables.” Based on the international musical sensation and Victor Hugo’s novel of strife and redemption in 19th century France, it won best picture musical or comedy, best actor for Hugh Jackman and best supporting actress for Anne Hathaway.
“Honestly, I would have played a musket, so I’m thrilled I got to sing a really good song,” Hathaway joked backstage. She belts out the dramatic “I Dreamed a Dream” as the doomed prostitute Fantine.
But perhaps the biggest news of the night was from Foster, who came out without really coming out and suggested she was retiring from acting but then backpedaled a bit backstage. Foster was this year’s recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award, which is announced beforehand and is usually a pretty respectful and predictable part of the evening.
But the 50-year-old Oscar-winner for “The Silence of the Lambs” and “The Accused,” who’s been protective of her private life and reluctant to discuss her sexual orientation, used this opportunity to speak from the heart in a rambling and emotional speech that confirmed what long had been an open secret. The veteran actress seized control of what is every year a noisy, boozy ballroom; the crowd of A-listers quickly quieted down as it became apparent that she had something serious and important to say.
She was coy at first, suggesting she had a big announcement that would make her publicist nervous. (At this point, the audio inexplicably dropped out of the NBC broadcast, even though nothing off-color was said.)
Then she stated: “I’m just going to put it out there, loud and proud … I am, uh, single,” pausing for dramatic effect before that last word. “I hope you’re not disappointed that there won’t be a big coming-out speech tonight. I already did my coming-out about a thousand years ago back in the Stone Age.”
She also made it sound as if this would be her last time on stage, but clarified for reporters afterward: “I could never stop acting. You’d have to drag me behind a team of horses. I’d like to be directing tomorrow. I’m more into it than I have ever been.”
Among the other multiple winners of the night, “Django Unchained,” Quentin Tarantino’s spaghetti Western-blaxploitation mashup, earned two awards: for supporting actor Christoph Waltz as a charismatic bounty hunter and for Tarantino’s script. The writer-director thanked his friends for letting him read scenes to them as he works through his scripts.
“You guys don’t know how important you are to my process,” he said. But he added: “I don’t want input. I don’t want you to tell me if I’m doing anything wrong. Heavens forbid.”
“Zero Dark Thirty,” which also has been a major contender throughout awards season, earned Jessica Chastain a best-actress Globe for her portrayal of a driven CIA operative at the center of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. That film’s director, Kathryn Bigelow, also was left out of the best-director category at the Academy Awards even though it’s up for best picture – a result of having nine best-picture nominees and only five best-director slots.
Looking ahead to how the wins for “Argo” might change the Oscar race, Affleck said backstage he tries not to handicap those kinds of things.
“We got nominated for seven Oscars,” he told reporters. “If you can’t be happy with that, your prospects for long-term happiness are pretty dim.
“I also didn’t get the acting nomination,” he added, getting a big laugh. “No one is saying I got snubbed there.”
On the television side, “Game Change” and “Homeland” were the big winners with three awards apiece. “Game Change,” the made-for-HBO movie about 2008 vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, won for best motion picture or miniseries made for television, best actress for Julianne Moore and best supporting actor for Ed Harris’ portrayal of John McCain. “Homeland” was named best TV drama series, and its stars Claire Danes and Damian Lewis received the dramatic acting awards.
Co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, longtime friends and collaborators, had playfully snarky fun with several members of the audience including Taylor Swift, Day-Lewis, Bigelow and even former President Bill Clinton, who arrived on stage to rock-star applause when he introduced “Lincoln” as one of the best-picture nominees.
Fey and Poehler were also competing against each other for best actress in a TV comedy series, Fey for “30 Rock” and Poehler for “Parks and Recreation.”
Neither won. Lena Dunham claimed the comedy series Globe for “Girls.”
After that, Fey and Poehler showed up on stage with cocktail glasses, with Fey joking that it was time to start drinking.
“Everyone’s getting a little loose now that we’re all losers,” Poehler said.
Poehler’s final words also referred back to the biggest moment of the night. She cracked as she was signing off: “We’re going home with Jodie Foster!”