The Seventies. You first might have flashes of a psychedelic era, rampant anti-establishment feeling and the Vietnam War. Or think of cinema verité and disco, not necessarily in that order. But you might not necessarily imagine that some of some of its eminent and colorful participants would congregate annually, dressed to the nines, in a large ballroom to celebrate together in harmony – or at least pretend to – the best in movies and television! At a time when box-office success and official recognition are equated with selling out, films seem, more than ever, to have the power to change society. And impact us full force: Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter, Days of Heaven, Midnight Express, Saturday Night Fever, they all made us want to defy rules and not conform.
During that glorious rebel decade, the HFPA is able to rally Hollywood for its annual celebration in a festive way where guests and assorted peers can eat and drink and socialize freely from table to table. Resulting in a constantly surprising award show that never ceases to create memorable and unscripted moments. What better example than Bette Midler accepting her Globe for best Actress in a Comedy or Musical for The Rose in 1980. Watching her as she struggles to play with her statuette and have Dustin Hoffman make fun of her to the point she will have to hide under a table! Dustin Hoffman again, sharing a few of his memories: “John Wayne was the emcee and Sally Field who was playing the Flying Nun went through the air and landed in his arms. This was the Golden Globes!”. And what about Jack Nicholson famously mooning the audience? There will be more to come through the years!
On January 26th 1974, Al Pacino gets the Golden Globe for Serpico. Raw talent, uninhibited, unique, tortured and fearless. There are other New Yorkers, like Gene Hackman and Robert Duvall and of course Hoffman who will obtain thirteen nominations, three Globes and a Special Award! Still, Pacino beats him with his fifteen nominations and four Globes. In 1981, Robert De Niro is a champ with Raging Bull. All the while, the new stars challenge themselves behind the camera. Warren Beatty delivers a remake of Heaven Can Wait and his masterpiece as a director, REDS. In 1981, Robert Redford’s soberly poignant first opus, Ordinary People, wins Best Film. At the same time, the offspring of some of Hollywood’s giants start to make their mark in a different way. Jane Fonda spearheads On Golden Pond with her father and Katharine Hepburn. Michael Douglas is the producer of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The part of McMurphy was originated on stage by his father Kirk, who was to play him on screen too but he was considered too old. Unfair and harsh? Sure. But Jack Nicholson is chosen instead and makes the most of it: He will win a Golden Globe for that role in 1976, along with co-star Louise Fletcher and director Milos Forman.
That same year, the best musical score goes to John Williams for Jaws. A sonic launch for the dawn of the blockbusters and new rules of the box-office. Who would have guessed when American Graffiti won best film in 1974 that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg would revolutionize the universe? And that a band of new genius filmmakers named Coppola, De Palma, Scorsese would have such a lasting influence on generations to come? In fact it’s impossible to name all the historic wins of this decade, from 1974 to 1983. Let’s remember a few only, if only to refresh fading memories and briefly resurrect the dissipated flavor of a seminal era. 1975: Roman Polanski’s Chinatown of course. The same year the incomparable Gena Rowlands wins for A Woman Under the Influence directed by her husband John Cassavetes, who sadly will never be acknowledged but has cult status nevertheless. And Diane Keaton for Annie Hall. What a special treat for her to accept Woody’s Cecil B. De Mille trophy next Sunday … One hopes she will sprinkle her speech with never heard before stories about him … or them.
And at the beginning of the Eighties, Meryl Streep starts her amazing reign, an enduring feat that has not ceased yet, as this year she competes with her 28th nomination. Already, she holds a record with 8 Globes in her possession. As for television, Kojak and MASH are favorites. Alan Alda, Bill Cosby, Carol Burnett are multiple winners over the years.
Established in 1981, the HFPA Charitable Trust begins modestly, granting donations to educational institutions and non-profits serving the entertainment industry. It will grow tremendously to earn the Association a new respect, as we will see later.
Juliette Michaud and Jean-Paul Chaillet