Green Card movie poster

Peter Weir had already won HFPA recognition with his earlier dramas Witness, Dead Poets Societyand The Truman Show, but it was his 1990 comedy Green Card that finally won him his first and only best picture Golden Globe. The film happened to appeal to Hollywood foreign journalists, many of whom carried green cards, but it eventually won the affection of audiences particularly in Australia, Weir’s home base.

The film is unique in that it was an Australian film shot entirely in the US, with Weir and cinematographer Geoffrey Simpson being the only Aussies involved. It was also the film that made Gérard Depardieu an international star. Weir wrote the part with the actor in mind and waited a full year until he was available to start shooting. What held him up was Cyrano de Bergerac, which ironically was the film that won him an Oscar nomination that year.

Green Card told the now familiar story of an American (played by Andie MacDowell) who marries a Frenchman so he can get a green card and remain in the U.S. The plot was similar to a French Canadian film The Paper Wedding (starring Geneviève Bujold), which came out the year before but nobody seemed to notice. It faced formidable competition from two comedy blockbusters Pretty Woman and Ghost which respectively won Golden Globes for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy, Julia Roberts, and Best Supporting Actress, Whoopi Goldberg, who also won the Oscar.

The other Golden Globe nominees for Best Musical or Comedy were Dick Tracy and Home Alone. Besides Depardieu, the nominees for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical were Macauley Culkin for Home Alone, Johnny Depp for Edward Scissorhands, Richard Gere for Pretty Woman and Patrick Swayze for Ghost. The Golden Globe nominees for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy (besides Julia Roberts) were Mia Farrow (Alice), Andie MacDowell (Green Card), Demi Moore (Ghost), and Meryl Streep (Postcards from the Edge).

The best song that year was Jon Bon Jovi’s “Blaze of Glory” but the Academy preferred Stephen Sondheim’s “Sooner or Later” which he had written for Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy. Although not a critical success, the one scribe who liked the film was Roger Ebert. In his review, he wrote, "Green Card is not blindingly brilliant and is not an example of the very best work of the director who made The Year of Living Dangerously or the actor who starred in Cyrano de Bergerac. But it is a sound, entertaining work of craftsmanship, a love story between two people whose meet is not as cute as it might have been.”

For the record, this was a year of upsets. The critics-favored film Goodfellas was expected to win big time in the drama category, but instead Dances with Wolves came out the victor winning three Golden Globes, and the Academy Awards followed suit with eight Oscars. Obviously the Academy voters had been watching the Golden Globe Awards Show on TBS.