Seven (And a Half) Decades of Golden Globes: Part 6: The 90s

by Jean-Paul Chaillet and Juliette Michaud December 10, 2017
Best Actors winners, 1994: Tom Hanks. Holly Hunter and Al Pacino

1994: Best Actor, Drama- Tom Hanks, for Philadelphia; Best Actress, Drama - Holly Hunter, for The Piano, and presenter Al Pacino  winner in the same category in 1993 for Scent of a Woman.

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As we count down the days to the 75th Golden Globe Awards, the HFPA’s Jean-Paul Chaillet and Juliette Michaud look back at the Awards through the years and how the Globes reflected Hollywood history.

A magic and moving moment: In 1990, when Audrey Hepburn, now devoting most of her time to her mission as a Goodwill Ambassador for Unicef, receives her Cecil B. deMille statuette, the second of her special awards, after nine Golden Globes nominations and only one win. Elegantly dressed in white, like the angel she had played a year before in what would be her last movie appearance, in Steven Spielberg’s Always.

In 1991, Pretty Woman doesn’t win any Globes but Julia Robert does. Instant stardom. Same global level of fame for the golden boy Tom Cruise, who consolidates his star status with his winning performance in Born on the 4th of July. Julia Roberts’ appearance is like a sudden fresh breeze. Comparisons with the breakout of Audrey in Roman Holiday are inevitable. Is Jennifer Lawrence the new Julia? Or a quirkier mix, somewhere between a new Holly Hunter and a new Gwyneth? You be the judge …

In 1994, another memorable evening :Steven Spielberg wins Best Director for Schindler’s List, which won also for best film, at the 51st Golden Globes Awards. The director of Jurassic Park gained a new respectability, reinforced in 1999 with a repeat win for Saving Private Ryan. That night, on January 22nd 1994, the other notable winners are Tom Hanks for his heartbreaking performance in Philadelphia, Holly Hunter for The Piano, Robin Williams for Mrs. Doubtfire. Tom Hanks is the Actor of the nineties: he will win the next year for Forrest Gump and, again in 2001 for Castaway, while the salaries of the stars are skyrocketing. Remember Jim Carrey’s 20 million dollar paycheck? It caused a stir and made headlines at the time. In Hollywood, powerful agents and the new A-Listers are taking over: Tom Cruise, Jim Carrey, Will Smith, Nicole Kidman and the fantastic comeback of Nicolas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas. The young hunks are Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp - still considered a bad boy then- and Keanu Reeves about to enter The Matrix. Denzel Washington (winner of best supporting actor for Glory in 1990), is mesmerizing in Hurricane. Stars also come from England, Hugh Grant, Ewan Mc Gregor … and Australia: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett.

Gwyneth is then everyone’s darling thanks to Shakespeare in Love, while TV actress Helen Hunt becomes an unexpectedly hot commodity on the big screen with As Good As It Gets. Others dazzle in a slew of strong performances: Sharon Stone in Casino, Julia Roberts in Erin Brokovich, Hilary Swank in Boy’s Don’t Cry and Sissy Spacek in In the Bedroom. Martin Scorsese is still not considered Award material but his wonderful The Age of Innocence; offers a Best Supporting Actress win to Winona Ryder. And a whole new wave of young talents is ready to take over, starting with Almost Famous’ winner Kate Hudson, Reese Witherspoon, and everybody’s favorite Renee Zellweger …

Was it the unlikely alliance of the big studios’ unlimited means with the determined ambition of the independent cinema that created such a powerful result? Miramax is the hot studio and Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival is a must for showcasing new talents. Consider this: American Beauty, Braveheart, Chicago, Evita, The English Patient, Gangs of New York, Gladiator, Moulin Rouge, Toy Story … Among the winners for Foreign Films: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (also best director for Ang Lee), Pedro Almodovar’s All About My Mother … Actors strech their legs behind the camera: in 1991 Kevin Costner impresses with Dances with Wolves, his masterful directorial debut, earning a Best Director Golden Globe,  and Clint Eastwood does the same  in 1993 for his powerful Unforgiven.

 

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Julia Roberts in 1991 and Angelina Jolie in 1999, wining Golden Globes

Stars are born: Angelina Jolie, Best Actress in a Movie Made For Television, Golden Globe 1999, for Gia; Julia Roberts, Best Actress, Musical or Comedy, Golden Globe 1991, for Pretty Woman.

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In 1991, Pretty Woman doesn’t win any Globes but Julia Robert does. Instant stardom. Same global level of fame for the golden boy Tom Cruise, who consolidates his star status with his winning performance in Born on the 4th of July. Julia Roberts’ appearance is like a sudden fresh breeze. Comparisons with the breakout of Audrey in Roman Holiday are inevitable.

Another way to see the 90s: Titanic. Wolf of Wall Street Golden Globe winner Leonardo Di Caprio, who received his first nomination for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape in 1994, would not win for James Cameron’s tour de force in 1998, losing to Peter Fonda in Ulee’s Gold. Today everyone knows that Titanic, Best Film, Drama of Golden Globes 1998, changed the way we look at production costs and marketing.

20 years ago, the electrifying shock of Pulp Fiction and Quentin Tarantino’s volcanic talent was a welcome jolt - nominated for six Golden Globes, including Best Film-Drama, Pulp Fiction earned one Golden Globe for Tarantino, for Best Screenplay..Many are still trying to imitate him, as they are still trying to copy those maestros of American cinema since the 80s. the Coen Brothers, nominated for the first time in 1997 for Fargo, they would win their first Golden Globe in 2008 for No Country For Old Men.

On the television front, the groundbreaking and triumphant originality of HBO changes everything with shows like The Sopranos and Sex and the City. Tony and Carmela; Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda & Mr. Big: Ideal and reliable companions of those years. It would be hard to say goodbye to them. Like it would for The X Files, Spin City, Six Feet Under, The West Wing, Ally McBeal … All received multiple Golden Globes.

In 1998, a then rather unknown but stunning looking starlet named Angelina Jolie received a Best Supporting Actress Globe for her part in George Wallace, a made-for-TV movie directed by John Frankenheimer. She would win again the next year, for Best Actress in Gia,a nd HBO movie That very late evening in January 1999, she would jump into the pool of the Beverly Hilton. One of those wish-you-were-there moments of the Golden Globes’ after parties, where anything can happen. And it does, often! Her meteoric rise to superstardom started there. Many are still desperately trying to find her secret and emulate her.

 

Check our gallery of Golden Globe photos from the 1980s and 1990s, here.