Seven Decades of Golden Globes: Part 6: The 90s

by HFPA January 10, 2014

1994 Tom Hanks, Holly Hunter and Al Pacino


As we count down the days to the 73rd 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.

What another memorable evening it was. Steven Spielberg named Best Director for Shindler’s List, which won also for best film, at the 51st Golden Globes Awards. The director of Jurassic Park gained a new respectably, 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 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 …

Another way to see the nineties: Titanic. This year’s Wolf of Wall Street nominee Leonardo Di Caprio, who had had his first nomination for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, 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 of 1998, changed the way we look at production costs and marketing. Won’t it be moving to see Leo and Kate Winslett, together again one more time, (like they were in Sam Mendes’ 1998 Revolutionary Road) as they are both nominated this year for Golden Globes!

Twenty years ago, the electrifying shock of Pulp Fiction and Quentin Tarantino’s volcanic talent was a welcome jolt. Many are still trying to imitate him, as they are still trying to copy those maestros of American cinema since the eighties: The Coen Brothers, who could win their first Golden Globe this year. By the way, does anybody really know for sure what David Lynch is up to these days?

On the television front, it is the groundbreaking and triumphant originality of HBO. With shows like The Sopranos and Sex and the City, they became our favorites. 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 lead actress in Gia. 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 …

Juliette Michaud and Jean-Paul Chaillet

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