Seven Decades of Golden Globes: Part 7: To The Present

by HFPA January 11, 2014

2001 Renee Zellweger (Best Actress - Nurse Betty)


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 is so exciting today in American cinema is that everything seems possible, all the barriers have been broken, rules don’t or rarely apply anymore … Yes, in 2002, Halle Berry and Denzel Washington made their mark in Hollywood history, like Sidney Poitier had done before them to make black actors as preeminent as others. Thirty-two years after Poitier, Morgan Freeman was bestowed a Cecil B. DeMille Award in 2012. And yes a girl as beautiful as ex-model South African Charlize Theron could be transformed into a Monster (in 2004) and get a Golden Globe.

And the most glamorous stars are taken more seriously. Who would have thought that the nice Dr. Ross from E.R. would become one of the most desirable movie stars and reluctant sex-symbol but brilliant director? Today’s Cary Grant, George Clooney personifies class and humor. Eleven Globes nominations, three wins: Best Supporting Actor in 2006 for Syriana Best Actor in 2011 for Oh Brother Where Are You? And again the next year for The Descendants.

Yes, ex-rebel bad boy Sean Penn now graciously accepts his statuettes like the one he received for his turn in the haunting Mystic River in 2004. And acting wise, the new guard is superb. From Matt Damon and Ben Affleck to Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, or Michael Fassenbender, Bradley Cooper, Ryan Gosling … Actors are intense and constantly surprising … We rejoice to see actresses like Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz gained credibility and power. We can’t wait to see where new sex symbol Scarlett Johansson, the sultry husky voice of Her, will take us and we are more than willing to follow her anywhere. How not to applaud that at sixty-four Meryl Streep has become one of the most bankable in the business, closely followed by Helen Mirren … And we are thrilled that two of the best actors in the world, Daniel Day-Lewis and Joaquin Phoenix, decided not to retire like they had threatened ...

In a way the quest for a Golden Globe is similar to the quest of the elusive ring. This look back at the last decade really had us witness the increasing world-wide domination effect of the franchise. Norma Desmond was wrong. Movie didn’t get small. In 2004, Peter Jackson wins a Best Film and Best Director Globes for The Lord of the Ring: The Return of the King. Several Harry Potter’s enchanted us all and with Pirates of the Caribbean, Johnny Depp became a superstar. How not to acknowledge the welcomed longevity of his friend and frequent helmer Tim Burton? New alternative filmmakers flourish – Spike Jonze, Wes Anderson, Sofia Coppola, all recognized by the HFPA; Like would in 2012 a French silent movie in black and white!

Starting in 2007, the Golden Globes adds a new distinct category for animated features and Cars gets the first one. Let’s never forget that in Hollywood we are still children at heart. And if there are still a few true independent studios left, it is in television that creativity dares, shines and provokes to become de facto the last refuge for true independence.

With two days left before the 73rd Golden Globes Awards, we leave you with a Hollywood landscape still adapting to new technologies, new Medias, new ways of watching movies. The Golden Globes have become one of the most watched events on television with close to 20 millions viewers in the U.S. only and many times over that figure in the rest of the world. Its broadcast on NBC has allowed the HFPA to give to this day more than 15 millions dollars to various deserving non-profit organizations. In line with the Association’s three major goals: to nurture the development of young artists, to preserve the culture and history of film and to promote cultural exchange through film …

Will the Golden Globes still exist in 2084? We hope so, as an enduring legacy … Thankfully films are not like ice. We can hold onto them longer, much longer. Sometimes forever. And as long as they keep making them, under whatever format, we don’t see why not …

Juliette Michaud and Jean-Paul Chaillet