“The Artist” won three Golden Globes, boosting the financial prospects for Weinstein Co.’s silent, black-and-white movie and its chances to win at next month’s Academy Awards.
“The Descendants,” from News Corp. (NWSA)’s Fox Searchlight, received two trophies during the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards, telecast by Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)’s NBC. Comedian Ricky Gervais hosted the show for a third time last night from Beverly Hills, California.
“The Artist,” a winner in the best musical or comedy category, highlighted a night in which Weinstein won six awards, triple the runner-up studios. Co-founder Harvey Weinstein has perfected turning critical acclaim into box-office rewards with movies such as “The King’s Speech,” last year’s Oscar winner, and earlier Miramax titles.
“Limiting the distribution puts in the mindset of people that this is a prestigious film,” said Brad Adgate, research director at the New York-based advertising company Horizon Media Inc. The studio can then capitalize at the box office and with home-video sales, he said.
“The Artist,” made for about $15 million and released in November, has earned $27.3 million worldwide, according to researcher Box Office Mojo. “The King’s Speech,” with a similar budget, won last year’s best-picture Oscar and ended up with $414 million in worldwide sales, according to researcher Box Office Mojo.
“Your expectations change when the Weinsteins enter the game,” said Michel Hazanavicius, who directed “The Artist.” “We never expected anything like this; we thought it would be a small movie that critics might enjoy. We never expected it would be this accepted by mainstream.”
The 2008 release “Slumdog Millionaire” similarly generated $378 million after winning the Golden Globe and the best-picture Oscar. Like that movie, “The Descendants,” which won for best drama and best actor for George Clooney, was released by Fox Searchlight.
Winners also included Steven Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin,” for best animated feature, Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” screenplay, and a best-director honor for Martin Scorsese for “Hugo.” Meryl Streep won best actress in a drama for her portrayal of former U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in ``The Iron Lady.''
Octavia Spencer drew some of the night’s biggest applause, winning the supporting-actress award for “The Help,” the Dreamworks Studios movie, distributed by Walt Disney Co. (DIS), about African-American domestic workers enduring racial discrimination in the 1960s South.
“It’s a very important part of our history,” Spencer told reporters backstage. “Even though these characters are fictitious, the narrative is part of our fabric. We need to keep the younger generation abreast of how far we have come.”
Gervais built on last year’s caustic performance, when the comedian induced audience gasps by insulting A-list actors including Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie and Jim Carrey, and suggested that the Foreign Press Association took bribes.
“They’re good sports for inviting me back,” Gervais said.
Irish oddsmaker Paddy Power took bets on which celebrities would feel Gervais’s barbs this year, according to his PaddyPower.com website. Some of those on his list, including Madonna, ended up as his targets.
“Ricky Gervais is a big draw to U.K. and Irish punters and they found it quite comical when he caused such a stir,” Paddy Power said in an e-mail. “Betting on who he would insult seemed only natural.”
Nominations for the Oscars, Hollywood’s highest honor, will be revealed on Jan. 24. The Feb. 26 awards show will air by Disney’s ABC, hosted by Billy Crystal.
Fox Searchlight, Viacom Inc. (VIA/B)’s Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures Classics each earned two Golden Globes.
Showtime’s “Homeland” TV series won for best drama and best actress for Claire Danes.
Morgan Freeman was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award for career achievement. His film roles have included Civil War soldier, a man on death row, Nelson Mandela and God.
“I would like to think because of the trajectory of my career I might have had a little input into some of America’s understanding of its history,” Freeman told reporters backstage. “And some of the changes that have taken place in our industry.”
Golden Globe Winners BEST MOTION PICTURE - DRAMA The Descendants - News Corp. BEST MOTION PICTURE - COMEDY OR MUSICAL The Artist - Weinstein Co. BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM The Adventures of Tintin - Paramount Pictures BEST ACTOR - DRAMA George Clooney - The Descendants BEST ACTOR - COMEDY OR MUSICAL Jean Dujardin - The Artist BEST ACTRESS - DRAMA Meryl Streep - The Iron Lady BEST ACTRESS - COMEDY OR MUSICAL Michelle Williams - My Week With Marilyn BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR Christopher Plummer - Beginners BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS Octavia Spencer - The Help BEST DIRECTOR Martin Scorsese - Hugo
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