Christopher Plummer Wins Supporting-Actor Golden Globe

Christopher Plummer won the Golden Globe for best supporting actor for his role in Focus Features’ “Beginners,” as the annual awards show began with comedian Ricky Gervais as host.

Gervais returned to host the show for a third time, following a caustic performance last year. He picked up where he left off with jabs at TV personality Kim Kardashian, actor Mel Gibson and the sponsors of 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

The Globes, telecast tonight by Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)’s NBC from Beverly Hills, California, can boost a movie’s financial performance and foreshadow Oscar success. Sales for “Slumdog Millionaire” jumped after it won for best drama in 2009. The film, made for an estimated $15 million, later won the Oscar for best picture and generated $378 million in worldwide sales, according to researcher Box Office Mojo.

Top awards including best drama and best comedy will be announced later. “The Artist,” Weinstein Co.’s mostly silent, black-and-white film about an actor making the transition to talkies, was nominated for six Golden Globes, the most of any film.

“The Descendants,” from News Corp. (NWSA)’s Fox Searchlight, and DreamWorks (DWA) Pictures’ “The Help,” each received five nominations including best drama.

At last year’s show, Gervais induced gasps in the audience by insulting A-list actors including Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie and Jim Carrey. He suggested that the Foreign Press Association was bribed into nominating the Depp and Jolie’s critically panned “The Tourist.”

Irish oddsmaker Paddy Power took bets on which celebrities would feel Gervais’s barbs this year, according to his PaddyPower.com website. He offered 5-1 odds Russell Brand and Katy Perry, who split after being married for just over a year, would be the first targets. Others on his list included Tom Cruise, Ashton Kutcher and Madonna.

“Ricky Gervais is a big draw to U.K. and Irish punters and they found it quite comical when he caused such a stir,” Power said in an e-mail. “Betting on who he would insult seemed only natural.”

Early targets for Gervais included Kardashian, who ended an even shorter marriage, Gibson and Eddie Murphy, who pulled out as host of the Academy Awards on Walt Disney Co. (DIS)’s ABC next month. He was replaced by comedian Billy Crystal.

Gervais again poked fun at the Press Association.

“They’re good sports for inviting me back,” Gervais said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at afixmer@bloomberg.net; Michael White in Los Angeles at mwhite8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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