Jan. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Sony Corp.’s “American Hustle” captured three Golden Globes, most of any film, while “12 Years a Slave” took home the award for best drama, confirming its status as leading contender for the best-picture Oscar.
“American Hustle,” about con artists caught up in an FBI sting, was honored as the best comedy in an NBC telecast last night from Beverly Hills, California. Amy Adams was voted best actress in comedy for her role in the film, while Jennifer Lawrence won for best supporting actress as her romantic rival.
The Golden Globe wins set up “American Hustle” and “12 Years a Slave,” from Fox Searchlight, as the front-runners for the Academy Award, the movie industry’s highest honor. The recognition also provides studios with marketing ammunition to raise the profile of films, including some that haven’t been widely released, such as “12 Years a Slave.”
“They have a lot to gain from tonight,” said Phil Contrino, editor of BoxOffice.com. “‘12 Years a Slave’ could easily double its domestic gross” in U.S. and Canadian cinemas.
The winner of the Golden Globe for best comedy or drama has won the Academy Award in two of the last three years, including the 2013 pick “Argo.” The awards for the actresses in “American Hustle” will help draw women to theaters, Contrino said. He said “12 Years a Slave” is now the favorite to win the Oscar best picture.
“Once that happens more people instinctively go see it,” Contrino said.
The audience for the telecast totaled 20.9 million viewers, a gain of 6 percent from 2013 and the most in 10 years, based on data from Nielsen, NBC said today in a statement.
Other major awards were distributed widely among contenders. Leonardo DiCaprio won the comedy best-actor award for his role in Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” while Matthew McConaughey won in drama for “Dallas Buyers Club,” one of two awards for the film from Comcast Corp.’s Focus Features.
Cate Blanchett won for best actress in a drama, portraying a neurotic woman whose life is coming unglued in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine.” Alfonso Cuaron received the directing award for “Gravity.”
“Her,” a Warner Bros. film about a writer who develops an emotional relationship with the sultry, disembodied voice of a computer operating system, won the best screenplay for writer-director Spike Jonze. Walt Disney Co.’s “Frozen” received the award for best animated feature.
“American Hustle” stars Christian Bale as Irving Rosenfeld, a con man who was forced to participate in an FBI sting operation in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In the fictionalized account from director David O. Russell, Bale’s character works with an FBI agent played by Bradley Cooper.
Jeremy Renner is Carmine Polito, a New Jersey politician caught between the con artists and the FBI. Adams co-stars as Bale’s partner, Sydney Prosser, and Lawrence plays his wife, Rosalyn. The producers include Annapurna Pictures, founded by Megan Ellison, the daughter of Oracle Corp. Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison. The film was distributed by Sony’s Columbia Pictures and written by Russell and Eric Singer.
From the stage, Adams and Lawrence credited director and co-writer Russell for creating potent female roles. Lawrence won the best-actress Oscar for “Silver Linings Playbook” last year, also directed by Russell.
“Before I even read the script, I knew I wanted to do it,” Lawrence told reporters backstage. “I read the script and fell in love with this Rosalyn, and she kept evolving and she was so exciting. I loved every moment.”
“American Hustle” has collected $118.6 million in theaters since Dec. 13. Russell “writes female characters in such a unique way,” Adams said backstage. “If you give him less than your complete soul he will come at you like the devil to capture the rest.”
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler returned as hosts of the show for a second year, as Hollywood Foreign Press Association honored the year’s best work in films and television.
Fox Searchlight, part of 21st Century Fox Inc., will expand the number of theaters carrying “12 Years a Slave,” according to the studio. Since its October release, the movie has collected $51.6 million in worldwide ticket sales, according to researcher Box Office Mojo.
The film features Chiwetel Ejiofor as a free black man in pre-Civil War New York who is abducted and sold to a cruel slave owner played by Michael Fassbender.
Of the 10 films nominated in best-picture categories at the Golden Globes, the 3-D space thriller “Gravity” from Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. was the most popular with fans, collecting more than $670 million in worldwide ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo. “Gravity” features Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as shuttle astronauts who survive a collision with space debris.
The film will expand to more theaters on Jan. 17, a day after Oscar nominations are announced, Burbank, California-based Warner Bros. said in an e-mail.
“Breaking Bad” won the award for best TV drama, following on its win at the Emmys last year. Bryan Cranston, who starred in the AMC Networks Inc. show, won for best actor in a TV drama.
Allen, the director of “Blue Jasmine,” was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement. Diane Keaton accepted in his place.
Golden Globe winners are chosen by about 90 journalists who write for publications based outside the U.S. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, representing about 6,000 artists, craftsmen, actors executives and publicists, will announce the Oscar nominations on Jan. 16 and name the winners on March 2.
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