'The Revenant' Leads Golden Globes With Award for Best Drama

  • Fox leads studios as DiCaprio and Damon win acting awards
  • Gervais biting in return as host after three-year hiatus

“The Revenant,” a brutal American frontier story starring Leonardo DiCaprio that suffered through its own challenging film shoot, won three Golden Globe awards including best drama, setting up the 20th Century Fox release for a lucrative awards-season run.

DiCaprio took home the statuette for best actor in a drama, while director Alejandro González Iñárritu received the award for best director. “The Martian,” also a Fox release, won for best comedy and best actor in a comedy for Matt Damon at the annual ceremony Sunday in Beverly Hills, California.

The film unit of 21st Century Fox Inc. captured six awards, the most of any studio, welcome news after a down year. While not as prestigious as an Academy Award, a Golden Globe can provide a boost to movies that are still in theaters. That may be especially important this year, when pictures like “The Revenant” have labored under the shadow of Walt Disney Co.’s record-setting “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

“It helps them get past the debacle of ‘Fantastic Four,’” Matt Atchity, editor-in-chief at Rottentomatoes.com, said of Fox. “And that someone else is releasing a ‘Star Wars’ movie.”

“The Revenant” could certainly benefit. It was a surprise winner, while the heavily favored “Spotlight” was shut out. The publicity provides a launch pad for the film, a Christmas release that was expanded from a limited theatrical run this past weekend. It took in $38 million ahead of the Globes ceremony, almost toppling “The Force Awakens” from atop the box office.

Set in the 1820s, “The Revenant” features DiCaprio as real-life frontiersman Hugh Glass, who is seeking revenge against companions who left him for dead. The violent drama comes from the filmmakers behind last year’s Oscar best-picture winner, “Birdman.” 

“The Revenant” was co-produced by New Regency Pictures, and directed and co-written by Iñárritu, who took home last year’s directing Oscar, with Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. Tom Hardy and Domhnall Gleeson also star. Filming was particularly difficult for the cast and crew, who shot in freezing conditions.

“Everyone in this room knows pain is temporary,” Iñárritu said in accepting his award. “Film is forever. So who cares, right?”

Other Globes winners that may benefit include “Creed,” a modern, multiracial update to the “Rocky” series from Warner Bros. that brought Sylvester Stallone a supporting-actor award and a standing ovation from his peers. He thanked his imaginary friend, Rocky Balboa. Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” won for best original score. Jennifer Lawrence was crowned best actress, comedy, for “Joy.”

The awards, handed out annually by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, honor the past year’s achievements in film and television.

The Golden Globes, chosen by about 90 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, also highlighted the growing competition between traditional television networks and newer digital distributors Netflix Inc., Amazon.com Inc, and Hulu LLC.

Amazon took home two awards, tying with Comcast Corp.’s USA Network for the lead. The online retailer’s “Mozart in the Jungle” won the award for best comedy series, and its star, Gael Garcia Bernal, was named best actor.

Gervais returned to host for a fourth time, replacing actresses Amy Poehler and Tina Fey after a three-year absence. His previous appearances as host were controversial for caustic remarks about Hollywood actors and the HFPA itself, and he was at it again Sunday.

In his opening monologue, Gervais skewered the head of the HFPA and suggested NBC could be impartial because the network wasn’t up for any awards (“Mr. Robot” on NBCUniversal’s USA Network, won for best TV drama and best actor). He also poked fun at some of Hollywood’s favorite causes, including equal rights for transsexuals and equal pay for women -- joking that he was getting the same fee that Fey and Poehler had to split.

He introduced Mel Gibson, who has been widely condemned for a number of anti-Semitic statements, by saying he wanted to find something nice to say about the “Mad Max” actor. Gervais offered up that he’d rather have a drink with Gibson than with Bill Cosby.

“I love seeing Ricky once every three years,” Gibson responded. “It reminds me to get a colonoscopy.”

His one-liners and use of profanity during the show didn’t appear to help the ratings. With competition from NFL playoff coverage, the audience fell about 4.2 percent to 18.5 million, NBC said Monday in an e-mailed statement citing Nielsen data.

Best Motion Picture, Drama

  • The Revenant

Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

  • The Martian

Best Director - Motion Picture

  • Alejandro Iñárritu - The Revenant

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama

  • Brie Larson - Room

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

  • Jennifer Lawrence - Joy

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama

  • Leonardo DiCaprio - The Revenant

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

  • Matt Damon - The Martian
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