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Friday , February 3 2023

Golden Globes back to Gervais – Awards season

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LOS ANGELES, Dec 17, (RTRS): When it came to finding a new host for the Golden Globes, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn went back to the future. After three successful years with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as emcees, the 2016 ceremony will mark a return engagement for their predecessor, Ricky Gervais.

“Once we knew Tina and Amy weren’t coming back, you look over the landscape and think about, ‘Who is going to give the show the kind of boost that both Ricky and Tina and Amy did for six years in a row?,’” says kudoscast exec producer Barry Adelman, exec VP of Dick Clark Productions.

“Neither left because they were disgruntled, they left because they thought three years was enough,” Adelman adds. “We thought, ‘Why not ask Ricky again?’ We kind of suspected he had an itch to come back. He loves it, he loves stirring the pot.”

Italian journo Lorenzo Soria, who was elected HFPA prez earlier this year, says the org was firmly behind the idea. “Ricky was always at the top of our list and our thoughts,” Soria says. “The only debate was whether it felt like moving backward than forward. Once we talked with Ricky, we were very excited.”

That excitement was shared by NBC, longtime home of the Globes. The Peacock’s prexy of late night and alternative programming Paul Telegdy says Gervais fits perfectly with both the industry and public perception of the Globes.

“They enjoy the Golden Globes’ status as a looser room than other award shows,” Telegdy says of the HFPA. “It’s got a little bit of a maverick personality. It’s one of the reasons I think it’s preferred to many other award shows, whether you’re lucky enough to attend or to watch, it’s got a very different feel. That maverick status blends nicely with Ricky’s own approach to the evening.”

Happily, despite swearing off the gig after his third year, Gervais was game for a comeback. He brings with him a reputation for poking fun at nominees, presenters and the HFPA itself.

After critically reviled flop “The Tourist” earned three nominations in the comedy feature categories, Gervais cracked at the 2012 ceremony: “I’d like to quash this ridiculous rumor that the only reason ‘The Tourist’ was nominated was so the Hollywood Foreign Press could hang out with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. That is rubbish, that is not the only reason: they also accepted bribes.”

He’s been having fun with it on Twitter, asking his followers who or what he should poke fun at and retweeting the news about his hosting gig.

Soria says the HFPA learned long ago how to take a joke from Gervais, and his no-holds-barred hosting style is exactly what it’s looking for. “When you deal with Ricky you deal with the unpredictable,” he says. “We know what we’re buying into and we’re happy to do that. He’s a good addition to a show that has the strength of being unpredictable. You can’t plan those (unexpected) moments but you need to have a framework to make that possible.”

Though only December, this is the time of year when pundits, critics and voters are already prepared to anoint a winner. After hearing from critics and precursor groups, most people are comfortable announcing front-runners in the acting categories. By this time last year, eventual winners J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”) and Patricia Arquette (“Boyhood”) were all but done deals, while it was looking more and more certain that no one would challenge Julianne Moore (“Still Alice”) for the lead actress crown. Even lead actor was considered at best a two-man race, with Michael Keaton (“Birdman”) and eventual winner Eddie Redmyane (“The Theory of Everything”) duking it out.

But this year, something strange has happened; it’s all too close to call, particularly in the supporting categories. Due to films screening later and unexpected surprises — who saw “Creed” coming? — the acting races are bursting with possibilities.

In supporting actor, Keaton could land his nom for “Spotlight,” but don’t count out comeback kid Sylvester Stallone (“Creed”). Or it could be one of several great supporting players seen throughout the year, everyone from 9-year-old Jacob Tremblay (“Room”) and newcomer Jason Mitchell (“Straight Outta Compton”) to veterans like Michael Shannon (“99 Homes”), or Keaton’s co-star Mark Ruffalo.

Though Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”) and Idris Elba (“Beasts of No Nation”) haven’t done much campaigning, they certainly have their fanbases. Paul Dano (“Love & Mercy”) has gained from attention from critics groups. Then there are respected thespians like Joel Edgerton (“Black Mass”) and Tom Hardy (“The Revenant”) who shouldn’t be counted out. It’s a true embarrassment of riches.

Same goes for supporting actress, where Rooney Mara (“Carol”) and Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”) look like sure things, but beyond that nothing is for certain. Even they aren’t slam dunks, as there’s no guarantee one or both won’t be placed in the lead actress category. Beyond that, it’s a mix of possibilities with vets like Jennifer Jason Leigh (“The Hateful Eight”) and Kate Winslet (“Steve Jobs”) looking strong. One shouldn’t rule out the likes of Joan Allen (“Room”) or Jane Fonda (“Youth”), who both excel with limited screen time. And Kristen Stewart, who once had no previous buzz for her work in “Clouds of Sils Maria”, is now back in the mix after picking up several critics’ awards.

The lead categories seem a little firmer, with tentative front-runners, but nothing is set in stone. Leonardo DiCaprio was the sure thing before anyone saw a single second of “The Revenant”, but can he maintain that momentum? especially with someone as beloved as Will Smith (“Concussion”) about to unveil his film and Matt Damon (“The Martian”) back in the States after shooting the latest “Bourne” movie overseas. Then you have Johnny Depp (“Black Mass”), Michael Fassbender (“Steve Jobs”), Eddie Redmyane (“The Danish Girl”), Ian McKellen (“Mr Holmes”), Michael B. Jordan (“Creed”) and Michael Caine (“Youth”) — so many great performances that some deserving actors are bound to be left off.

For lead actress, Brie Larson of “Room” will have to battle some heavy competition, including two-time winner Cate Blanchett in “Carol”, which could possibly have two nominees if the Academy decides to bump up Mara from supporting. Previous nominee Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”) has been racking up a lot of love from critics groups, as has Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years”). And then there are complete wildcards like Sarah Silverman (“I Smile Back”) and Charlize Theron (“Mad Max: Fury Road”). It all makes for an exciting race and one that’s anyone’s game.