Television has always taken a back seat to film at the Golden Globes. That was quite literally the case tonight. Many TV winners had to walk a long way to the stage from the back of the room as the tables down were reserved mostly for film stars. But, like Christine Lahti did in 1998 when she was in the bathroom while being called to the stage for her best drama series actress award, it was a TV winner, British actress Jacqueline Bisset, who produced probably the most memorable acceptance moment of the night with her rambling, incoherent, expletive-laden speech.
In selecting the TV winners, HFPA mostly followed its longtime strategy of recognizing new shows, like Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Netflix’s House Of Cards and Showtime’s Ray Donovan, with one big exception. The Golden Globes did something I can’t remember ever seeing — they gave Breaking Bad its first ever awards for its final season. HFPA, which prides itself in first spotting shows that would go on to become a pop culture phenomenon — like they did with HBO’s Sex And The City and The Sopranos — completely missed the boat with Breaking Bad. They rectified the glaring omission tonight when, in its final shot, the acclaimed AMC drama scored two statuettes, for best drama series and best actor, three-time Emmy winner Bryan Cranston.
HFPA still kept the tradition of recognizing mostly newcomers as Parks & Recreation was the only returning series besides Breaking Bad to earn a Golden Globe for the ceremony’s co-host Amy Poehler. Leading the rookie parade was Fox’s comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine. The cop show was a surprise double nominee and became an even more surprising double winner tonight, for best comedy series and best comedy actor, Andy Samberg. (Both Brooklyn and Parks & Rec are produced by Universal TV, making it a clean sweep on the comedy side for the studio.) While not very accommodating to freshman broadcast dramas, which have not scored a best series nomination in seven years, HFPA has given warm welcome to new broadcast comedies. Three years ago, the best comedy series Golden Globe went to another freshman Fox series, Glee. Unlike Glee, which was a breakout hit, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been ratings-challenged but HFPA loves underdogs — one of its biggest success stories was helping another struggling first-year Fox comedy, Ally McBeal, turn its ratings fortunes around with a surprise double win for best series and its star, Calista Flockhart. It is shaping up to be a great month for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which also is getting a special airing after the Super Bowl.
Other freshman shows to score wins tonight include House of Cards, which nabbed its first acting prize for Robin Wright, named best actress in a drama series, and Ray Donovan for Jon Voight, best supporting actor in series, miniseries or movie. Voight is a favorite of the HFPA with 10 nominations and four wins, but this was his first Globe since 1986.
On the longform side, the HFPA, which is composed of Hollywood-based international journalists, again showed its affinity for stars and European productions. The glitzy, star-studded HBO movie Behind The Candelabra starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, won the best TV movie/miniseries Golden Globe, and Douglas was named best actor in a TV movie/miniseries, both categories that the film also won at the Emmys in September. HBO’s usual dominance of the longform field was disrupted by two upset wins, one for Bisset in the best supporting category for Starz’s Dancing On The Edge, and one for Elisabeth Moss in the lead actress category for Sundance Channel’s Top Of The Lake, both BBC productions.