The Hollywood Foreign Press Association gave out its annual Golden Globe awards last night. and the big winner was the English school of acting.
British performers were prominent among the winners, and the more eccentric the character, the more likely was recognition. Helen Mirren won for her portrayal of the enigmatic British queen Elizabeth II in The Queen and for portraying Queen Elizabeth I in the TV miniseries Elizabeth I, Forrest Whitaker won for his oddly winsome portrayal of mass-murdering former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, Sacha Baron Cohen grabbed the Best Actor (Musical or Comedy) award for Borat (a fairly ridiculous choice, even though Cohen is smart and funny; he’s hardly a great actor at this point, but he is British, so fork it over, foreign writers), and Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy (who is always good), Jeremy Irons, and Emily Blunt snagged awards in TV categories.
The British actors all gave vivid performances, usually presenting decidedly eccentric characters but employing a rather straightforward acting approach without too many histrionics. Laurie, of course, is an exception in his portrayal of the preternaturally irascible Dr. Gregory House in the U.S. TV program known by the character’s surname, but he’s playing an American, so the perfoming style choice makes sense.
Other than the English performances, the awards tended to go to ethnically "diverse" persons and productions. American actress America Ferrera won a GG for her performance in the TV series Ugly Betty, and deserved it. She’s very good. Other prominent winners of GGs last night were the films Dreamgirls (lots of flash) and Babel (sporting a different kind of flashiness) and director Martin Scorcese for The Departed, whose best film in quite a few years was chock full of scenery-chewing acting performances (and a more nuanced and perfectly briliant one by Leonardo DiCaprio). Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy won for performances in Dreamgirls.
Speaking of The Departed, is anyone else as tired of Jack Nicholson as I am? His acting never was particularly subtle, but he now appears entirely devoted to a limited bag of obvious, overly familiar acting tricks he has employed without variation for a couple of decades. He always was as much of a personality as he was an actor, but now the persona has all but entirely overridden the characters he plays.