Netflix comes of age in Tinseltown

Netflix’s gangster epic The Irishman (above) is a front-runner for the Globe’s top film prize, best drama, while this could also be a breakthrough year for Asian film-making with Asian-American actress Awkwafina seen as a favourite for best actress in fam
Netflix’s gangster epic The Irishman (above) is a front-runner for the Globe’s top film prize, best drama, while this could also be a breakthrough year for Asian film-making with Asian-American actress Awkwafina seen as a favourite for best actress in family tragi-comedy The Farewell.PHOTOS: NETFLIX, SHAW ORGANISATION
Netflix’s gangster epic The Irishman is a front-runner for the Globe’s top film prize, best drama, while this could also be a breakthrough year for Asian film-making with Asian-American actress Awkwafina seen as a favourite for best actress in family trag
Netflix’s gangster epic The Irishman is a front-runner for the Globe’s top film prize, best drama, while this could also be a breakthrough year for Asian film-making with Asian-American actress Awkwafina seen as a favourite for best actress in family tragi-comedy The Farewell (above, centre).PHOTOS: NETFLIX, SHAW ORGANISATION

The streaming giant, which began producing original movies only in 2015, has 34 Globe nominations in film and TV categories and is the hot favourite to win several major awards

LOS ANGELES • Hollywood's biggest stars gather on Sunday (this morning, Singapore) for the glitzy Golden Globes, the first major awards show of a packed season that looks set to mark Netflix's coming of age in Tinseltown.

The celebrity-filled gala in Beverly Hills is billed as the most raucous event in the showbiz calendar, where success helps create buzz ahead of next month's Oscars.

Netflix garnered an overwhelming 34 Globe nominations across film and television categories, and is the hot favourite to win several major gongs at the champagne-soaked ceremony.

The streaming giant has two front-runners for the night's top film prize, best drama - Martin Scorsese's gangster epic The Irishman and heart-wrenching divorce saga Marriage Story.

"They are having a really good year," Variety awards editor Tim Gray said, noting that Netflix has five or six heavyweight films this season, up from just Roma last time around. "I think they'll do well."

Netflix began producing original movies only in 2015, but has spent billions to lure the industry's top film-making talent and fund lavish award-season campaigns.

The firm's Vatican drama The Two Popes has four nods, while Eddie Murphy is tipped to win best comedy actor for the streaming giant's blaxploitation biopic Dolemite Is My Name.

  • Nominees in selected categories

  • FILM

    Best film, drama

    1917

    The Irishman

    Joker

    The Two Popes

    Marriage Story

    Best film, musical or comedy

    Dolemite Is My Name

    Knives Out

    Jojo Rabbit

    Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

    Rocketman

    Best actor, drama

    Adam Driver (Marriage Story)

    Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)

    Antonio Banderas (Pain And Glory)

    Christian Bale (Ford V. Ferrari)

    Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes)

    Best actress, drama

    Renee Zellweger (Judy)

    Cynthia Erivo (Harriet)

    Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story)

    Saoirse Ronan (Little Women)

    Charlize Theron (Bombshell)

    Best director

    Bong Joon-ho (Parasite)

    Sam Mendes (1917)

    Todd Phillips (Joker)

    Martin Scorsese (The Irishman)

    Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon A Time In Hollywood)

    TELEVISION

    Best drama series

    Big Little Lies

    The Crown

    Killing Eve

    The Morning Show

    Succession

Murphy, making a comeback to the awards circuit, is among a plethora of A-listers enthusiastically campaigning throughout the busy season.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association's 90-odd members, who vote for the Globe winners, are a priority stop for every serious contender.

Last year, they correctly picked the Oscar winner in every film category except for best musical score.

"They don't generally miss more than one, maybe two" Academy Award winners, said Mr Chris Beachum, of awards prediction website GoldDerby.

British comedian Ricky Gervais returns for a record fifth time to host the ceremony, where his provocative barbs have both riled and delighted Hollywood stars in previous years.

He has promised that it will be "the very last time" he hosts.

While several film categories are too close to call, Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is predicted to take the prize for best comedy, according to GoldDerby.

Brad Pitt is also a clear shoo-in for his supporting turn in the 1960s Hollywood pastiche, set against the backdrop of the Manson cult murders.

Joaquin Phoenix is leading a crowded drama field for his radical turn in dark comic-book tale Joker, while Renee Zellweger is angling hard for the best actress gong with Judy Garland biopic Judy.

Newcomer Apple will be hoping to make waves in the television categories, where its #MeToo drama The Morning Show has multiple nominations.

But it must fend off Netflix's flagship The Crown, boasting a new cast led by Oscar winner Olivia Colman.

And early signs suggest a breakthrough year for Asian film-making.

Asian-American actress Awkwafina is seen as a favourite for best actress in family tragi-comedy The Farewell while South Korean black comedy Parasite is expected to bag the award for best foreign language film.

Bong Joon-ho, who helmed Parasite, goes head-to-head with Hollywood heavyweights Tarantino and Scorsese in the best director category.

But the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has also drawn stinging criticism for its failure to nominate any female directors.

The surprise omission of Greta Gerwig (Little Women) was particularly notable.

"Of course, I'm disappointed. I love the film that we made," she said last month.

"There are so many beautiful films made by women (in 2019)," she said, but added that the overall low number of female-helmed movies is "dreadful" for the industry.

The association's president, Mr Lorenzo Soria, defended the all-male list, telling Variety that its members "don't vote by gender", but "by film and accomplishment".

Mr Gray agreed the director nominations' list remains "pretty good", with Sam Mendes (1917) and Todd Phillips (Joker) rounding off the slots.

"All the directors who were nominated deserve it," he said. "It's not a simple case of prejudice against women directors."

He added: "It's just a good year - every category is overcrowded."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 06, 2020, with the headline 'Netflix comes of age in Tinseltown'. Print Edition | Subscribe