Before the Golden Globe festivities began, Boyhood producer John Sloss surveyed the ballroom at the Beverly Hilton, looking rather concerned. “I don’t have a good feeling about this,” he said, worried that Richard Linklater’s indie epic wasn’t going to walk away with the top prize. Sloss wasn’t fretting over what the night would bring his film so much as what it would mean for the Oscars, a month down the road. “As I told Rick, a win tonight means a 45 sec. close-captioned conversation with 6500 Academy members,” he said.
And that’s really what the Globes are all about. Yes, it’s an honor to win a prize, especially in a room as star-studded as the Golden Globes—but since none of the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association overlap with the Academy, the results never offer a direct correlation. And this year, the Oscar nomination ballots were submitted prior to Sunday night’s festivities, so none of the acceptance speeches could have a direct bearing on how Academy members initially voted. Yet when it comes to the momentum game, they still matter—and those speeches do make an impact when final votes are cast.
That said, there were some clear winners Sunday night:
Birdman: Michael Keaton’s teary, heartfelt speech wasn’t effective only for his own campaign in the lead actor race—his shout-out to his director, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, can only help that race as well. Keaton appealed to the actor’s branch with this line: “Alejandro, there is not a person in this room who wouldn’t show up for your next gig, my brother.” Inarritu’s win in the screenplay category was also beneficial, as was his rousing, passionate speech.
Boyhood: The big winner for the night, with three prizes for director, drama and supporting actress. Boyhood’s unlikely accent continues. Linklater helped his cause with a very humble, very human speech that specifically reflected the spirit of the film and served as a strong reminder of what Linklater was aiming for with his 12 years of work. Arquette was also heartfelt, but she’s got to lose the notes if she’s going to continue this run.
The Grand Budapest Hotel: The quiet contender was given the spotlight tonight with the best comedy win, and writer/director Wes Anderson delivered with a quirky, spot-on speech thanking individual members of the HFPA. His film is definitely on a hot streak, and it will be interesting to see if this win creates even more of a boost.
Less clear is what happens now with The Imitation Game and Selma. Both films went into tonight with some momentum. Selma held on to one prize with a win for best song for Common and John Legend’s Glory; The Imitation Game went home empty-handed. That likely won’t be the case Thursday when Oscar nominations are announced—but it sure would have been interesting to hear more from either film. Thankfully, Common took his moment in the sun to deliver an articulate, thoughtful speech that related the historic civil rights film to what’s happening today. And he did so with grace and ease.
“I was just thankful to have the platform,” he said after the win on his way to an after-party.
And really, that’s all anyone’s looking for on Golden Globes night.