In a year noted for small to medium budget ($15-$50 million) movies proving to be more profitable than many films costing over $150 million (Tron Legacy, for instance), The Social Network won at the 68th annual Golden Globes Awards in a big way. It took the award for best film in the drama category and three other awards out of its six nominations.
The movie, which is now out on DVD in North America and ending its run in most other territories, has grossed a strong $200 million. With its triumph at the Golden Globes and the expected Oscar nominations, its DVD and Blu-ray sales could enjoy a big bump. It beat strong competitors The Fighter, Black Swan and The King's Speech.
The briskly-paced The Social Network, the story of the founding of Facebook, won for director David Fincher, writer Aaron Sorkin and composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (A R Rahman was also in the competition for his 127 Hours score).
Other notable winners: Colin Firth took the best-actor Globe in the drama category for The King's Speech playing a British king with speech impediment; Natalie Portman for her singular work in Black Swan as a ballet artist who is consumed by destructive feelings. Paul Giammati got the award for Barney's Version in the comedy/musical category; he plays a much-married man ruminating over the past. And Annette Benning was honored for The Kids Are All Right (in the comedy/musical section) playing a lesbian mother who is suddenly drawn to a man.
The awards, which unlike the Oscars are split into drama, musical/comedy and animated features, are given by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which has 85 members.
For years, HFPA has been accused of accepting lavish gifts from the studios. And yet the awards receive some respect because they recognize small and big films, most having received excellent reviews. They are also highly visible as they are aired worldwide. And hardly anyone in Hollywood refuses to attend the event. The awards are held in Beverley Hills.
One big budget movie made an impact at the Globes. Disney and Pixar's Toy Story 3, which was made for $150 million and grossed over $1 billion worldwide, won in the best animation film category. Among the films it trounced was the Disney film Tangled, another hugely expensive movie ($260 million) that has already grossed about $380 million in the middle of its international run.
Most of the heavy Golden Globe competitors -- Black Swan, The Fighter and The King's Speech -- would open outside North America in the next two weeks. Though they did not win the best picture award, they surely created a lot of buzz being at the awards ceremony, which was televised worldwide.
The King's Speech grossed about $9.1 million in North America over the weekend, taking its total to $44.6 million. The film, which is showing in a handful of foreign territories including the United Kingdom, will also wide next week in major international territories. Black Swan, the erotic thriller set in the ballet world, which many market analysts had argued would be a tough sell, has become one of the most surprising successes of the year. The list includes the silly low budget comedy Jackass 3D, which became a bigger hit than expected, grossing $170 million worldwide. Black Swan, which grossed $8.1 million over the weekend, has made $73 million.
The Fighter, which many studios were not keen on producing, has grossed for Paramount $65 million. Its weekend gross of $5 million shows it has plenty more life in it. With Oscar nominations due on January 25, these movies will get a lot more coverage. True Grit, the pulsating Western, which was shut off completely at the Globes, has already become a formidable hit in North America grossing $126.4 million, with plenty of life ahead. Without any Oscar nomination or a win, the film is expected to gross at least $160 million in North America, an awesome gross for a movie that cost just about $38 million to produce. It too hasn't opened abroad.
The Kids Are All Right, made for a mere $3 million, has ended its American run with a hearty $20 million and has just begun its foreign run. A story of two lesbians who have a son and a daughter, it is a finely etched drama about motherhood, suppressed sexuality, and conflicted family dynamics; it mixed comedy and drama.
Colin Firth, who was nominated last year for The Single Man, won for The King's Speech, the story of how King George VI overcame his stammer to address the nation over the radio and prepare them to fight against Hitler. Geoffrey Rush, who plays the therapist, was also nominated in the supporting actor category but lost to Christian Bale for The Fighter.
Bale, who plays a burnt out fighter and addict pushed into seeking redemption, also won a Critics' Choice Award for The Fighter a few days before the Globes. He praised his co-star Mark Wahlberg, who is also one of the producers of The Fighter, which is set near Boston and is based on true incidents.
Picking up her second Globe -- she won a supporting trophy in 2005 for Closer -- Portman, a darling of independent movies, pointed out to her fiancé Benjamin Millepied, declaring: 'he totally wants to sleep with me.' The two are expecting their first baby in a few months. He also choreographed Black Swan.
She expressed special thanks to director Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler), who has scored his first commercial breakthrough. Melissa Leo, best known for her movie work in the low budget Frozen River, won in the supporting actress category for The Fighter.
One of the most interesting acceptance speeches came from The Social Network writer Aaron Sorkin, who after thanking the key people involved in the film, also praised Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (who certainly wasn't presented as a likeable man). Sorkin noted Zuckerberg was an entrepreneur, visionary and altruist.