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Golden Globes 2008: Atonement named best film

Atonement

Story by Jack Foley

BRITISH talent has become the toast of Hollywood at this year’s Golden Globes despite the fact that this year’s ceremony has been cancelled due to the ongoing writers’ strike.

Joe Wright’s Atonement was named best film, Daniel Day-Lewis was named best actor for oil drama There Will Be Blood and Julie Christie took best actress for her portrayal of an Alzheimer’s sufferer in Away From Her.

On TV, Ricky Gervais also scooped another award for his latest comedy series, Extras.

The British success was, however, overshadowed by the ongoing dispute in Hollywood, which led to the cancellation of the red carpet ceremony and a low-key awards presentation.

None of the stars were present when the names of the winners were read out at a press conference at The Beverley Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles by TV entertainment reporters like Billy Bush of Access Hollywood and Mary Hart of Entertainment Tonight.

Romantic drama Atonement was British director Joe Wright’s acclaimed adaptation of Ian McEwan’s war-time novel starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. Its success means that it is now viewed as a strong Oscar contender.

But it still faces strong competition from the likes of Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood, which earned Daniel Day Lewis the best actor prize, and the Coen brothers’ No Country For Old Men, which took two awards at the Globes.

Spanish actor Javier Bardem was named best supporting actor for his astonishing portrayal of a hitman in the movie, while the Joel and Ethan took the best screenplay prize.

In a statement released after the press conference, Bardem said: “It is a great honour to have been recognized with this award in a time when there are so many outstanding performances in this category.”

Further film awards went to Tim Burton’s violent musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, which was named best musical or comedy, while its star, Johnny Depp, won for best actor in a musical or comedy.

The actor plays the vengeful barber who slits the throats of his customers in the film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s stage musical, co-starring Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman and Timothy Spall.

And Australian actress Cate Blanchett was named best supporting actress for her role dazzling portrayal of Bob Dylan in I’m Not There.

French star Marion Cotillard won best actress in a musical or comedy for her personification of singer Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose.

Pixar enjoyed another successful year, meanwhile, when its rat in a kitchen comedy Ratatouille was deservedly named best animated film.

TV winners

As with the film awards, British talent once again featured prominently among the award winners.

Ricky Gervais saw his TV show Extras named best musical or comedy TV series, while acclaimed drama Longford, which explored the relationship between Moors Murderer Myra Hindley and prisons campaigner Lord Longford, took a number of prizes.

British actor Jim Broadbent was named best actor for the drama, Samantha Morton took best supporting TV actress and the show itself won best TV mini-series or film.

Gervais missed out on the best actor gong for comedy, however, to David Duchovny, who deservedly won for his raunchy new show Californication.

The former X-Files star later revealed that he had been too nervous to watch the news conference but was delighted to have been recognised for the show.

A statement read: “I didn’t want to watch, it would just make me tense or nervous, so I went out to see a movie and I knew I wouldn’t be home until it was announced.

“I knew if my phone was ringing when I walked into my hotel room that I would have won… Nobody calls a loser.”

TV series Mad Men was named best drama and its star, Jon Hamm, was named best dramatic actor, while Glenn Close was named best dramatic actress for Damages (currently showing on the BBC).

None of the winners were present to accept or comment on their prizes, however, due to the ongoing writers’ strike, which has seen the Writers Guild of America (WGA) taking action since November 5, 2007, over royalties for work distributed online or on DVD.

Actors said they would not cross picket lines in support of the writers, prompting the cancellation of the ceremony (traditionally the second biggest to the Oscars).

Writers did not picket the news conference after it was decided that the event, which had been scheduled to appear as an exclusive NBC broadcast, would be made available to all media.

But production crew workers staged protests outside the Beverly Hilton prior to the press conference, holding aloft placards calling for a quick resolution to the 71-day dispute. It now remains to be seen whether an agreement can be reached in time for the Oscars, which could yet suffer the same fate as the Globes.

Atonement, meanwhile, will be looking to repeat its success at the Academy Awards and, in doing so, buck the trend of recent years whereby Golden Globes winners haven’t always gone on to take the top Academy prizes.

The award winners in full…