From the savvy and wicked funny co-hosting of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to some of the evening's most interesting speeches and victories, the 70th Annual Hollywood Foreign Press Association's celebrity clambake serves as an indicator (albeit a teensy one) that women are finding more to do in Hollywood than look great on the red carpet.
(Although they are still required to do that, too. One of my favorite moments came when Adele—looking splendidly, unapologetically Rubenesque—collected her Best Song award for "Skyfall," thanked the foreign press, then paused to note, "I never thought I'd hear myself say that"—a reference to the way she's been hounded by the press for not dieting herself down to waif-size.)
(Er, weighing in on the same subject, Fey referred to The Hunger Games as "what I call the six weeks it took me to get into this dress," to which Poehler riposted that Life of Pi is "what I'm going to call the next six weeks after I take this dress off!")
Best Supporting Actress winner Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables) gave a shout-out to fellow nominee Sally Field, citing her range of roles from The Flying Nun to Mary Todd Lincoln an inspiration for every actress hoping to have a diverse career.
Jodie Foster, winner of the Cecile B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award (at the tender age of 50) made a few wry remarks in which she seemed to be coming out as a lesbian—as if we didn't know—followed by an eloquent meditation on the lost art of privacy.
Even the outgoing president of the HFPA, Dr. Aida Takia-O'Reilly got into the act with a short, zesty comic speech, musing "I know (producer) Jeffrey Katzenberg will never forget my name—because he never knew it in the first place."
|Brenda Chapman: unsung heroine of Brave|
Lena Dunham won for Best Actress in a TV comedy in her edgy series, "Girls," which also won for Best TV Comedy.
But while it was also great to see the girl-centric Brave win in the Best Animated Film category, it was kind of a disgrace that co-director Mark Andrews got to do all the gushing while Brenda Chapman—who wrote, developed, and directed most of the film before Pixar unceremoniously replaced her with Andrews—wasn't even invited to the party. Since they received co-director credit on Brave, I would have liked to see her on the podium too.
For awhile, I thought that was Chapman up there standing silently next to Andrews (turns out it was producer Katherine Sarafian). The sound was so wretched all night, you couldn't hear what was going on, from the director audibly counting down in the booth at the start of the show, to the roar of ambient noise in the room during every presentation, to an unbalanced audio mix in which the announcer's introductions were constantly drowned out by the orchestra.
|One for the boys: Daniel Day-Lewis|
Speaking of female directors, Kathryn Bigelow did not win for Zero Dark Thirty, but at least she was nominated. So was Ben Affleck, who astonished everyone—including himself—when he won for Argo. Which went on to win Best Picture in the drama category. Neither Affleck nor Bigelow is nominated for a directing Oscar, although both their films are in contention. Go figure.
My favorite non-female speech of the night came from Best Actor/Drama winner Daniel Day-Lewis (astonishing no one), who thanked—of all people!—the writer of Lincoln, Tony Kushner. Said Day-Lewis, "Every day I have to live without the gift of your words, which reminds me of the impoverishment of my own."
Still, I think the night belonged to Fey and Poehler. In their best introduction, Fey told the audience, "This guy makes the younger George Clooney look like garbage" —then proceeded to bring out "Older George Clooney!" Hmmm...point taken!