NEW YORK (AP) — In a Golden Globes chock full of upsets, the Freddie Mercury biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody" took best picture, drama, over Bradley Cooper's heavily favored "A Star is Born" and Glenn Close bested Lady Gaga for best actress.
Few winners were seen as more certain than Lady Gaga as best actress in a drama at Sunday's ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. However, veteran actress Close pulled off the shocker for her performance in "The Wife," as the spouse of a Nobel Prize-winning author. Close said she was thinking of her mother, "who really sublimated herself to my father for her whole life."
"We have to find personal fulfillment. We have to follow our dreams," said Close, drawing a standing ovation. "We have to say I can do that and I should be allowed to do that."
Minutes later, the surprise was even greater when "Bohemian Rhapsody" won the night's top award, shortly after Rami Malek won best actor for his prosthetic teeth-aided performance as Mercury.
"Thank you to Freddie Mercury for giving me the joy of a lifetime," Malek said. "This is for you, gorgeous."
Politics were largely absent from the ceremony before Christian Bale took the stage for winning best actor in a musical or comedy for his lead performance in Adam McKay's "Vice."
"What do you think? Mitch McConnell next?" the Welsh-born actor joked, referring to the Senate's majority leader. "Thank you to Satan for giving me inspiration for this role."
Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg opened the Globes, put on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, on a note of congeniality, including a mock roast of attendees and a string of jokes that playfully commented on critiques of Hollywood. Oh performed an impression of a sexist caveman film executive who casts like the title of Damien Chazelle's Neil Armstrong drama: "First man!"
Noting the success of "Crazy Rich Asians," Oh alluded to films with white stars in Asian roles like "Ghost in the Shell" and "Aloha," the latter of which prompted Emma Stone, who starred in "Aloha," to shout out "I'm sorry!" from the crowd.
However, Oh, who later also won for her performance on the BBC America drama series "Killing Eve," and Samberg closed their opening monologue on a serious note explaining why she was hosting.
"I wanted to be here to look out at this audience and witness this moment of change," Oh said, tearing up and gazing at minority nominees in attendance. "Right now, this moment is real. Trust me, this is real. Because I see you. And I see you. All of these faces of change. And now, so will everyone else."
Some of those faces Oh alluded to won. Mahershala Ali, whom the foreign press association overlooked for his Oscar-winning performance in "Moonlight," won best supporting actor for "Green Book." While the Globes, decided by 88 voting members of the HFPA, have little relation to the Academy Awards, they can supply some awards-season momentum when it matters most. Oscar nomination voting begins Monday.
The biggest boost went to "Green Book," Peter Farrelly's interracial road trip through the early '60s Deep South, which has struggled to catch on at the box office while coming under substantial criticism for relying on racial tropes. It won best film, comedy or musical, and best screenplay.
As expected, Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt won best song for the signature tune from "A Star Is Born," the film most expected to dominate the Globes.
"Can I just say that as a woman in music, it's really hard to be taken seriously as a musician and as songwriter and these three incredible men, they lifted me up," Gaga said.
Though the Globes are put on by foreign journalists, they don't include foreign language films in their two best picture categories (for drama and musical/comedy). That left Netflix's Oscar hopeful, Alfonso Cuaron's memory-drenched masterwork "Roma" out of the top category. Cuaron still won as best director and the Mexican-born filmmaker's movie won best foreign language film.
Netflix also won numerous awards for the series "The Kominsky Method," which won best actor in a comedy series for Michael Douglas and for best comedy series over favored nominees like "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" (whose star, Rachel Brosnahan still won) and "Barry."
Olivia Colman, expected to be Lady Gaga's stiffest competition when the two presumably go head-to-head at the Oscars, won best actress in a comedy/musical for her Queen Anne in the royal romp "The Favourite." "I ate constantly throughout the film," Colman said. "It was brilliant."
Best supporting actress in a motion picture went to the Oscar front-runner Regina King for her matriarch of Barry Jenkins' James Baldwin adaptation "If Beale Street Could Talk." King spoke about the Time's Up movement and vowed that the crews of everything she produces in the next two years will be half women. She challenged others to do likewise.
"Stand with us in solidarity and do the same," said King, who was also nominated for the TV series "Seven Seconds."
For its sixth and final season, FX's "The Americans" took best drama series over shows like Amazon's conspiracy thriller "Homecoming" and Oh's own "Killing Eve." Richard Madden, the breakout star of the terrorism suspense series "Bodyguard," won best actor in a drama series. Ben Wishaw took best supporting actor in a limited series for "A Very English Scandal."
Jeff Bridges received the Globes' honorary Cecil B. DeMille Award. In remarks, Bridges compared his life to a great game of tag. "We've all been tagged," Bridges said. "We're alive."
A similar television achievement award was also launched this year, dubbed the Carol Burnett Award. Its first honoree was Burnett, herself.
"I'm kind of really gob-smacked by this," Burnett said. "Does this mean that I get to accept it every year?"