The Golden Globe Speeches

While I was all eager to watch the 68th Annual Golden Globes last night, I was feeling bored from the beginning, after the first award of Best Supporting Actor was handed out. With Geoffrey Rush (The King’s speech therapist) losing the award, I will always miss the acceptance speech from him. I’m sure he had prepared something brilliant and witty to say. That would be the speech I had hoped for, but now, will never get to hear.

Most of the speeches last night were banal and uninspiring, exceptions were few. Even Robert De Niro’s for winning the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award was lacklustre.  What sounded like self-deprecating humor could well have de-mythicized the acting profession and brought it down to the level of just another job to feed the kids.

Annette Bening had a sweet ending to her acceptance speech for Best Actress, comedy or musical, for The Kids Are All Right. After thanking the cast, she acknowledged “the 1962 winner of the Golden Globes for Most Promising Actor, my husband Warren Beatty.” They looked wonderful together, after all these years.

Canadian viewers must be delighted to hear Paul Giamatti, Best Actor, comedy or musical for Barney’s Version, as he acknowledged Canadian author Mordecai Richler and his family, and the film’s shooting location “up in an incredible, beautiful city, Montreal, which I dream about, an incredible place in a great nation, Canada. I salute the great nation of Canada.”

The audience stood and cheered as Michael Douglas came on stage at the end, making his first public appearance in Hollywood after receiving treatments for throat cancer: “That’s got to be an easier way to get a standing ovation,”  he quipped.  He presented the Best Movie Award to The Social Network, which won four Golden Globes last night.



The best speech of the night came from Colin Firth. Just like his role in The King’s Speech, reflecting his persona and style, his speech was an exemplar of finesse and character.

Here is Colin Firth’s acceptance speech for Best Actor, Drama, for The King’s Speech:

“Getting through the mid stage of your life with your dignity and judgement in tact can be somewhat precarious and sometimes all you need is a bit of gentle reassurance to keep on track. I don’t know if this qualifies as gentle reassurance, but right now this is all that stands between me and a Harley Davidson. I owe a very great debt to my supernaturally talented fellow cast members, my exquisite no-nonsense Queen, Helena and my wayward Royal older brother Guy [Pierce]. Geoffrey Rush and Tom Hooper, my two other sides of a surprisingly robust triangle of man love, somehow moved forward in perfect formation for the last year and a half or so… Tom with his scorching intelligence and Geoffrey who has now become my true friend and geisha girl. David Seidler, I know something of what you went through to create this…. at a time in my life when I truly appreciate the value of longevity in my relationships, Harvey Weinstein has made an improbably number of good films. We have had 20 years together, which is not bad going for a showbiz marriage. Thank you, Harvey. But the very best thing of all has been Livia [his wife] and all the beautiful things she’s given me and I think I can cope with just about any age as long as I can still see her.”

Who can be more deserving to win?


For a full list of Golden Globes nominees and winners, CLICK HERE to the official Golden Globe Site of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

To read my review of The King’s Speech, CLICK HERE.

Colin Firth’s Speech quoted from The Telegraph.

Photo source: The Telegraph


THEATRE by W. Somerset Maugham: In Search of Reality

It was pure serendipity.  I thought I knew almost all of Maugham’s titles, but this one just escaped me.  I found it on the ‘New and Notable’ shelf in the public library.  It’s a Vintage International edition paperback published in 2001.  Not new but it looked untouched and inviting.

Two pages into the book I knew right away I had seen it before.  Of course, that’s the movie Being Julia (2004).  Annette Bening got a Best Actress Oscar nom for her portrayal of Julia Lambert, a famous actress on the London stage in the 1930’s.  The movie is a colorful account of how a successful stage actress deals with her mid-life crisis.  With fame, fortune, and achievement in bounty, what more could she ask for but… love and passion.  And during the course, obstacles, jealousy, and betrayal are all overcome, and revenge carried out;  on or off stage, no matter, it’s equally exciting for the glamourous Julia Lambert.

But not until I read this novel on which the movie was based did I realize that a most important passage had been left out.  And oh what an omission!  For the crux of the book rests on those few pages.  And not only that, the screenwriter had chosen to alter a character to suit his fancy, rounding off the edges of conflicts and alleviating tensions in presenting a smooth and suave storyline.

In the movie, Julia’s son Roger is a young man fresh out of Eton and planning to attend Cambridge after the summer.  That much is true to the book.  Roger is shown to be a devoted son, lovingly supportive of his mother in her pursuits in career and love life.  But this is not the case in the novel.  Maugham has crafted Roger as a critical young man, offering the necessary tension to the story.  In a crucial scene at the end of the book, he questions Julia’s behaviour and integrity.  These challenges form the climatic confrontation between mother and son, projecting the meaning behind the very title of the novel.

Here is an excerpt from this scene that captures the essence of the whole book.  Julia asks Roger:

“What is it you want?”

Once again he gave her his disconcerting stare.  It was hard to know if he was serious, for his eyes faintly shimmered with amusement.


“What do you mean?”

“You see, I’ve lived all my life in an atmosphere of make-believe.  …  You never stop acting.  It’s second nature to you.  You act when there’s a party here.  You act to the servants, you act to Father, you act to me.  To me you act the part of the fond, indulgent, celebrated mother.  You don’t exist, you’re only the innumerable parts you’ve played.  I’ve often wondered if there was ever a you or if you were never anything more than a vehicle for all these other people that you’ve pretended to be.  When I’ve seen you go into an empty room I’ve sometimes wanted to open the door suddenly, but I’ve been afraid to in case I found nobody there.”

By turning Roger into a complacent and docile young man, the screenwriter had failed to present the necessary tension in the story.  Further, by avoiding the character foil between the successful actress mother and her meaning-pursuing, idealistic son, the movie fails to deliver the essential subtext, despite an impressive performance by Annette Bening.

Further, the best is yet to come in the book… such is the ingenuity of W. Somerset Maugham.  After a superb, revengeful performance, overarching her rival, the young and beautiful Avice Crichton, and drawing everyone’s admiration back to herself, Julia celebrates on her own with a nice meal and mulls over a gratifying notion, on the very last page:

“Roger says we don’t exist.  Why, it’s only we who do exist.  They are the shadows and we give them substance.  We are the symbols of all this confused, aimless struggling that they call life, and it’s only the symbol which is real.  They say acting is only make-believe.  That make-believe is the only reality.”

This is ever so relevant for us today.  With all the online personae we can create and project, all behind the guard of anonymity, Roger’s quest for what’s real remains a valid search.

Sherry Turkle, the acclaimed ‘anthropologist of cyberspace’, has observed the liminal reality in our postmodern world and stated her own quest:

“I’m interested in how the virtual impinges on what we’ve always called the real, and how the real impinges on the virtual.”

Let’s just hope that the advancement of technology would not get the better of us, blurring the lines of fact and fiction, offering shields for fraud and deceits. Behind the liminal existence, let’s hope too that we still care what’s real and what’s not, and that our humanity will still be valued and not be compromised or lost in the vast abyss of bits and bytes.

The upcoming Academy Awards too, is another platform to showcase such a duality.  I always find the acceptance speeches of award winners intriguing: what’s genuine and what’s fake in their thank you’s.  Are they presenting their real self or merely acting?  Outside of their roles, which part of them is authentic?  Or, do they ever get out of their roles?

It’s interesting too to explore the influence of movies nowadays.  Again, the postmodern emphasis is on the narrative, multiples of them, and storytelling the vehicle of meaning.  Does the notion of Maugham’s character Julia mirror our world… that movies have become the symbols of what we call life?  That make-believe has sometimes been merged with reality?   Can we still tell them apart?  Or, should we even try?  Considering the pervasive effects of pop culture in our life today, considering a single movie can command a worldwide box office sale of $2.4 billion, and counting… Maugham was prophetic indeed.