The Golden Globes digested
Hollywood’s awards season kicked off last night with the Golden Globes, celebrating the best in TV and movies. I don’t know about you but when I scan the lists of nominees and winners for these things (after I’ve gawped at the red carpet frocks), I make a mental list of cultural catch-up viewing. Too much brilliant stuff to watch, not enough time, so I’ve made it easy for us all – here are my top Golden Globes picks and where to find them. Pass the biccies and the remote, let’s hunker down and do the lot.
Set in the early ’50s, this 10-part dramatization of the Queen’s early years as monarch won best drama last night, with the awesome Claire Foy, so brilliant as Anne Boleyn in Wolf Hall, picking up best actress for her portrayal of Elizabeth II. There’s lots to love here – the lavish budget makes for gorgeous cinematography and locations, former Doctor Who Matt Smith is genius as the always-off-message Prince Philip (whenever the Queen informs him his presence is required at an engagement, he groans: “Oh GOD!”) and the chic ’50s wardrobe of my favourite character Princess Margaret is to-die-for. It’s available on Netflix, but if you’re not subscribed, the first month is free so gorge it all in 30 days, or subscribe thereafter for £5.99 per month.
Talking of Netflix, it’s also home to Stranger Things, a nominee in the Golden Globes’ best drama category that was hyped up last summer, and then I promptly forget about it. It’s set in Eighties smalltown Indiana and focuses on the disappearance of 12-year-old Will. His ramshackle gang of mates play detective in a warm, witty odyssey that takes in mysterious government programmes, spooky forces and an otherworldly like girl called Eleven. It marks Winona Ryder’s comeback – she’s ace as Will’s distraught mother – and there’s a brilliant jock character called Steve, who should’ve won an award simply for his incredible bouffant hair. If you loved ET, The Goonies and Stand By Me, you’ll adore this.
The People vs OJ Simpson
Did you miss this on terrestrial TV last year? Well, grab the DVD or download from Amazon (£9.99) pronto and you won’t leave your sofa for the next fortnight. A superb dramatization of disgraced American footballer player OJ Simpson’s 1995 trial for the murder of his ex-wife, it won best limited TV series last night, with Sarah Paulson nabbing best actress. Paulson is outstanding as chief prosector Marcia Clark – and it’s terrifying to witness the torrent of misogyny she faced at the time from the public and media (even her haircut makes the front page). Watch out too for the Kardashian clan as children – their late father Robert was OJ’s close friend and defence attorney – and John Travolta’s mesmerizing turn as a shark-ish lawyer who’s, um, had some work done.
The Night Of
This one flew right under my radar but I’m onto it like a rat up a rope now! Best limited TV series nominee The Night Of is a US crime/legal drama that was on Sky Atlantic last autumn and stars hot Brit newcomer Riz Ahmed (he’s in the new Star Wars) and veteran movie actor John Turturro, both of whom were nominated for best actor at the Globes. Ahmed (who is gorgeous here, by the way, especially once he shaves his head) plays Naz, a New York student of Pakistani origin who, one fateful night, borrows his dad’s taxi to go to a party. He ends up picking up a pretty, wealthy, white girl, with whom he has a one night stand, after which she ends up dead. Did Naz kill her? What follows is an extraordinary, maddening tour of the US crime and legal system and a deft unpicking of society’s attitudes towards race. It’s bleak, dark (literally – the streets of New York have never looked more menacing), and so clever you’ll ponder it for weeks after it’s finished. Buy the DVD or digital download for around £15 on Amazon and get stuck in.
La La Land
A brief excusion from the couch and into the cinema – come on, we can’t spend all January horizontal! This musical trousered seven awards last night, the most ever won by a single film, and those gongs included best director for Damien Chezelle, best actress for Emma Stone and best actor for – well, hellloooo! – Ryan Gosling. It’s a love-letter to the golden age of Hollywood musicals but set in present day. The story is as simple as they come: Emma Stone plays Mia, a wannabe actress, who falls in love with Sebastian, a jazz pianist (Gosling), with critics raving about how gloriously uplifting it is. And let’s face it, how doesn’t need a bit of glorious uplifting in mid January? Here’s the trailer, in which everyone looks gorgeous as does LA itself. The good news is, La La Land is on general release in UK cinemas this week. You can catch it at the Picturehouses in Oxford (the Phoenix) or Henley (the Regal) and Everyman Gerrard’s Cross from Thursday.