Arquette, ‘Birdman,’ ‘Fargo’ take early Golden Globes

Kicking off the 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler wasted no time in skewering Hollywood’s most tender subjects: the hacking of Sony Pictures over “The Interview,” the sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby and television’s rise as a cultural rival to movies.

In an opening blistering with zingers, the hosts welcomed Hollywood’s “despicable, spoiled, minimally talented brats” to the Globes to celebrate “all the movies that North Korea was OK with.”

The three-time hosts also made sure to relish their favorite target: George Clooney. Of the night’s Cecil B. DeMille honoree, Fey suggested the lifetime achievement award might have been better off going to his new wife, Amal Clooney, who spent 2014 working for the United Nations.

The recent terrorist attack in Paris at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo hung heavily over the show, televised live from the Beverly Hill Hilton in Beverly Hills, California. Attendees such as Clooney sported “Je Suis Charlie” pins and others like Helen Mirren held up signs that read the same on the red carpet.

Hollywood Foreign Press Association President Theo Kingma drew a standing ovation for a speech pledging support of free speech “from North Korea to Paris.” Presenter Jared Leto, too, spoke solemnly on the attacks, concluding with “Je Suis Charlie.”

The awards season favorite, Richard Linklater’s 12-years-in-the-making “Boyhood” established itself in the early going, with Patricia Arquette winning best supporting actress in a drama. “I’m the only nerd with a piece of paper,” said Arquette.

But the leading Globe nominee and perhaps the stiffest competition for “Boyhood,” Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s backstage romp “Birdman” (with seven nods) won best screenplay.

The first award of the night went to J.K. Simmons for best supporting actor for his performance as a domineering jazz teacher in the acclaimed indie “Whiplash.” He thanked his confident co-star, Miles Teller, whom he called: “A young actor of such maturity and brilliance that he inspired me every day to want to scream at him and hit him in the face.”

Some winners were caught by surprise. Accepting the award for best actress in a comedy or musical for her performance in “Big Eyes,” an unprepared Amy Adams said: “I didn’t even reapply lip gloss.”

The night had an orchestrated but carefree spirit, filled with the usual high dose of glamour (nominee Julianne Moore especially turned heads the red carpet), celebrity cameos (Prince!) and even the drink-swilling return of an old Globes scoundrel, Ricky Gervais.

The DreamWorks sequel “How to Train Your Dragon 2” took best animated film over the favorite, “The Lego Movie.” The Stephen Hawking biopic “The Theory of Everything” won best score for Johann Johannsson.

As the only major awards show to honor both movies and TV, the Globes have also benefited from television’s rise. Fey and Poehler alluded to that by leading the crowd in a call-and-response cheer, chanting “Movies … Awesome! TV … Better!”

Amazon, crashing the party like Netflix did before it, celebrated its first Golden Globe for the sexual identity comedy “Transparent,” winning best TV series, musical or comedy. The show’s star, Jeffery Tambor, also landed best actor in the category, dedicating his award to the transgender community.

AMC’s adaptation of the Coen brothers’ acclaimed 1996 film, “Fargo,” came in the leading TV contender with five nominations and promptly won best miniseries or movie, as well as best actor, miniseries or movie, for Billy Bob Thornton.

“You can say anything in the world and get in trouble. I know this for a fact,” said Thornton. “So I’m just going to say thank you.”

Led by Fey and Poehler, the Globes have been on a terrific upswing in recent years. Last year’s awards drew 20.9 million viewers, the most since 2004. Accepting the Globe for best original song for “Glory” in the civil rights drama “Selma,” the rapper Common raised the status of the group behind the Globes even higher: “I want to thank God and the Hollywood Foreign Press.”

The Hollywood Foreign Press, a group of mostly freelance journalists, has lately cleaned up its reputation for idiosyncratic choices and awards swayed by celebrity. Last year, the HFPA chose the eventual Academy Awards best-picture winner, “12 Years a Slave,” as best drama and “American Hustle” as best comedy.

Anthony McCartney in Beverly Hills contributed to this report.

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