Columbia Grads at the Golden Globes: A Partial History

Feb. 19, 2021
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Illustration by Len Small

With Golden Globe nominations for Unorthodox, created and written by Anna Winger '93CC, and Nomadland, based on the book by Jessica Bruder '04JRN, hopes are high that two more alumni-affiliated productions will join our list of Columbia winners. 


Viggo Mortenson and Mahershala Ali in Green Book
Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali in "Green Book." (©2018 Universal Pictures. All Rights Reserved)

Green Book (2018)

Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor

After a career defined by farcical comedies like Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something About Mary, director and screenwriter Peter Farrelly ’86SOA channeled his more serious side with this dramedy about an African-American concert pianist and his white chauffeur navigating Jim Crow laws in the 1960s. In addition to winning best picture and best screenplay, the film also landed Mahershala Ali a Globe for best supporting actor.

 

Dave Franco and James Franco in The Disaster Artist
Dave Franco and James Franco in "The Disaster Artist." (Warner Bros, Inc.)

The Disaster Artist (2017)

Best Actor

James Franco ’11SOA won best actor for this comedy based on the life of eccentric filmmaker Tommy Wiseau, whose 2003 cult classic, The Room, is generally considered one of the worst movies ever made. Franco, who stars as Wiseau, also directed and produced The Disaster Artist.

 

Still from Moonlight
Alex R. Hibbert in "Moonlight." (IMDb / David Bornfriend)

Moonlight (2016)

Best Motion Picture — Drama

This art-house feature about Black identity, which was executive produced by Dede Gardner ’90CC and co-produced by Veronica Nickel ’10SOA, became an unexpected awards-season hit when it won both a Golden Globe and Oscar for best picture. 

 

"Zootopia"
"Zootopia." (Disney)

Zootopia (2016)

Best Animated Feature Film

This anthropomorphic comedy adventure, with a screenplay written by Phil Johnston ’04SOA and a story developed by Jennifer Lee ’05SOA, took home the coveted Globe for best animated feature film. (Johnston and fellow Columbia alum Jenny Slate ’04CC voice the roles of a fox and sheep, respectively.)

 

Tobias Menzies and Maggie Gyllenhaal in The Honourable Woman
Tobias Menzies and Maggie Gyllenhaal '99CC in "The Honourable Woman." (Robert Viglasky, ©2014 Sundance Channel)

The Honourable Woman (2014)

Best Actress in a Miniseries or Television Film

Though she’s better known for her film work, actress Maggie Gyllenhaal ’99CC won a Golden Globe television award for this BBC drama, in which she plays a British humanitarian worker who happens to run an arms business in the Middle East.

 

Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave
Chiwetel Ejiofor (center) in "12 Years a Slave." (IMDb / Jaap Buitendijk)

12 Years a Slave (2013)

Best Motion Picture – Drama

As the president of Plan B Entertainment, Dede Gardner ’90CC has produced a number of provocative Hollywood prestige films such as Moonlight, The Big Short and Selma. It was 12 Years a Slave, a historical drama directed by Steve McQueen, that won her producing team their first Golden Globe (and Oscar) for best picture.  

 

Still from Frozen
"Frozen." (IMDb / ©2013 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved)

Frozen (2013)

Best Animated Feature Film

This mega Disney hit, which was written and co-directed by Jennifer Lee ’05SOA, won the Golden Globe for best animated feature and spawned a sequel, several hit songs, a Broadway musical, and a very lucrative licensing business.

 

Mia Wasikowska, Lisa Cholodenko, and Julianne Moore on the set of The Kids are All Right
Lisa Cholodenko (center) on the set of "The Kids are All Right" with Mia Wasikowska and Julianne Moore. (IMDb / Suzanne Tenner - ©2010 Focus Features)

The Kids are All Right (2010)

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Actress

From writer-director Lisa Cholodenko ’97SOA, this comedy about a lesbian couple, their teenage children, and their former sperm donor was one of the first mainstream movies to deal with same-sex parents. It won a Golden Globe for best picture and landed Annette Bening an award for best actress.   

 

Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line
Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon in "Walk the Line." (IMDb)

Walk the Line (2005)

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Actress, Best Actor

A biopic of legendary singer-songwriters Johnny Cash and June Carter, this drama directed by James Mangold ’99SOA won a Golden Globe for best picture. Stars Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon were also named best actor and best actress.

 

Brian Dennehy in Death of a Salesman
Brian Dennehy '60CC (center) with Ron Eldard and Ted Koch in "Death of a Salesman," 2000. (Film Company/Showtime/Alamy)

Death of a Salesman (2000)

Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture for TV

This televised performance of the 1949 play by Arthur Miller starred Brian Dennehy ’60CC as the title salesman and led to a Golden Globe for his performance.

 

Still from Breaking Away (1979)
"Breaking Away." (IMDb)

Breaking Away (1979)

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

This coming-of-age sports film about four Indiana teenagers who get involved in bicycle racing, written by Steve Tesich ’67GSAS, was lauded by critics at the time of its release and won a Golden Globe for best picture.

 

Glenda Jackson and George Segal in A Touch of Class
Glenda Jackson and George Segal in "A Touch of Class." (Warner Bros, Inc.)

A Touch of Class (1973)

Best Actor, Best Actress

In a highlight of his sixty-year screen career, George Segal ’55CC, now a star of the ABC sitcom The Goldbergs, received a best-actor award for his performance in this 1973 rom-com. Glenda Jackson, the film’s other romantic lead, won best actress.

 

Chaim Topol in Fiddler on the Roof
Chaim Topol in "Fiddler on the Roof." (IMDb / ©1971 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc. All rights reserved)

Fiddler on the Roof (1971)

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Actor

Bronx native Joseph Stein ’39SW, a graduate of Columbia’s School of Social Work, worked as a psychiatric social worker for several years before he pivoted to a career in comedy and playwriting. His book for Fiddler on the Roof won him two Tonys, and the film adaptation — for which he wrote the screenplay — went on to earn a Golden Globe for best picture. Chaim Topol also won best actor for playing Tevye. 

 

Jack Lemmon in The Apartment
Jack Lemmon in "The Apartment." (IMDb / United Artists)

The Apartment (1960)

Best Motion Picture — Comedy, Best Actor, Best Actress

Viewed from the work-from-home era, The Apartment, written by Billy Wilder and I. A. L. Diamond ’41CC, is a bittersweet throwback to the world of bustling offices, cubicle farms, and crowded elevators. The film won the Golden Globe for best picture, and stars Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine were both recognized for their performances.  

 

Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in Some Like it Hot
Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in "Some Like It Hot." (IMDb / ©Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc. All rights reserved)

Some Like It Hot (1959)

Best Motion Picture — Comedy, Best Actor, Best Actress

Also co-written by I. A. L. Diamond ’41CC and also starring Jack Lemmon, this Billy Wilder classic set in the roaring twenties is about two male jazz musicians who disguise themselves in drag and join an all-women band. Lemmon won his first of four Golden Globes for acting, and Marilyn Monroe, who plays a sizzling vocalist, earned an award for best actress.

 

Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, and Vivian Blaine in Guys and Dolls
Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, and Vivian Blaine in "Guys and Dolls." (IMDB © Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Guys and Dolls (1955)

Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy, Best Actress

Adapted from the 1950 Broadway show of the same name, this musical film from Joseph L. Mankiewicz ’28CC, which stars Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra as underground gamblers, won a Golden Globe for best picture. Jean Simmons swept the award for best actress for playing Brando’s love interest, a Christian missionary.

 

Gary Merrill, Anne Baxter, and Bette Davis in "All About Eve"
Gary Merrill, Anne Baxter, and Bette Davis in "All About Eve." (IMDb / ©1950 Twentieth Century Fox)

All About Eve (1950)

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

Director, screenwriter, and producer Joseph L. Mankiewicz ’28CC (the younger brother of Herman Mankiewicz 1917CC, the subject of the 2021 Golden Globe-nominated film Mank) made a string of memorable movies during Hollywood’s Golden Age. All About Eve, one of his most celebrated, won the 1951 Golden Globe for best screenplay.