The Oscars race just got a lot more interesting.
The 76th annual Golden Globes named “Bohemian Rhapsody” as best drama, knocking “A Star Is Born” from its perch as the Academy’s front-runner.
Glenn Close, who has six Oscar nominations but no wins, bolstered her chances to finally receive her craft’s biggest honor, as the small but influential Hollywood Foreign Press Association chose her performance in the under-the-radar indie “The Wife.” Oddsmakers had favored “Born” star Lady Gaga, who did share an award for best song.
Clearly emotional, Close made good use of her upset win, giving a rousing acceptance speech that spoke to the #MeToo movement for women to have a greater voice in cinema. “We have to say I can do that and I should be allowed to do that,” she said, prompting the crowd at the Beverly Hilton to rise to its feet.
Her words will certainly ring in the minds of Academy Award voters as they begin casting their ballots Monday.
Rami Malek’s best-actor win for playing Queen frontman Freddy Mercury in “Rhapsody” was less of a surprise, but his film was not considered a serious Oscar contender for best picture — until now. Rotten Tomatoes, the website that tracks movie critics’ reviews, has given the biopic a 62 percent approval rating; “Star Is Born” is at 90 percent.
Co-host Sandra Oh telegraphed early on that it could be a night to celebrate change, acknowledging the runaway success of “Black Panther” and “Crazy Rich Asians.”
But she made her biggest statement by winning the award for best actress in a drama, one of the highlights of a three-hour bash that celebrated diversity throughout. Oh’s recognition for the BBC America series “Killing Eve” was made all the more poignant by the presence of her Korean immigrant parents. Her dad jumped to his feet and beamed at all the superstars around him.
“Oh, Daddy!” the actress said, bowing to them after her acceptance speech.
Other actors of color who took home awards included Regina King for the film “If Beale Street Could Talk.” She vowed to have women fill 50 percent of the jobs on projects she produces.
Darren Criss, a winner for his part in FX’s “American Crime Story: Assassination of Gianni Versace,” dedicated his award to his “firecracker” Filipino mom, saying he was honored to be a teeny-tiny part of a “marvelous year for representations in Hollywood.” The project, partially set in Minnesota, was also named best miniseries or TV film.
Mexican writer/director Alfonso Cuarón won two awards for “Roma,” which celebrates the life of a live-in housekeeper for a middle-class family in Mexico City.
“Cinema at its best tears down walls and builds bridges to other cultures,” said Cuarón, whose film is likely to be an Oscar favorite, along with “A “Star Is Born,” best-comedy winner “Green Book” and —suddenly — “Rhapsody.”
“Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” a blockbuster that reimagines the webslinger as Puerto Rican and black, was named best animated feature.
Mahershala Ali solidified his status as front-runner for a supporting actor Oscar by winning for “Green Book,” a feel-good road movie about a black pianist and his white driver who bond over music and fried chicken while touring the Deep South in the 1960s.
Also bettering his Oscar odds was Christian Bale. Not only did he win for playing Dick Cheney in “Vice,” but he gave the kind of acceptance speech that liberal voters may love to see repeated on an bigger stage.
“Thanks to Satan for giving me the inspiration to play this role,” he said, offering to continue his streak of playing “charisma-free” jerks by tackling the part of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
It was a rare political moment in a night that barely mentioned President You-Know-Who. The Globes are always more about free-flowing booze and welcoming new members to the club, a tradition that continued in unexpected ways.
The FX series “The Americans,” which recently wrapped up its sixth and final season, got the ultimate send-off gift, winning best drama. It had never even been nominated in that category.
TV has always taken a back seat at the Globes, something acknowledged when Oh and cohost Andy Samberg forced Jim Carrey, currently starring in Showtime’s “Kidding,” to move from the film section to the TV tables in back.
Despite having second-tier status, Michael Douglas seemed thrilled to be honored for the Netflix sitcom “The Kominsky Method,” the best thing to happen to senior citizens since the early-bird special. It won best comedy for its first season — not a surprise since the Globes avoid repeat winners. Rachel Brosnahan’s best-actress award for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” was the night’s only exception.
Some veterans knew it would be their big night. The first Carol Burnett Award, an award for lifetime achievement in TV, went to — Burnett. “Does this mean I get to accept this every year?” she said.
Upon receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award, Jeff Bridges gave a rambling, far-out sermon, but was fairly coherent when he gave a shout-out to Minnesota’s Coen brothers, thanking them for casting him in “The Big Lebowski.”
“If I’m lucky, I’ll be associated with the Dude for the rest of my life,” he said.
Dick Van Dyke wasn’t formally honored, but the 93-year-old actor got a standing ovation when he came out with Emily Blunt to introduce a clip of their Globe-nominated film “Mary Poppins Returns.”
The party atmosphere may explain why several celebrities — including presenter Steve Carell and best-actress winner Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”) — had comments bleeped.
Samberg and Oh kept it clean and avoided the kind of edgy humor that Seth Meyers and Ricky Gervais applied during their times as hosts. Their most “outrageous” moment came when they offered audience members free flu shots.
“If you’re an anti-vaxxer, just put a napkin over your head and we’ll skip you,” Samberg said.