The next Cecil B. DeMille Award recipient will be announced by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. on Nov. 9. It has been 12 years since a woman was honored (Barbra Streisand, 1999) and three decades since an African-American was feted (Sidney Poitier, 1981).
The past 10 consecutive winners of this award have all been white men who are actors and/or directors: Robert De Niro (2010), Martin Scorsese (2009), Steven Spielberg (2008), Warren Beatty (2006), Anthony Hopkins (2005), Robin Williams (2004), Michael Douglas (2003), Gene Hackman (2002), Harrison Ford (2001), and Al Pacino (2000). No award was given in 2007 due to the actors’ strike.
Among African-Americans, the most likely contender is Denzel Washington, who won two of his six Globe bids. He has “Safe House” opening in theatres on Feb. 10 and the attention from this kudo would tie in nicely.
Of the other African-Americans who could be honored, there are some sticking points. Morgan Freeman (one win; five nods) just received the American Film Institute life achievement award in June, so it is probably too soon for another big tribute. Samuel L. Jackson (no wins; four nods) will still be on Broadway in “The Mountaintop” and couldn’t attend. Bill Cosby (three wins; six nods) would be an excellent choice, but the HFPA almost always choose someone known more for their film career rather than television. Eddie Murphy (one win; five nods) is hosting the Academy Awards the following month, so that could take him out of the running. Whoopi Goldberg, the most recent EGOT champ, won two of her three Globe races and would certainly merit consideration. While she is known more in recent years for her work on television with the daytime talker “The View,” her film career has been impressive.
The two women with the best chance are Julie Andrews and Angela Lansbury. Andrews has already won three Globes in a half-century career filled with 10 nominations. Lansbury has had great success in films, television, and theatre, but most of her best films are from the earliest part of her career. She has had six Globe wins from her 15 nominations.
Other women that might be selected are: Carol Burnett (five wins; 16 nods), Cher (three wins; six nods), Faye Dunaway (three wins; 11 nods), Sally Field (two wins; 10 nods), Jane Fonda (four wins; 11 nods), Goldie Hawn (one win; nine nods), Diane Keaton (two wins; nine nods), Helen Mirren (three wins; 10 nods), and Shirley Temple (no nods).
The HFPA committee rarely chooses someone that has a good shot at a nomination the same year (the last time was Sophia Loren in 1994), so that probably rules out Glenn Close (two wins; 10 nods), Meryl Streep (seven wins; 25 nods), and Maggie Smith (two wins; eight nods). Likewise, Tom Hanks will be selected at some point, but having both “Larry Crowne” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” in contention this year probably takes him out of the running.
If another white man is chosen this year, the smart money would be on Michael Caine, who has won three of his dozen Globe races. Other men that might be honored include: Jeff Bridges (two wins; four nods), Francis Ford Coppola (four wins; 15 nods), Billy Crystal (no wins; 3 nods), Robert Duvall (four wins; six nods), Ron Howard (two wins; eight nods), George Lucas (no wins; four nods), Steve Martin (no wins; five nods), Mike Nichols (one win; six nods), Peter O’Toole (four wins; 11 nods), and John Travolta (one win; six nods).
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