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Wine Film Awarded Best Comedy at Golden Globes

After also earning Best Screenplay, Sideways looks toward the Oscars

Nick Fauchald
Posted: January 17, 2005

The cast and crew of Sideways can uncork some celebratory bubbly after last night's Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, where the bittersweet tale of two coming-of-middle-age buddies and their wine-tasting trip through Santa Barbara County was named the year's best comedy.

Of its seven Golden Globe nominations--the most for any movie at this year's awards--Sideways took home Best Picture (Comedy or Musical) and Best Screenplay. These two awards are the latest in a wave of critical acclaim for the film. Critics groups in cities and states across North America--including Boston, Chicago, Florida, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Toronto--have already named Sideways the year's best picture.

The film's stars--Paul Giamatti (Miles), Thomas Haden Church (Jack) and Virginia Madsen (Maya)--have also received critics' awards for their work, as has Alexander Payne for his direction and screenplay, which he and Jim Taylor adapted from Rex Pickett's novel of the same name.

With the Oscar nominations coming later this month, Sideways is considered a lock for several nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director (Payne), Best Actor (Giamatti) and Best Supporting Actress (Madsen).

In their acceptance speech for the Best Screenplay Golden Globe, Payne and Taylor thanked the movie's stars for "servicing our screenplay so beautifully." When accepting the film's Best Picture award, producer Michael London credited the cast and its "champion" director for its achievements.

When he spoke with Wine Spectator on the Friday before the awards, Payne was humbly excited about the film's success. "It's fantastic and it's puzzling," Payne said. "I just make the films and never have any idea how people will receive them. This is far more than I expected."

Payne thanked the movie's far-reaching appeal to good timing and hopes that its success will encourage other directors to take on similar projects in an environment that favors high-octane action flicks. "I really hope it's going to empower other filmmakers and film financiers to make more human films, films where the mirror is held fairly close to human experience," he said.

Payne is also pleased that Sideways, a paean to Pinot Noir, has introduced more people to wine. "I'm happy that people are enjoying wine more," he said. "I think it's such a wonderful part of life."

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