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Best and Worst Moments of the Golden Globe Awards
The Golden Globes is always a strange night. It’s always a broadcast in search of a tone and always a little less irreverent than it gives itself credit for being. Tonight, while Ricky Gervais behaved like there was still air to take out of an awards ceremony, he played it largely safe and let the winners take the real risks with daring speeches, bold statements, and sunglasses right out of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. It was predictable, it was not as long as it felt, and NBC didn’t do the thing where they change the lyrics of a popular song to reflect the night’s nominees, which is a real loss.
We must begin with Gervais’ monologue, delivered listlessly over the unmistakable sound of a live audience not paying attention. He carried a beer on stage. He joked about Netflix winning everything, after which Netflix went on to win one, about half as many as Hulu, a network that has set itself apart by being impossible to navigate. Gervais seemed to be delighted with himself for giving zero fucks, but surely there is an appropriate number of fucks to give at an occasion like this. Somewhere between “fewer than Tom Cruise at the Oscars after 9/11” and “more than the number that allows you to make the same joke about Judi Dench licking her privates in Cats that Rob Delaney made on Twitter two weeks ago.”
Let’s all meet each other back at some fucks, can we do that? Anyway, if you love cutaway shots of Amy Poehler, Glenn Close, and Keith Urban looking like they were receiving terrible news about a beloved pet, tonight’s show was for you. Also, real quick, Pierce Brosnan’s sons did the annual thing where a celebrity’s attractive children hand out the awards, and I’m pretty sure one of Pierce Brosnan’s sons is Clea DuVall.
Russell Crowe won Best Actor In A Limited Series or TV Movie for playing Roger Ailes in Showtime’s The Loudest Voice, so Fox News was going to hate this show from the jump, but good on Crowe for embracing it and connecting the wildfires in his native Australia to climate change. Sofia Vergara gave Best TV Drama to Succession, thusly: “Day Golden Globes goes to Suck Section,” and Cousin Greg stepped all over Shiv’s dress. Ramy Youssef won Best Actor in a Comedy, said “Allahu Akbar,” and admitted you haven’t seen Ramy. On a related note, The Hollywood Foreign Press Association sounds like a massive voting body, but it’s actually around 32 people named Murielle and Ulf who write for, like, Helsinki Today or The Literate Belgian. The Golden Globes are an inherently goofy awards show, and one way they could embrace the silly is to look backward: until 1983, they gave out a Best New Star award, and if it’s too late to give it to Timothée Chalamet two years ago, the least we can do is put it back in the show going forward. The last one went to Sandahl Bergman for her unforgettable work in Conan The Barbarian, and I bet she’d be a good sport and give it up. (Ana De Armas this year in a landslide, right?)
Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Kerry Washington made this year’s ceremony A Tribute To The Sternum. Sienna Miller celebrated eighteen unforgettable years of appearing on my television and making me go “Who is that?” Bong Joon-Ho told the home audience “Once you get over the one-inch barrier of subtitles, you’ll be introduced to so many great films.” The role of Tim Allen has apparently been taken over by Guy Fieri. Renee Zellweger won Best Actress for Judy and, in her speech, dipped into and out of a local repertory performance of Steel Magnolias. Ansel Elgort sang, and Chet Haze got more screen time than Olivia Colman.
Kate McKinnon gave a beautiful speech about queer representation on television, in particular the significance of Ellen DeGeneres, and Ellen DeGeneres expressed her gratitude by saying “I hate being asked to do things like this.” Gwyneth Paltrow continued her streak of looking like she’d rather be anywhere than where she is, but knowing how important her presence is to you. Amy Poehler and Taylor Swift presented Best Animated Film to Missing Link, and Swift threw back to her Reputation era by visibly not forgiving Poehler for that Golden Globes joke back in 2013. Tom Hanks cried and gave attention to Peter Scolari.
And then Quentin Tarantino won Best Screenplay for Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood, and, well, I wish Tumblr were still a thing so I could start one called Guys Who Have Aged Into Lady Elaine Fairchilde From Mister Rogers Neighborhood.
While Ricky Gervais expressed his who cares attitude by not caring, two big speeches put it into action by making risky and important statements. Best Actor Joaquin Phoenix said “Contrary to popular belief, I don’t want to rock the boat,” and while I am skeptical that anyone has any beliefs about Joaquin Phoenix, he went on to…well, I’m not exactly sure what he said because 80 percent of it was bleeped, but it seemed like he told rich people to take fewer private jets.
Michelle Williams, collecting Best Actress In A Limited Series for Fosse/Verdon, made it clear she has a career because she’s taken control of her reproductive health. Whether that was an admission to having had an abortion is unclear, but I’d bet my last dollar Fox & Friends will jump right to that conclusion. Either way, she urged “women 18 to 118 to vote for their own self-interest, because men have been doing it all along.” Good. The Breitbarts of the world are going to hate you no matter what you say, so you might as well say something useful.
Overall, if this is a preview of this year’s Oscars, get ready for a lot more Tarantino and Taron Egerton. But the Golden Globes are also a ceremony that gave Madonna the Best Actress award and named Pia Zadora its Best New Star, so who can say?
I know one thing: Ricky Gervais will not care. Congratulations, Mr. Gervais, and take your own advice: “Get drunk, take your drugs, and fuck off.”
Dave Holmes is Esquire’s Los Angeles-based Editor-at-Large.