For an awards ceremony so thematically on song with the concept of speaking your mind and being yourself, The Golden Globes certainly likes to cut off its winners mid-speech. Yes, we know that it’s a long show, and that the producers have to keep things moving, but it’s a bit difficult to absorb messages about inclusivity, respect, and acceptance during an awards show that doesn’t even appear to have any respect for the people that it’s awarding.
In amongst all the glitz, glamour, humour, heartfelt talk, and strident speechifying, the most lingering image from the show remains screenwriters, Bryan Hayes Currie and Peter Farrelly, standing there dumbfounded, with palms raised, after being denied the opportunity to say one single word after winning the prize for Best Screenplay for Green Book. The music came up, and the camera quickly zoomed away to an audience shot, leaving the pair eating televisual dust. Sure, their co-writer, Nicky Vallelonga, had already made a wonderfully moving and emotional speech, but the snubbing that they copped – along with a number of other rudely interrupted winners – was a true embarrassment. The Golden Globes usually get a lot right, but this is a major slip-up.
The Golden Globes have also made a rod for their own back when it comes to their choice of hosts. After their double-shot genius move of tapping first Ricky Gervais and then Amy Poehler and Tina Fey to host, anyone else is inevitably going to come up short. So while the choice of Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg certainly scored a big tick in the diversity department (if you can really class Jewish folk as a minority group in Hollywood), they were a little tepid in the laughs stakes, though they certainly signposted their lack of comedic bite when they toasted, rather than roasted, the evening’s nominees in their opening monologue. “We’re the only two people left in Hollywood who haven’t gotten in trouble for saying something offensive,” they tellingly said.
That’s not to say that the pair didn’t deliver a few thigh-slappers. “Break out the tissues,” said Sandra Oh by way of introducing the stars of the tear-jerking TV series, This Is Us, “because you’re going to want to masturbate to all of them!” The response was even better, with stars Justin Hartley and Chrissy Metz agreeing that it was “the nicest thing anyone has ever said about us.” That was about as raunchy as it got, though Patricia Arquette did drop a very funny F-bomb when accepting her Best Actress TV Drama award for Escape At Dannemora. Thanking her make-up artist for so effectively dressing her down for the role, the actress said, “How many fucked up teeth does a person need? I was born with fucked up teeth!”
It was hilariously off-the-cuff, though Steve Carell’s introduction of famously nice, much loved TV great, Carol Burnett, to accept the inaugural Carol Burnett Award, was equally amusing. “It’s been said that she makes Tom Hanks look like an asshole,” he quipped. The aforementioned Amy Poehler and her former Saturday Night Live co-star, Maya Rudolph, meanwhile, were the funniest presenters of the night (Rudolph’s fake marriage proposal to Poehler was a piss-funny swipe at awards show spotlight stealers), and might just hit the radar of Golden Globes producers as a potential future hosting duo. Kidding star, Jim Carrey’s amusing bit about being forced to move from the “film” section to the “television” area marked the funny man as another (possibly dangerous, and thus brilliant) future hosting choice.
Speaking of assholes, there very surprisingly were no jokes made at the expense of US President and border patrol enthusiast, Donald J. Trump, even though the Mexican masterpiece, Roma, scored the Best Foreign Language Film award, and its creator, Alfonso Cuaron, was a surprise winner in the Best Director category. Perhaps appropriately, there was a lot more talk about building bridges than building walls. That other big-time asshole, Harvey Weinstein, also went unmentioned…he’s hopefully now dead in Hollywood, and may he burn in metaphorical hell too.
Best Actor (Musical Or Comedy) winner, Christian Bale, did provide a few lovely knife thrusts though when accepting the gong for his chameleonic work in Vice. Speaking in his rarely heard Welsh-British accent (even referring to his colleagues as geezers), Bale was very funny, asking his wife to remind him who he’d forgotten to thank, and even tipping his hat to The Big Guy Downstairs, thanking “Satan, for giving me inspiration.”
The speeches were the usual mix of heartfelt warmth (Bohemian Rhapsody star and Best Actor Drama winner, Rami Malek, continued to prove what a seeming sweetheart he is), pithy humour (The Favourite star and Best Actress Comedy Or Musical winner, Olivia Coleman, was very, very funny), activism (If Beale Could Talk Best Supporting Actress winner, Regina King, decreed to have 50% female representation on any future project that she produces, and surprise The Wife Best Actress Drama winner, Glenn Close, got a few gender-based licks in), and stylish cool (the reserved and very classy Green Book Best Actor Comedy Or Musical winner, Mahershala Ali, oozed pure charisma). The big snub of the show, of course, was the wonderful A Star Is Born, which picked up just one award for Best Song, leaving the supremely gifted Bradley Cooper out in the cold, which was only made more glaringly obvious by his front row seat and eye-catching plantation-owner style white suit.
And accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for being, well, an absolute fucking legend of the absolute first fucking order, Jeff Bridges was exactly as you would hope and expect him to be, delivering a wonderfully rambling speech that took in everything from Michael Cimino and The Coen Brothers to deep-thinking philosophy and nautical engineering. The package of clips (ingeniously introduced and narrated by Sam Elliott in a wonderful reprise of his character, The Stranger, from The Big Lebowski) that preceded the speech was equally edifying, serving as a brilliant reminder of how, well, brilliant that Jeff Bridges was and still is. “We’re alive! Right here, right now! This is happening,” The Dude intoned, and The Golden Globes did indeed feel like a bit of a group hug. But these are nasty times, and sometimes that’s not such a bad thing…maybe next year that group hug could be extended to include all of the award winners, instead of rudely playing them off the stage.