January 6, 2020


The most important aspects of an awards show that make it a success as TV event are the host (if any) and the attendees. This year, both aspects of the Golden Globe Awards seemed so promising, on paper. Controversial but hugely entertaining Ricky Gervais was going to return as host after a significant number of years, and the names among the nominees in film and television guaranteed a dazzling, star-studded turnout.

Among the nominees were Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Renée Zellweger, Charlize Theron, Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lopez, Margot Robbie, Daniel Craig, and legends Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Tom Hanks—all of whom were there. Many of them even presented awards, but each presentation was duller than the one before it. There was little to no humor, and perhaps to save on time, most of them were simply an announcement of the nominees and winners.

Among The Better Presentations...
  • Charlize Theron presenting the Cecil B. DeMille award to Tom Hanks: It was sweet, anecdotal, with a dash of nostalgia, the right amount of humor and it ended before it might have begun to drag along.

  • Kate McKinnon presenting the Carol Burnett award to Ellen DeGeneres: Again, it was endearing and uplifting, and it drove home a strong social message, even if it might have seemed a little reductive. It was received well anyway, and it still brought a smile to my face.
  • Will Ferrell and Pierce Brosnan: Now I’m not the biggest fan of Will Ferrell, but when he took the stage with the (even now) very handsome Pierce Brosnan, it was funny to see the mock attraction and swooning.
  • The presentations of the best picture nominees: All of them were to the point and still relevant, with a personal touch wherever it was possible. And they’re always nice to see, especially if you haven’t seen the films (and oftentimes even the trailers), which is quite likely this early into awards season.
  • Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon's presentation: They started with a 'good morning', which I believe was a little joke about THE MORNING SHOW, which was funny, even if it might have got lost a little.
Ricky Gervais Really Pushed It
The presentation by the host, however, was far from entertaining, and barely incited a smile now and then. Now we all knew that Ricky Gervais is edgy and doesn’t think twice about stepping on toes, or going too far with a bit. And since he had made it a big deal that this was going to be his last time hosting the show, it was quite expected that he wouldn’t hold back. And he didn’t, which was okay for the most part. It was his joke about Felicity Huffman having made the license plate of the limousine he’d arrived in that didn’t even get a favorable reaction from the audience. And then there was bit about Birdbox being about people who survive by pretending they see nothing—just like everyone (pointing at the audience) who worked for Harvey Weinstein. It wasn’t the joke itself in this case, it was how he responded to the audience’s reaction—taking an accusatory tone towards them, while keeping himself on a high horse.

More than anything, it was his general attitude towards the audience, towards Hollywood and towards the show itself. He said something about how the audience wasn’t qualified to make political statements since they’d most likely get on board with any streaming service, even if it was one started by ISIS. He added in a very condescending tone: “If you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent and your god, and fuck off.” Now there’s nothing wrong with profanity. I’m not a prude. And there’s nothing wrong with a little harmless humor at someone’s expense, but this time his humor seemed far from light-hearted or from being without malice. And he even made it pretty clear that he genuinely did think that the whole awards show was bullshit. Anyway, it’s good that he didn’t get more stage time than he did, even if I think that it might have been better if they’d used his stage time to make for better presentations across the show. I just hope the HFPA don’t try to bring him back, and actually let this have been his last.  

Very Unpredictable, But Unsurprising Winners
The Globes can be very unpredictable. Even this year there were some results that people weren’t quite expecting, such as 1917 taking home the top motion picture prizes, or a few of the TV winners whom very few expected to win. Yet, most of the winners seemed deserving. For instance, Jennifer Aniston not winning TV actress—drama was unexpected, but it wasn’t a shock to see Olivia Colman win for her terrific performance. Nor was it a surprise to see Brian Cox win lead actor—drama, or Stellan Skarsgård win supporting actor—TV, even if they might not have been considered as frontrunners.

I’ll admit, it’s disappointing when predictions don’t come true. I get a thrill when I’m right. But it’s also a relief in a way when things aren’t as predictable as you might expect them to be. So in that sense, the Globes didn’t disappoint. I just hope I have better things to say about the upcoming awards of the season.

Other noteworthy highlights

  • Brad Pitt's acceptance speech, while accepting his supporting actor—film award, was quite funny, especially his little shout-out to his Once Upon A Time...In Hollywood co-star 'LDC' (Leonardo DiCaprio), and the Titanic joke. "I would've shared the raft!" he said.

  • Olivia Colman's reaction to Phoebe Waller-Bridge winning for FLEABAG was endearing, and then her shout-out to her fellow-Brit (and FLEABAG costar) when she won for THE CROWN. It was sweet to see that.

  • It was good to see Patricia Arquette making a plea to America to go vote, after being the only one to comment on the recent attack in Baghdad.
  • I'm glad that the tragic bush-fires in Australia were acknowledged by people like Joaquin Phoenix. Climate change needs to be a part of every conversation. 

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