The 2020 Golden Globes awards wasn’t just a fairly entertaining shebang, it was two shows in one. For the most part, the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards on NBC was a better-than-average awards show, with surprise winners, humorous touches and some heartfelt speeches.
But then there was that other show, the one with Ricky Gervais as the supposed host of the festivities. Back in 2010, when he first hosted the Golden Globes, Gervais was a breath of fresh air, thanks to irreverent jokes about the rich and famous. But the novelty wore off with subsequent hosting gigs, and in this, his fifth time doing the dishonors, Gervais kept insisting that he didn’t care about offending people, because this was his last time doing it (he’s said that before, by the way).
Instead of delivering a bracing dose of rude humor, Gervais instead came off like the guy sitting at the back of the auditorium who’s had one too many, and keeps yelling out unfunny, sarcastic remarks. When the show ended — at a bit past its scheduled three-hour running time — Gervais told everyone to (bleep) off, and the feeling by then was likely mutual.
Beyond that, there were some definite highlights and lowlights. Here’s a list of notable moments:
Politics made a late appearance: The big TV awards show audience has proven irresistible to stars and others who want to speak out about political or social issues. But during his monologue, Gervais took aim at that ritual.
“If you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a political platform to make a political speech. You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything, you know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. So, if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent and your God and (bleep) off. OK?”
Surprise winner Ramy Youssef, who took home a Globe for best actor in a TV comedy for “Ramy,” his Hulu series about, as he said, an Arab Muslim family living in New Jersey, took Gervais’ advice, which led to an early highlight.
“I would like to thank my God,” Youssef said. “Allahu akbar. Thank you, God.”
As the night wore on, the devastating fires in Australia and the need to recognize the dangers of climate change were mentioned by several celebrities. But it wasn’t until Patricia Arquette, who won a best supporting actress trophy for her role in the Hulu series, “The Act,” that a winner made reference to the current turmoil, as she cautioned against, as she said, a country on the brink of war, a president tweeting about targeting cultural sites and other obvious references to the unrest between Iran and the United States. Arquette encouraged people to vote in 2020, in the interests of a better world.
Michelle Williams, who has established a record for making eloquent speeches at awards shows, took home another trophy for her role in FX’s miniseries, “Fosse/Verdon.” She used her time on stage at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles to make the case for allowing women to choose when to have children, and who to have them with. Williams also encouraged women, in particular, to vote, as a matter of self-interest, adding that men have been doing that for years.
We’re getting choked up: No matter how foolish Gervais seems to find awards shows, stars still get emotional when they’re recognized or when they have a chance to honor those they admire. Kate McKinnon, of “Saturday Night Live,” held back tears as she talked about how seeing Ellen DeGeneres on TV helped her overcome her fears about coming out as gay.
DeGeneres, who received the Carol Burnett Award for excellence in television, was in wonderful form. She made fun of overlong award speeches by jokingly talking about when she was born, then pivoted to thanking her imaginary husband and children, than paid tribute to the power of television.
Tom Hanks continued the more tearful speech trend, as he accepted the Cecil B. DeMille award for lifetime achievement. Hanks started his remarks by noting that the tribute montage included some less-than-memorable roles, including his guest spot on “The Love Boat.”
Then Hanks said he was suffering from a bad cold, and had been chugging “a savagely orange drink” (DayQuil?) which left him a little “jittery.” He got choked up talking about his family, and what their love meant to him, then earnestly talked about acting, and how important it is to get the fundamentals right (i.e, showing up on time).
Olivia Colman enjoys awards shows: After being seen on camera happily reacting to yet another batch of wins by “Fleabag” (Colman is a member of the cast), Colman won a Golden Globe for her role as Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix’s “The Crown.”
“I’d already got a little bit boozy, because I thought this wasn’t going to happen,” she said, adding, “and ‘Fleabag’ – yay!”
An Oregon connection to the night’s biggest upset: The night had plenty of upset wins, but perhaps the biggest shocker was “Missing Link” winning best animated motion picture. The feature from Hillsboro’s Laika Studios won appreciative reviews, but was a box-office flop. Nevertheless, the animated feature about a Sasquatch-like creature triumphed over such favorites as “Frozen 2,” “Toy Story 4,” “The Lion King,” and “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.”
Chris Butler, writer and director, was just as amazed as everyone else. “I’m flabbergasted,” he said, and went on to than the 450 people who worked on the film, and Travis Knight, Laika’s president and CEO.
That’s a wrap: After some star power – Brad Pitt winning best supporting actor in a movie for Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” – and more weird speeches, thanks to Joaquin Phoenix (best movie drama actor for “Joker”) and Renee Zellweger (best movie drama actress for “Judy”), the show closed with another surprise, as the World War I drama “1917” won.
Gervais then came back onstage, exuding I’m-done-with-this boredom. “That’s it,” Gervais said, asking the audience to “Please donate to Australia,” and wrapping it up with, “(Bleep) off.”
Let’s hope Gervais means it this time when he says he’s done hosting.
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