Last night’s Golden Globe Awards broadcast was all about spreading the love, though to be fair, some well-deserving nominees left woefully empty-handed.
Take, for instance, “Up in the Air,” the Oscar-buzzed down-sizing adventure starring elder Lothario George Clooney. Nominated in the best movie drama, best actor in a movie drama, best movie director, and twice in the best supporting movie actress categories, the film won only one award for best screenplay, a consolation prize perhaps for director/writer Jason Reitman and co-writer Sheldon Turner.
And let’s not forget “Inglourious Basterds” director/writer Quentin Tarantino. The poor guy prepared different speeches for each of his nominations (best movie drama, best director, and best screenplay), only to lose all three categories and narrowly miss a shut-out. Christoph Waltz won the award for best supporting movie actor, saving Tarantino from the trifecta of humiliation.
Not that Tarantino wasn't in good company. Other movie shut-outs included “The Hurt Locker” (nominated for best movie drama, best director, and best screenplay), “Invictus” (nominated for best actor in a movie drama, best supporting movie actor, and best director), and “Nine” (nominated for best movie comedy or musical, best actor in a movie comedy or musical, best actress in a movie comedy or musical, best supporting movie actress, and original song).
TV counterparts in the loser department included FX’s “Damages” (nominated for best actress in a TV drama, best supporting TV actress, and best supporting TV actor), Fox’s “House” (nominated for best TV drama and best actor in a TV drama), and NBC’s “The Office” (nominated for best TV comedy or musical and best actor in a TV comedy or musical).
HBO walked away with mixed results, suffering shut-out losses for “True Blood” (nominated for best TV drama and best actress in a TV drama – also star Anna Paquin lost best actress in a mini-series or TV movie), “Entourage” (nominated for best TV comedy or musical and best supporting TV actor), and “Hung” (nominated for best actor in a TV comedy or musical and best supporting TV actress). On the bright side, the cable channel did well with made for TV movies, winning for “Grey Gardens” (best TV mini-series or movie and best actress in a TV mini-series or movie) and “Taking Chance” (best actor in a TV mini-series or movie). “Big Love,” its series based upon a polygamous family in the modern world, won the award for best supporting TV actress.
“I can’t believe he ripped my dress!” exclaimed Chloe Sevigny about the presenter who led her onstage to claim the award, though she may have been dramatizing a slight tug. The long golden train following her to the microphone came away pretty much unscathed.
No one film or TV show swept the awards. The closest was James Cameron who dominated the stage while accepting best movie drama and best director awards for his work on “Avatar.”
“Thank you for believing in blue people,” Cameron said, addressing the Hollywood Foreign Press. He then admonished the orchestra not to play him off the stage, saying, “If you start the music, it’s going to be an ugly scene.” I don't think he was joking. “They’re afraid to play me off,” Cameron boasted and continued to ramble on about “the best job in the world.” He then asked the audience to “give it up for yourselves.”
Oh brother. Based on the way he was going on you’d think the room was filled with Nobel Prize laureates. Did he really think in this economy people want to cheer for a bunch of movie and TV stars earning millions of dollars?
I don’t know which surprised me more: Cameron remembering to thank wife Suzy Amis at the end of his painfully long acceptance speech or the fact that he was still married to her after toiling away on "Avatar" (you may remember he famously dumped wife Linda Hamilton for Suzy after his spectacular Oscar sweep for “Titanic”).
In contrast, I was very touched when Baltimore’s own Mo’Nique won the award for best supporting movie actress, a nod to for her riveting performance in “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire." She lingered in a long smooch with husband Sidney, then took the stage and immediately thanked God. Mo'Nique not only mentioned director Lee Daniels and co-star Gabby Sidibe, but also lavished amazingly kind praise.
Robert Downey, Jr., winner of best actor in a movie comedy or musical, also nailed “humble” in an amusing “no thank you” acceptance speech. Downey claimed wife Susan told him not to prepare one because Matt Damon was a shoe-in. By the way he rambled off names not to thank, I almost believed him.
Ricky Gervais may have embarrassed the network, but did an excellent job as MC, moving the show along at a steady clip. He began by attacking the originality of Steve Carrell, star of “The Office,” a knock-off of Gervais’ BBC creation (“I will kill you,” mouthed Carrell in response to the chiding), and continued by taking swipes at Sir Paul McCartney (he flew coach because he lost a lot of money last year, a reference to his costly divorce), Kiefer Sutherland (he beats actors to a pulp in scenes that aren’t even scripted) and “the very clean” Halle Berry. The latter was perhaps more a dig at Senator Harry Reid than Berry, since Gervais was referring to Berry’s superpower characters. As catwoman, she has the power to “wash herself all over.”
Again, oh brother!
Gervais also talked about his “very tiny” package and referred to his small hands (which he wished were holding his tiny package). Despite uncomfortable murmurs, he didn’t seem to have a care, saying, “I’m not going to be asked to do this again any way.” In a line that may be remembered as great comic form, Gervais transitioned to the first award, saying, “Let’s get on with it before NBC replaces me with Jay Leno.”
At one point, the camera caught someone looking like Steven Spielberg sporting the biggest furriest mound of facial hair I have ever seen. If so, Spielberg looked more like a graying Santa Claus than a celebrated movie director.
Other funny moments included Sir Paul’s introduction for best animated feature film. “I have loved animation since I was a kid,” the ex-Beatle said. “Animation is not just for children. It is also for adults who take drugs.” And actress Julia Roberts opened her presentation for best movie drama by saying, “If you want attention, sit next to Paul McCartney. I’ve never had so many texts in all my life.”
The Globes were not without some comic flubs. Felicity Hoffman looked dazzling but botched her presentation. “This was not at all how it was going to go,” she deadpanned. Perhaps she was having her Mariah Carey moment. “I, like Ricky Gervais, will not be asked to do this again,” she surmised.
Paying tribute to a special lady in her acceptance speech for best actress in a movie comedy or musical, Meryl Streep referenced her mother, saying she – unlike herself- had no patience for gloom and doom. The supposedly impromptu accolade received one of the biggest laughs of the evening.
Finally, Drew Barrymore drew a surprise win against co-star Jessica Lange for her performance in “Grey Gardens.” Saying she has known the Hollywood Foreign press for “like, 97 years” and has “been in this room [in the Beverly Hilton] since I was seven-years old,” Barrymore appeared at a loss for words. She repeatedly thanked director Michael Sucsy for taking a chance on her and confirmed she is “not very good at this.” Eventually, the music almost played her off which I think may have come as welcome relief.
“I loved it. So good,” mouthed Jennifer Aniston as George Clooney poured himself another glass of bubbly.
Gervais closed the show with a line from an old SNL sketch featuring the venerable Steve Martin. “If I could have one wish it would be peace on earth," then quickly said, "No, let me change that. Watch the Rocky Gervais Show starting February the 19th.”
In light of last night's performance, I may do just that.