Rob Sheffield on the snoozy show’s highlights (Bridges’ Dudely speech, Chalamet’s sparkly vest, Poehler and Rudolph) and its biggest letdown: not enough Gaga
Remember the scene in A Star Is Born where Lady Gaga is onstage at the Grammys and Bradley Cooper collapses in a boozy stupor and she tells the audience how much fun they’re having? The 2019 Golden Globes made that moment last over three hours. That’s the point — this is always the tackiest, messiest, ditziest and drunkest of award shows. Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg were on their best behavior as hosts, keeping it positive with banter that sparkled like Timothée Chalamet’s sequins. But it was still a night full of bleeped profanity and tipsy Hollywood stars. When Jeff Bridges got onstage for a zany rant about geodesic domes, he looked right at home.
Lady Gaga showed up definitely ready to make a speech — she was raring to go on the red carpet. “I discovered something while working on this film and it’s something called ‘alchemy,’” she confided to Ryan Seacrest. “I learned a lot about going into the nectar of your being.”
But tragically, we didn’t get deep enough into the nectar of Gaga’s being, because she didn’t get the big moment she deserved. The whole night felt like a build-up to Gaga winning Best Actress — until Glenn Close won in a surprise upset. Gaga’s only win was for “Shallow,” and the moment went wrong when Mark Ronson elbowed her off the mic. (He probably assumed, like everyone else, she’d make her speech later for Best Actress.) But she had to elbow her way back in to say, “As a woman in music, it is really hard to be taken seriously as a musician and a songwriter…” Then the orchestra played her off while she was talking. A bad look, on every possible level. Maybe it’s time to let those old ways die.
Gaga and Cooper co-presented early in the night, with the Coop in a daringly white tux that managed to stay white. (His date Irina Shayk had the most flamboyantly bored face in the house — in the front row, no less.) As hosts, Oh and Samberg had real comic chemistry, like when she introduced the cast of the NBC weeper This Is Us: “Break out the tissues! Because you’re going to want to masturbate to all of them!” Oh also made a moving speech after winning for Killing Eve, thanking her parents in Korean.
Bohemian Rhapsody was one of the night’s big winners, which proves nobody really cares if you make a movie where Queen writes “We Will Rock You” three years after it came out. Rami Malek saluted the Queen members at his table, Brian May and Roger Taylor. Not mentioned all night: John Deacon, who wrote “Another One Bites the Dust.” (Or, for that matter, Chic, who wrote it when it was called “Good Times.”) Also not mentioned: director Bryan Singer. But Malek’s touching speech dedicated his award to Freddie Mercury: “I love you, you beautiful man. This is for and because of you, gorgeous.”
Somehow Cher didn’t get nominated for anything all night. (For shame!) But Timothée Chalamet paid tribute to Cher and Bob Mackie in a bedazzled harness with a dangling strap — he looked like a magician’s assistant who just escaped the sex dungeon where he’d been imprisoned since the first Interpol album. It was awesome.
Carol Burnett and Dick Van Dyke made it a huge night for the over-85 crew. Burnett gave off more charisma and energy than anyone else in the room, signing off with her trademark ear-tug gesture — a coded farewell to her late grandmother. Steve Carell gave a fond tribute: “She makes Tom Hanks look like an asshole.” Plus a montage of her career — all they left out was her role in inspiring the classic Onion headline, “Man With Complete Mama’s Family Video Library Never Going on eBay Drunk Again.” She got a shout-out later in the show from Van Dyke, still dripping hard at 93.
Jeff Bridges won a lifetime achievement award and surprised nobody by making a Dude-itudinally spaced speech using boat metaphors from Buckminster Fuller. “We’re all alive, right here, right now! This is happening! We’re alive!” He devoted much of his speech to Heaven’s Gate, while his career montage was curiously fixated on Against All Odds, his Eighties remake of Out of the Past with thorn bird Rachel Ward. (Most famous for that Phil Collins theme song.) Jeff wore his dad Lloyd Bridges’ cuff links, a tribute as apt as Oh introducing her parents or Darren Criss saluting his “firecracker Filipino woman” mom.
Taylor Swift was one of the night’s stellar surprises — she’s been staying the hell away from award galas in recent years, a shrewd strategic move. But she swept onstage on the arm of Idris Elba, her Cats co-star. She also shared a hug with Gaga after handing her the “Shallow” award — yet another moment in their strangely intertwined stories. (“Shallow” sounds like old-school Taylor the way “Look What You Made Me Do” sounds like old-school Gaga.) Christian Bale weirded everyone out with his real accent, after he won for embodying Dick Cheney in Vice: “Thank you, Satan, for giving me inspiration on how to play this role.” He also thanked his evidently long-suffering wife, along with their kids Banana and Burrito. (The new Morroccan and Monroe?)
Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler brought down the house, especially when Maya asked for Amy’s hand in marriage — a flashback to how Poehler and Tina Fey used to rule this show every year. Olivia Colman won for The Favourite, calling Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone “my bitches.” (Also, a rare chance to hear an actual English person say “cor blimey” unironically.) There were gracious speeches from Mahershala Ali, Regina King, Patricia Arquette and Ben Whishaw. Alfonso Cuarón won the Jaqueline Bisset Memorial Award for the most leisurely stroll to the stage, meandering through a crowd delighted to applaud Roma. Chris Pine still seems determined to die on Serious Leonardo Beard Hill. It was a relief to watch an award show where Kevin Hart didn’t harass any female co-presenters. (Bonus points: no “DJ Khaled shouting his name” interlude.) Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones showed why there weren’t too many 20th-anniversary thinkpieces about The Mask of Zorro.
Chuck Lorre seemed to have a lock on the award for the night’s most mind-blowingly pompous speech, after he won for something called The Kominsky Method. That is, until Green Book won Best Drama (that really happened — oh yes, it did) and Peter Farrelly asked Chuck to hold his beer. Hey, who doesn’t love to get lectured about tolerance and diversity by the auteur behind Shallow Hal?
The E! red carpet pre-show was the usual shambles — as Dick Van Dyke put it, “This is a nuthouse.” (He added, “I’ve never seen so much security. I’ve been wanded and groped about five times.” Hands off Dick, goons.) E! made the experience extra special for Henry Winkler (nominated for the HBO series Barry) by showing him a surprise congratulations video from Ron Howard, Anson Williams and Donny “Ralph Malph” Most. Up in TV heaven, Penny Marshall must have been smiling.
Three years ago, Lady Gaga won a Golden Globe for her acting and nobody even remembered the next day, for the understandable reason that David Bowie died overnight. (Gaga got her revenge at the Oscars, doing a Bowie “tribute” that bulldozed his hits with an irreverence he would have admired.) Everybody figured tonight would be her night. So it felt weird when Glenn Close won Best Actress instead — it seemed to feel weird even to Close. Nobody on earth could begrudge Close, who rose to the occasion with a righteous “follow your dreams” speech. But really, this was a show that could have used more of Gaga’s nectar.
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