Golden Globes 2019: 20 Best, Worst and Most WTF Moments - Rolling Stone
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Golden Globes 2019: 20 Best, Worst and Most WTF Moments

From the born-to-be-mild opening and memorable speeches to some truly confusing wins — these were the moments that made us cheer, jeer and go, “Wait, what?!”

76th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: (l-r) Andy Samberg, Sandra Oh at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

Andy Samberg, Sandra Oh at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019.

Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Oh, the Golden Globes: It might not be the most on-point awards show of the year, or the most polished — but by God, it’s definitely the most fun. That probably has a lot to do with the ubiquitous presence of booze during the ceremony. (“Are people as drunk as they seem to everybody watching? Yes,” Tyler Perry quipped when he came up to introduce Vice.) Maybe it’s also that it’s a cool-down after the Emmys, as well as a warm-up before the Oscars.

Last night’s ceremony, hosted by the unassailably adorable duo of Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg, was no exception. The speeches ran from eloquent (Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk) to interminable (Chuck Lorre for The Kominsky Method) to bizarre (Jeff Bridges for … himself). As for the presenters, they played fast and loose with their time onstage, both to great and terrible effect.

Meanwhile, a lot of the big winners — most notably Bohemian Rhapsody for Best Drama and Green Book for Best Comedy — had us going “Her?!” like Michael Bluth confronted by Ann Veal. In a year that gave us a lot of films and TV shows both great and buzzy, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association frequently opted for picks that were bland at best, and downright offensive at worst. But hey, we still had a good time along the way. Here are our picks for the highs, lows and what-the-hell-just-happeneds of the 2019 Golden Globes.

76th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

WTF: Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh’s Overly Earnest Opening

At the risk of sounding impossible to please, Samberg and Oh opened on a note that was a little too nice — although their golly-gee act was perhaps fitting for a night during which so many of the presenters and winners would have been approved by our parents (Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, Dick Van Dyke, the legendary Carol Burnett). Still, at times, the pair’s toothless humor bordered on the downright kiss-ass. Sure, Michael B. Jordan is buff and Gina Rodriguez seems heaven-sent, but nobody tunes into award shows to further fluff the stars! We want some tasteful shade, dammit!

Still, we did get Oh zinging Aloha and Ghost in the Shell for whitewashing its Asian characters (earning an audible “I’m sorry” from the former movie’s star Emma Stone). And maybe Samberg saying “Wait, is this anti-Semitic?” about The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel counts as a barb. But if the pair wanted to play it this safe, they should have at least had more fun elsewhere — guest stars, a Lonely Island-style video, A Star Is Born spoof, something. (Oh’s amazing masturbation joke about getting the tissues for the This Is Us cast came far too late in the program.) At least they didn’t shy away from roasting Lady Gaga for her stale soundbite about “100 people in a room.” PR

Sandra Oh - Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama - 'Killing Eve'76th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Press Room, Los Angeles, USA - 06 Jan 2019

Best: Sandra Oh Has a Fantastic Night

Has anyone in the history of awards shows been more endearingly amped up about their parents being in the audience than Sandra Oh? She served as the first Asian host of any major awards show ever (“I said yes to the fear of being on this stage tonight because I wanted to be here to look out into this audience and witness this moment of change,” she said at the end of her and Samberg’s opening patter). And then she also won Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama for her wonderfully prickly central performance in the freshman season of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s cracking good spy thriller Killing Eve. In her emotional acceptance speech, Oh paid tribute to her parents in both English and Korean; they couldn’t have looked more proud. Afterward, she reappeared to host with statuette still in hand — and that, friends, is how you multitask. JS

Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh host the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA on Sunday, January 6, 2019.

WTF: That Bizarre Flu Shot Bit

We suppose a sight gag was inevitable, but we don’t really get the thinking behind this one. Partway through the ceremony, Samberg and Oh sent a flock of “nurses” fanning out into the audience to give alarmed-looking A-listers … flu shots? Listen, you would look confused too if someone was coming at you with a syringe on live television while LMFAO’s “Shots” was blaring. “If you are an anti-vaxxer, just put a napkin on — perhaps over — your head, and we will skip you,” Samberg promised. We’re all for vaccinations, Andy, but there’s a time and a place. Really, Willem Dafoe’s reaction says it all. JS

Olivia ColmanHFPA 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Screening and After Party, Inside, Los Angeles, USA - 06 Jan 2019

Best: Olivia Colman’s Much-Deserved Win for ‘The Favourite’

Once and future queen Olivia Colman really won two awards last night: one for Best Actress in a Comedy for her performance as Queen Anne in The Favourite; and one in our hearts for cutest acceptance speech of the whole damn night. Yorgos Lanthimos’s razor-sharp, brilliantly strange period piece may not have won any of its four other nominations, but Colman’s acidic, vulnerable turn as an emotionally delayed royal more than earned her the prize. “Ooh, cor blimey!” she began in wonderfully British fashion, before promising not to cry, thanking the HPFA for the sandwiches, and affectionately calling costars Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone her “bitches.” “I want to tell you how much this film means to me, but I can’t think of it because I’m too excited,” she continued. If only every speech was so lovely — and so succinct. JS

The 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA on Sunday, January 6, 2019.

Worst: Those Ugly New Statuettes

Call us petty, but the HFPA’s revamped-for-2019 look for the Golden Globe just strikes us as a little bit, well, tacky. It’s still a teeny-tiny Planet Earth orbited by a film strip, but whereas the classic model was burnished gold atop a marble plinth, the new one is giant-sized, entirely gold-plated monster that resembles nothing so much as a very weird, opulent dildo. There, we said it. (Besides, in this day and age, do we really need more gold-plated crap?) JS

76th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Regina King, winner of Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

Best: The Continued Reign of Regina King

On the heels of her Emmy win for playing a bereaved mom in Netflix’s Seven Seconds, King scored the only trophy for If Beale Street Could Talk, a supporting role in which she once again tapped into a maternal tenderness and tenacity that stole every scene. It’s exciting to see her electric gifts as a performer recognized, but she also happens to be a class-act at acceptance speeches, too. Her joy feels unrehearsed, and her sentiments — in particular telling director Barry Jenkins that this movie was the “first time [her son] really saw himself” — are deeply felt. And last night she took it one step further by pledging to make sure all of her future productions are at least 50-percent female, challenging others to do the same. It was an invigorating moment that proved King is a queen. PR

76th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Jeff Bridges, winner of Cecil B. Demille Award at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

WTF: Jeff Bridges’ Delightfully Dude-Channeling Speech

Talk about unscripted: When Bridges took the stage to accept the Cecil B. DeMille award, it looked like he might very well thank every single person in the room, calling out the Davids, Ricks, Bobs and Lloyds at the way back. Each name struck him as a glorious epiphany. Every sentiment was punctuated by a casually inflected “man.” Eventually he was talking about tag and boats and being alive with the vigor and fascination of someone who’s just ripped a massive bong hit. (The Coen brothers will probably never cast a more perfect person in a more perfect role.) It’s hard to say whether the metaphor of the trim tabs was as profound for the audience as it was for Bridges, but it was equally hard to argue with the Dude when he said, “We can turn this ship in the way we wanna go, man.” Like, amen, man. PR

Alfonso Cuaron holds the awards for Best Director - Motion Picture and Best Motion Picture - Foreign Language for 'Roma' in the press room during the 76th annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Beverly Hills, California, USA, 06 January 2019.Press Room - 76th Golden Globe Awards, Beverly Hills, USA - 06 Jan 2019

Best: ‘Roma’ Gets Some Love

Alfonso Cuarón cemented his status as one of our greatest living directors with Roma, his semi-autobiographical black-and-white masterpiece that’s as beautiful as it is affecting. Though it won the Globes for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Director, it was sadly ineligible for Best Picture – Drama thanks to HPFA bylaws. Still, in his acceptance speech, Cuarón discussed how cinema “tears down walls and builds bridges.” Forget best films of 2018 — with its luminous composition and minutely realized portraiture of a small life writ large, Roma might be one of the best films of the decade. JS

Accepting the Golden Globe for BEST MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL for "Green Book" is Peter Farrelly and fellow producers at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA on Sunday, January 6, 2019.

Worst: ‘Green Book’ Wins Best Comedy

Superficially, Green Book is a decent movie that tackles racism via the real-life friendship that developed between Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen), a tough guy from the Bronx, and the virtuosic pianist Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) during a trip through the Jim Crow South. Technically, though, it is drawn primarily from the account of Vallelonga, whose son Nick is one of the screenwriters. The Shirley family claims they were never consulted, and have since raised issues with the facts of the narrative — to the extent that Ali reportedly called them to apologize. So while Ali’s masterful performance is nothing to quibble with, the movie’s wins for Best Screenplay and Comedy are harder to stomach, particularly when you have writer-director Peter Farrelly, the guy who gave us fat-shaming garbage like Shallow Hal, demanding more time onstage. Meanwhile, Ryan Coogler, Barry Jenkins and Spike Lee sit empty-handed in the audience. Actual stories by people of color were overlooked for a movie that makes at best questionable claims, including how Shirley felt alienated from his own blackness. One suspects this win will be only more complicated as time passes. Farrelly is right about one thing: We’re still living in divided times. PR

76th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Joe Weinberg (r), acceptor of Best TV Series, Drama for The Americans at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

Best: ‘The Americans’ Finally Gets Its Due

Somewhere out there, an Americans fan may have just ended their hunger strike. Known for years as “the best show you’re not watching,” the critically-acclaimed 1980s espionage drama has finally been recognized as elite in its field, albeit posthumously, with this Best Television Drama win. Unfortunately, this meant losses for two exciting new shows, Homecoming and Killing Eve, as well as the thoroughly original Pose. But the tenacious FX series earned its badge of honor. While it had all the trappings of a cloak-and-dagger thriller — disguises, coded messages, steamy sex — The Americans was at heart a superbly acted show about a family struggling to stay together, and it kept audiences on edge for six solid seasons. PR

Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin - Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy - 'The Kominsky Method'76th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Press Room, Los Angeles, USA - 06 Jan 2019

Worst: The Best TV Comedy Is … ‘The Kominsky Method’?

Chuck Lorre’s The Kominsky Method, starring heavyweights Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin, is about as dull as its litany of prostate jokes would have you believe. Yet the sitcom monolith’s foray into single-camera comedy — after years of The Big Bang Theory and its ilk — took the awards for Best Comedy and Best Performance in a Television Series – Comedy (for Douglas). We don’t understand how you can watch a show as creatively daring as, say, Michael Schur’s The Good Place and instead give your highest accolades to something as soupy and play-it-safe as Kominsky. Even Lorre himself didn’t have much to say about it, considering a chunk of his acceptance speech was just him saying “Netflix! Netflix! Netflix!” over and over (seriously). JS

Carol Burnett - Carol Burnett Award76th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Press Room, Los Angeles, USA - 06 Jan 2019

Best: Carol Burnett Accepting Her Honorary Award

This year, the Globes debuted a new category, the small-screen equivalent to its Cecil B. DeMille Award for film, to honor lifetime achievement in TV: the Carol Burnett Award. And its first winner was, fittingly, the great comedian herself, lovingly introduced by Steve Carell and a clip montage that reminded us of the breadth and depth of Burnett’s career (and how damn hilarious she is). The lady herself delivered an eloquent, thoughtful speech about her six-decade career, which broke ground for women on television and for the medium itself. She both paid tribute to TV and acknowledged its changes, opining that something on the scale of The Carol Burnett Show could never be produced today. “Sometimes I catch myself daydreaming about being young again and doing it all over,” she said. “Then I bring myself up sharp when I realize how incredibly fortunate I was to be there at the right time.” JS

76th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Glenn Close, winner of Best Actress - Motion Picture, Drama at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

Best: Glenn Close’s Best Actress Speech

Chances are you didn’t see The Wife. It didn’t attract a ton of attention, although it was reliably available on airplanes; going into the Best Actress in a Drama category it was easier to look toward splashier contenders like Nicole Kidman or Lady Gaga. Nonetheless, Close delivered one of the best performances of her career, and her speech spoke truth to power: “It was called The Wife. I think that’s why it took 14 years to get made.” Those words could make a person (particularly women) a little queasy. And when Close followed it up by sharing the story of her mom who, in her 80s, confessed to feeling like she hadn’t accomplished anything, hearts broke. Last year, women wore black to the ceremony in solidarity with #Time’sUp, but this year it was up to Close (and King and Brosnahan and so on) to speak up, in tones both celebratory and sad, for the challenges overcome and the miles yet to go. PR

76th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Christian Bale, Best Actor - Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy, "Vice" at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

WTF: Physical Transformations Win a Little Too Big

For the nominated actors, the secret to success appeared to be this: Make yourself less pretty. It worked for Christian Bale, who gained 40 pounds and spent four hours a day in the makeup chair to look like Dick Cheney in Vice. Ditto Patricia Arquette, who needed more weight, an underbite and contact lenses for her real-life character in Escape at Dannemora. And, of course, there was Rami Malek and those infamous Freddie Mercury chompers. These winners are all people with talent to spare, but the more encumbered stars are by prosthetics, the harder it is to discern the actual nuance of their performance from their uncanny resemblance to real people. Clearly, the latter was a huge advantage last night. PR

Jim Beach, Roger Taylor, Brian May, Rami Malek, Graham King and Mike Meyers- Best Motion Picture, Drama - 'Bohemian Rhapsody'76th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Press Room, Los Angeles, USA - 06 Jan 2019

Worst: ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Scores a Surprise Upset

Awards shows sure do love a biopic — apparently, even if said biopic is uneven and riddled with problems. The futzed-with version of legendary Queen frontman Freddie Mercury’s life was the evening’s surprise big winner, taking statuettes in Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Actor – Drama for its star, Rami Malek. Yes, the movie’s central performance is indeed magnetic; the film around him, however, leaves a lot to be desired even when it’s not misrepresenting or glossing over the facts. The night’s speeches conveniently failed to mention the fact that Bohemian Rhapsody was directed by Bryan Singer, who was fired from the movie with two weeks left in filming following on-set drama, and who has since been repeatedly accused of sexual misconduct. Considering it was up against the rhapsodically beautiful If Beale Street Could Talk — not to mention popular faves Black Panther and A Star Is Born — we’re not really sure what the HFPA was thinking here. JS

76th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

Best: Maya Rudolph Proposes to Amy Poehler

Don’t get us wrong, Samberg and Oh are pretty great. But the few minutes we had with comedy champs Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler as presenters made us long for them to take up the hosting reins instead. In a hilarious riff on Glenn Weiss’s onstage proposal to his girlfriend at the Emmys back in September, Rudolph declared: “Amy, you’re the love of my life,” before shakily producing a ring and asking her former SNL cast mate to marry her. “Oh my God! I can’t believe you’re doing this. Are we stealing focus from the next award?!” Poehler gushed. They then proceeded to rub noses before announcing the Best Screenplay nominees. (But real talk? These two would make such an amazing power couple.) JS

76th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Emily Blunt and Dick Van Dyke at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

Worst: Most of the Presenters Were Off Their Game

Was it the teleprompter? Emily Blunt said she could barely read it; Saoirse Ronan couldn’t find it. Was it the din? When Lucy Liu took the stage it sounded like she was trying to talk over a room full of inebriated wedding guests. The cast of The Big Bang Theory appeared to be altogether sick of each other. Maybe, given that it’s the Globes, we should just blame the booze.

But whatever the reason, most of the presenters fumbled and stumbled their way through already somnambulant lines of dialogue to the point where even a holy trinity of professionals like Olivia Coleman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone seemed a little sloppy. (The clear exceptions were the delightful comedic rapport between the differently sized Alison Janney and Sam Rockwell, and of course, the unparalleled Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph.) This, after all that flattery from this year’s hosts! Come on, people, vacation’s over. PR

76th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Winner, Best Motion Picture - Animated: "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" Chris Miller, Phil Lord at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

Best: ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ Nabs Best Animated Feature

Best Drama nominee Black Panther may have gotten an undeserved snub. (Grrr.) But this year’s other great comic book movie, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, won Best Animated Feature Film — and boy, did it ever earn its stripes (er … web-patterned spandex?). Endlessly inventive, hilarious, big-hearted and beautifully animated, Spider-Verse paid vibrant visual homage to its comic-book roots and imagined a generous multiverse in which, as co-director Peter Ramsey said in his acceptance speech, “anyone could be behind the mask.” The comic-book movies of 2018 gave us a powerful black hero in Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa, yet it also gave us Miles Morales, a web-slinging Afro-Latino teenager from Brooklyn who’s cooler than 20 Peter Parkers combined. (Sorry, Tiger.) JS

76th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

WTF: ‘A Star Is Born’ Shut Out of Major Categories

For a minute circa this past October, it looked like A Star Is Born could do no wrong. Despite being the fourth time out for this story, it was a crowd-pleaser; “Shallow” was in constant rotation; and Bradley Cooper was heralded not only for his direction but also his husky-voiced transformation into an Eddie Vedder/Father John Misty/Caleb Followill mashup. Lady Gaga was no slouch, either, and there was even chatter about whether the movie could pull off a sweep of every major category. In any case, it was certainly poised to do better than it did last night. Given that Gaga and Mark Ronson were obviously going to walk away with the trophy for Best Original Song, it’s really Cooper who was sent home surprisingly empty-handed. As unreliable a litmus test as the Golden Globes can be, it would definitely appear as though enthusiasm for the film has cooled going into the Oscar race. PR

76th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Richard Madden, winner of Best Actor - TV Series, Drama at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

Best: Surprising Wins for Relative Newcomers

Richard Madden, who won Best Actor in a Television Drama for Netflix’s Bodyguard, has officially left Robb Stark in the dust (which is no easy feat for anyone hailing from the Game of Thrones universe). His portrayal of a troubled veteran assigned to protect a politician who helped escalate the very war he survived was tense and dynamic and a complete reinvention for the Scottish actor (though his win did come at the expense of Pose‘s popular, charismatic Billy Porter). Meanwhile, A Very English Scandal‘s Ben Whishaw gave a vulnerable, oddball performance as rabble-rouser Norman Scott, and the performer’s piquant acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series classily acknowledged his real-life counterpart “for being a true queer hero and icon.” Both winners beat out bigger and better-known names but the Globes, at its best and most unpredictable, tends to favor newcomers — and these guys were hardly undeserving. PR

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