The 73rd annual Golden Globe Awards were a typically loose affair on Sunday, thanks to comically sloshed host Ricky Gervais, and it made for a night filled with bawdy laughs and unpredictable wins. The Revenant, The Martian and Steve Jobs earned multiple trophies in a surprising upset that left the evening’s most-nominated film, Carol, empty-handed. Moreover, Leonardo DiCaprio won Best Actor, Drama for his gritty role in The Revenant, while Jennifer Lawrence (Joy), Matt Damon (The Martian) and Brie Larson (Room) all took home major acting awards.
In television, cable and streaming-only shows won big over terrestrial programming with Mr. Robot and Mozart in the Jungle garnering multiple globes at the typically loose event. The program was broadcast on NBC, a network that ironically had no shows in the running.
Gervais, the awards show’s most infamous repeat offender, led the show for the first time since 2012. He opened the show by promising that he’d “try and be nice” this year, but as his monologue quickly proved no one was safe. With a pint of beer in front of him, he took jabs at Caitlyn Jenner (she’s done a lot this year but “not much for women drivers”), Jennifer Lawrence (“How can a 25-year-old live on $52 million a year?”) and NBC (“the only network that is fair and impartial” because of its dearth of nominations). Later in the broadcast, he’d make fun of Mel Gibson in his introduction and even returned to the stage to skewer the actor to his face, making fun of the former Mad Max’s truly mad meltdown in 2010. Gervais set the tone for the evening, which frequently derailed into maudlin, censored sarcasm.
At its worst, the event provided a podium on which Jonah Hill donned a silly bear hat and made insipid jokes about The Revenant, and it served as a platform for copious name dropping: Christian Slater said, “Hi, Harrison,” while accepting an award; Jamie Foxx shouted out Will Smith; Aziz Ansari read a fictional book titled Losing to Jeffrey Tambor With Dignity (even though both lost to Mozart in the Jungle’s Gael García Bernal). Elsewhere, Jaimie Alexander broke an awkward exchange at the teleprompter, which was moving slower than usual, by saying, “Dude, who’s typing this shit?” And Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling carried on a ridiculous routine in the lead-up to introducing The Big Short, in which Gosling pretended to act petulant; it was so convincing it deserved its own trophy.
Foxx also skewered the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s lack of ethnic diversity in its nominations by repeating Steve Harvey’s Miss Universe flub almost word-for-word when naming the Best Original Score winner as Straight Outta Compton – a movie snubbed in the nominations – instead of its winner, Hateful Eight composer Ennio Morricone. He also later deadpanned the words “the ghetto” after Quentin Tarantino used them with regard to soundtrack artists in an effort not to let that slip by.
“I want to share this award with all the First Nations people represented in this film and all the indigenous communities around the world,” Leonardo DiCaprio said.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Revenant director Alejandro Iñárritu both used acceptance speeches to draw the attention to the rights of indigenous peoples. “I want to share this award with all the First Nations people represented in this film and all the indigenous communities around the world,” said the actor. “It is time that we recognize your history and that we protect your indigenous lands from corporate interests and people that are out there to exploit them. It is time that we heard your voice and protected this planet for future generations.”
At its best, the show was filled with surprises. Sylvester Stallone looked genuinely shocked not just about the standing ovation he received for winning an acting trophy for Creed but just for winning at all. “I’m going to try not to get emotional he said.” Lady Gaga, too, seemed amazed that she won the Golden Globe for her vampiric role on this past season of American Horror Story. “I wanted to be an actress before being a singer, but music worked out first,” she said. And Tarantino accepted the Best Original Score trophy on behalf of Morricone who, despite having written more than 500 soundtracks including classics like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and The Mission, has never won an award for a single film, only lifetime-achievement awards.
And even though Denzel Washington already knew he’d be receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award, he acted as though it were a surprise. He brought his whole family onstage but fumbled through a speech because he forgot his glasses. (His wife offered to help but then realized she’d forgotten her glasses, too.)
The role of actresses in Hollywood was a frequent topic during the night, beginning with Gervais joking about wage equality, saying he was “getting paid exactly the same as Tina and Amy last year” and that female-centric remakes of movie were good business because they “guaranteed box office results and they don’t have to spend too much money on the casts.” Amy Schumer and Lawrence garnered laughs by playing on stereotypes: “As women in Hollywood, people have a lot of preconceived notions about us,” said Lawrence, as Schumer completed the thought with “‘Jen and Amy are so pretty’ … and ‘everyone wants to hang out with us.'” And Helen Mirren, 70, flipped the script on Gerard Butler, 46, saying he looked good for his age. But in more serious moments, Kate Winslet praised what she felt was an “incredible” year for women in film in her Best Actress in a Supporting Role acceptance speech for Steve Jobs.
The field of television evinced its continued growing pains as Fox’s Empire, PBS’ Wolf Hall and the CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend were the only over-the-air shows to earn recognition at the show. Instead, Mr. Robot achieved something that would have seemed impossible even a year ago (two awards for – gasp! – the USA Network) and Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle bested the streaming service’s favorite, Transparent, in garnering two Globes.
But other than the upsets, the unscripted moments like Jim Carey’s speech about wanting a third Golden Globe and the genuine surprise of talented actors and Ridley Scott earning awards for the first time, the best part of the whole show was the face-off between Ricky Gervais and Mel Gibson. “I blame NBC for this terrible situation, Mel blames … we know who Mel blames,” the host joked of having to awkwardly introduce the actor who so mercilessly skewered on that stage once. Gibson retorted, “I like seeing Ricky once every three years because it reminds me to get a colonoscopy.” Then Gervais came out and told a joke too cheeky for NBC censors, “What the fuck does ‘sugar tits’ mean?” referring to an alleged offhand remark Gibson said to a female police officer. Gibson winced. Nevertheless, Gervais swooped in for the last laugh. As the credits rolled, he said in voiceover, “For myself and Mel Gibson, ‘Shalom.'” It made for a show that is everything the Oscars and the Emmys could never be – and that’s a good thing.