Once Upon a Time picked up three awards in total — the most for any film — including Best Movie Musical or Comedy, while filmmaker Quentin Tarantino won Best Screenplay and Brad Pitt won Best Supporting Actor. The World War I drama, 1917, picked up two major prizes: Best Motion Picture Drama and Best Director for Sam Mendes.
In the acting categories, Joaquin Phoenix won Best Actor in a Drama for Joker, and biopics continued to perform well as Renée Zellweger won Best Actress in a Drama for her performance as Judy Garland in Judy and Taron Egerton won Best Actor in a Movie Musical or Comedy for portraying Elton John in Rocketman. The biggest acting win of the night, though, belonged to Awkwafina, who became the first woman of Asian descent to win the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for her turn in the film The Farewell.
Other major film awards went to Parasite, which won Best Foreign Language Film, while Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir won Best Original Score for Joker.
Over in TV land, Fleabag continued its dominant run of form after last year’s Emmys, winning Best TV Comedy, while star and creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge won Best Actress in a TV Comedy. In the TV Drama realm, HBO’s Succession won the Best Series prize, while star Brian Cox picked up the trophy for Best Actor in a TV Series Drama.
Olivia Colman continued her recent awards show hot streak as she picked up the Best Actress in a TV Drama trophy for her turn on The Crown. And Chernobyl won a couple of awards, too, including Best TV Limited Series or Motion Picture and Best Supporting Actor in a TV Series, Limited Series or Movie for Stellan Skarsgård.
Other TV winners included Russell Crowe for Best Actor in a Miniseries for The Loudest Voice, Michelle Williams for Best Actress in a Miniseries for Fosse/Verdon and Patricia Arquette for Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series for The Act.
The night featured a handful of unexpected winners as well, with the first win of the night, Best Actor in a TV Comedy, going to Ramy Youssef for his Hulu show Ramy. Elsewhere, Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s Rocketman track “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” beat out songs by Beyoncé and Taylor Swift for Best Original Song, and while the win itself wasn’t necessarily surprising, John did note that it was the first award he and Taupin had ever won together.
But the biggest upset of the night arguably happened in the Best Animated Film category, where Missing Link beat out three major Disney films (Frozen 2, The Lion King and Toy Story 4) and the third film in the How to Train Your Dragon franchise.
Ricky Gervais returned to host the Globes for the fifth and final time, stepping up to the podium, drink in hand, and rolling through a set of Hollywood roasts. Topics included the terrible reviews for Cats, Martin Scorsese’s feud with the Marvel cinematic universe and the film and television industry’s ongoing struggles with diversity.
“Many talented people of color were snubbed in major categories,” Gervais cracked. “Unfortunately there’s nothing we can do about that — the Hollywood Foreign Press are all very, very racist.”
Gervais appeared throughout the night to dole out one-liners about the various presenters and winners, but for the most part the 2020 Golden Globes maintained a fairly wholesome and ostensibly sober air.
Ellen DeGeneres accepted the Carol Burnett Award for lifetime achievement in television, mixing classic stand-up patter with poignant remarks about her comedy aspirations. And Tom Hanks accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award with a delightful speech in which he praised some of his generation’s finest performers while offering a handful of charming lessons for life and acting.
Despite Gervais’ request at the top of the show for winners to skip the political proselytizing, there were several incendiary speeches throughout the night. Michelle Williams followed up her Emmys rallying cry for equal pay in Hollywood by encouraging women to vote in their own self-interest, quipping, “It’s what men have been doing for years.”
Patricia Arquette spoke out against the ongoing crisis with Iran and, like others, mentioned the devastating wildfires in Australia. Joaquin Phoenix encouraged people to fight climate change and urged celebrities, like himself, to stop using private jets. And Russell Crowe — who wasn’t even on hand to accept his award because he was helping his family fight those fires in Australia — sent along a pointed message about the climate crisis in his absence.
Still, the Golden Globes provided some sauciness to spice up the ceremony, which ran just over three hours. Laura Dern put a cheeky spin on the tried and true tradition of “meaningful awards show speeches” when she accepted the award for Best Supporting Actress for her turn as a divorce lawyer in Marriage Story. “We long to be of service to give voice to the voiceless,” Dern said. “And thanks to the brilliant Noah Baumbach, I got to do just that — give voice, pay tribute, to the divorce lawyer.”