Golden Globes 2020: 20 Best, Worst and Most WTF Moments - Rolling Stone
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Golden Globes 2020: 20 Best, Worst and Most WTF Moments

From Ricky Gervais’ monologue to some primetime political shout-outs and surprise wins—the highlights, low points and genuine headscratchers from last night’s awards show

77th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Brad Pitt accepts the award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture for "Once Upon A Time...In Hollywood" at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 5, 2020 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

Brad Pitt accepts the award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture for "Once Upon A Time...In Hollywood" at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 5, 2020.

Paul Drinkwater/NBC

It’s rough moment in history to throw an awards show: Less than a week into the dawn of a new decade, America is potentially on the brink of war and Australia is quite literally on fire … so maybe the travails of a bunch of Hollywood types vying for a clutch of shiny statuettes don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world? Perhaps the collective anxiety and distraction over world events was part of the reason the 2020 Golden Globes ceremony felt so lifeless. It could also be that we simply have awards-show fatigue, or Ricky Gervais’ hosting style, which walked the line between bored and downright contemptuous.

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood and surprise underdog 1917 were the big film winners of the night, while Fleabag and Succession deservedly (if a little predictably) cleaned up on the television front. Here are our picks for the best, worst and who-even-knows from a night of slurred speeches, awkward presenter banter, and rare, glittering moments of honest-to-God earnestness.

 

Tom Hanks accepts the Cecil B. DeMille Award for his outstanding contribution to the entertainment field at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA on January 5, 2020.

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Best: Tom Hanks Reminds Everyone That Decency Exists

Look, it’s a cliché at this point to say that Tom Hanks is an all-American, all-time good dude. Of course he would accept the honorary Cecil B. DeMille award by opening with a display of humility (“Most of the people in this room, I would pay to see them get their cars washed”). But then he warbles a few lines from The Love Boat theme; bursts into tears at the sight of his wife and five kids; and acknowledges the greats he’s acted alongside, including not just Meryl Streep and Denzel Washington but also Bosom Buddies co-stars Peter Scolari and Holland Taylor. He talks about working hard, the need to be prepared, the virtue of showing up on time. And to close, like the old-fashioned gentleman he is, he praises his peers by borrowing a turn of phrase from the days when movies were made on celluloid: “I have checked the gate, and the gate is good.” Cue sniffling and sobbing. Thanks, Hanks. MF

77th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Ricky Gervais at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 5, 2020 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Worst: Ricky Gervais’ Hateful Hosting Job

We know that Ricky Gervais’ whole schtick is detached scorn. But on his fifth round of hosting the Golden Globes, that disgust no longer appears to be an act. He sighed and blustered through his opening monologue, which included some half-hearted jokes about the lack of diversity among the nominees, an admonishment that no one actually cares about movies or television, and a promise that this would be his last time emceeing the Globes. Later in the ceremony, he returned with a tone-deaf comment about the lack of women nominated for best director and, finally, a truly exhausted plea to “kill me … we’re nearly done.” We know he has a proven track record here. If sardonic loathing is the best and most Gervais has to offer, however, let’s make sure this really is his swan song at the podium and pass it to someone who, y’know, actually wants to be here. JS

Michelle Williams accepts the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television for her role in "Fosse/Verdon" at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA on Sunday, January 5, 2020.

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Best: Michelle Williams Speaks Out

On the Emmys stage last fall, Michelle Williams made an impassioned plea for equal pay. Last night, after winning the award for Best Actress in a Mini-Series for Fosse/Verdon, she went even bigger. Calling the award a recognition of the choices she’d made that had brought her to that stage, she shifted her focus to abortion rights (“As women, as girls, so many things can happen that are not our choice”) before imploring all of the women watching not just to vote, but to vote on women’s issues. While presenter Tiffany Haddish whooped in the background, Williams made the case in devastating fashion: “When it is time to vote, please do so in your own self-interest. It’s what men have been doing for years, which is why the world looks so much like them. Don’t forget that we are the largest voting body in the country. Let’s make it look more like us.” Michelle for President, 2024. MF

 

77th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Patricia Arquette accepts the award for Best Supporting Actress, Series/Limited Series/TV Movie for "The Act" at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 5, 2020 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Best: Winner Weren’t Afraid to Get Political

Despite the host’s half-sarcastic reproach about winners not using their speeches as a platform to “lecture the public about anything,” current affairs were justifiably on many honorees’ minds last night. There was Michelle Williams’ MVP speech about women’s rights (see below). Laura Dern tied Marriage Story‘s notion of combating divisiveness to the larger notion of  “how we must all come together as one for the sake of something greater … perhaps our planet even.” Patricia Arquette mentioned Trump’s threat to drop 52 bombs on Iranian targets, including cultural centers, and asked that we try to make the world better for the generations to come. And the bushfires that are presently devastating Australia came up throughout the night. Jennifer Aniston accepted Russell Crowe’s win for The Loudest Voice as he was home protecting his family from the fires, with the firm message that “the tragedy unfolding in Australia is climate change-based.” Arquette, Ellen DeGeneres, and Cate Blanchett also raised the issue, while Fleabag winner Phoebe Waller-Bridge later announced that she’s auctioning the outfit she wore to the Globes to benefit relief efforts. (There are plenty of ways you can help as well, even if you don’t have a bespoke suit on offer.) JS

Greta Gerwig arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Beverly Hills, Calif77th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals, Beverly Hills, USA - 05 Jan 2020

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Worst: ‘Little Women’ (and Women in General) Get Shut Out

Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women has been widely lauded as one of 2019’s best films — but you’d never know it from browsing the list of Golden Globe nominations. (The adaptation was only up for two: Best Actress in a Drama for Saoirse Ronan and Best Score for Alexandre Desplat). It’s endemic of a larger problem that the Hollywood Foreign Press seems to have with recognizing women filmmakers telling female-centric stories; only men were nominated for Best Director and Best Screenplay, in a year that also included the likes of Lorene Scafaria’s Hustlers, Lulu Wang’s The Farewell, Marielle Heller’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart, to name a few. Natalie Portman memorably called out the Globes for this very oversight two years ago — and it seems the HFP still hasn’t learned this very basic lesson. JS

Awkwafina accepts the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy for her role in "The Farewell" at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA on Sunday, January 5, 2020.

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Best: Awkwafina Nabs Best Actress in a Comedy for ‘The Farewell’

Awkwafina (a.k.a. Nora Lum) first made a name for herself as a rapper and comedic actress, but her win for her first dramatic leading performance in Lulu Wang’s The Farewell felt like a recognition that her talent really knows no bounds. (Yes, we know she won in the comedy category, but funny movies don’t usually make us weep this much.) In the role of Billi, a Chinese-American woman caught between familial expectations and her own ideas of right and wrong, Awkwafina gave a performance that’s both wry and emotionally rich. She more than earned the win. “If I fall upon hard times, I can sell this,” she joked, before adding a special message just for her father, Wally: “I told you I’d get a job, Dad.” JS

Brad Pitt accepts the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture for his role in "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood" at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA on Sunday, January 5, 2020.

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Best: Brad Pitt Reminds You Why He’s a Movie Star

On a good night for Hollywood’s good guys, Brad Pitt completed his recovery from the implosion of his marriage to Angelina Jolie and his public image three years ago. After a great 2019, the man standing before us to accept the Best Supporting Actor in a Drama award looked impossibly younger than he did a decade ago. (Sobriety will do that, we guess?) Pitt exuded the same aw-shucks Midwestern charm he brought to his easygoing, acid-tripping, faded stuntman in Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood. He shouted out his co-star and pal “LDC” (who knew that was a nickname?), thanked his mom and dad like a newcomer because why not, and he shaded the tabloids that still dog him. Then he told us all to be kind to each other. Will do, Brad. This is what movie-star charisma looks like. MF

 

77th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Quentin Tarantino accepts the award for Best Screenplay - Motion Picture for "Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood" at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 5, 2020 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Worst: Quentin Tarantino Thanks His Favorite Person (Himself)

Quentin Tarantino is a legendary talker, but not a legendarily good one. He has a shtick: He speaks rapidly and excitedly, like a hyperarticulate 10-year-old recounting a convoluted dream, and peppers his ramblings with obscure references. He’s also never had much use for humility. These qualities were on full display when accepted the award for Best Screenplay. Tarantino started by name-dropping screenwriting legend Robert Bolt and writer-director John Milius. Then he noted, helpfully, that winning an award for a script you wrote yourself means you don’t really have anyone to thank. (“I did it,” he added to drive home the point.) He did get around to acknowledging his stars, praising Leo’s and Brad’s acting and Margot Robbie’s … goodness, as well as mentioning his wife in Tel Aviv who’s about to give birth. But the whole thing was not a good look, even for someone whose reputation as a narcissist precedes him. MF

Bong Joon-ho holds the award for Best Motion Picture - Foreign Language for 'Parasite' in the press room during the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Beverly Hills, California, USA, 05 January 2020.Press Room - 77th Golden Globe Awards, Beverly Hills, USA - 05 Jan 2020

Christian Monterrosa/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Best: ‘Parasite’ Takes Best Foreign Language Film

No movie this year felt more relevant to our current socioeconomic state than Korean writer-director Bong Joon Ho’s visionary tale of class inequality among a pair of families in modern-day Seoul. It’s the highest-grossing foreign language film of 2019, and with good reason: Parasite employs singular dark humor, pathos and indelible visuals to create a film that’s as riveting as it is resonant. A critical and commercial hit, it was one of the more popular wins of the evening. And in his acceptance speech, delivered via translator, Bong put in a plug for American audiences to watch more non-English language cinema: “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” Amen. JS

77th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Sam Mendes accepts the award for Best Motion Picture, Drama at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 5, 2020 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

Paul Drinkwater/NBC

WTF: ‘1917’ Winning Best Director and Best Drama

Sam Mendes’ World War I film has a lot going for it, from its gorgeous cinematography to the technically impressive accomplishment of sustaining that one-shot-wonder illusion for most of its running time. Still, that its director beat out Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood) and the American auteur of auteurs, Martin Scorsese (The Irishman) was a surprise. Even Mendes seemed to acknowledge as much: “There is not one director in this room, not one director in the world, that is not in the shadow of Martin Scorsese.” And the fact that 1917 also won Best Picture, Drama over those two juggernauts, both stuffed with superstar casts and chugging into awards season with maximum momentum was indeed a surprise. Film nerds and cinephiles — some of whom consider the movie’s high-concept experiment a gimmick — will dread these two victories being an Oscars bellwether. At least it’ll give them more to argue about. MF

 

Kate McKinnon presents the Carol Burnett Award to Ellen DeGeneres at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA on Sunday, January 5, 2020.

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Best: Ellen DeGeneres Wins the Carol Burnett Award

It’s a tough act to follow when you’re only the second recipient of the Carol Burnett Award and the first was … Carol Burnett. But leave it to Ellen DeGeneres to take it in her stride. Kate McKinnon offered a moving introduction, speaking about how seeing the stand-up comic/TV star come out on Ellen in 1997 was “the only thing that made it less scary” when she realized that she herself was gay. Then DeGeneres delivered a characteristically warm, witty acceptance speech, thanking Burnett for paving the way and giving a joking tribute to her nonexistent husband and children. She ended by speaking about the power of the medium, which is often an eye-roller at awards shows, but here felt just right: “The real power of television for me is not that people watch my show, but that…they’re inspired to go out and do the same thing in their own lives. They make people laugh or be kind or help someone that’s less fortunate than themselves.” We could all use a little more of that right now. JS

Nominee, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, and Jay-Z at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA on Sunday, January 5, 2020.

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Worst: Wake Us When the Globes Are Over

How is it possible to fill a room with bona fide, capital-M Movie Stars — from DiCaprio and Pitt to Marty and Bob to Reese, Aniston, and Sandy; to hire a host known for making people fall off their chairs in shock; to have a few genuine upset wins (animated movie Missing Link over Toy Story 4, Succession‘s Brian Cox over Pose‘s anointed Billy Porter, 1917 over everything else) … and still deliver what might have been the single most boring awards show of all time? Maybe it was because none of those megastars are fresh faces. Maybe because Gervais chose to be merely cranky instead of actually funny. Maybe it was the inevitability of some of the wins (Fleabag, Succession) made the night feel pre-scripted rather than electric and live. Maybe the cameras just didn’t pan to Beyoncé and Jay-Z enough. Whatever the reason, the Hollywood Foreign Press produced a feat of listless entertainment heretofore unseen. Bravo. MF

 

77th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Jesse Armstrong accepts the award for Best TV Series, Drama for "Succession" at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 5, 2020 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Best: ‘Succession’ Wins Best Drama Series

Cementing its rise to TV’s most addictive show, Succession topped critically acclaimed series such as Big Little Lies and The Crown, and flashy newcomers like The Morning Show, to take the drama category. As we all wait itchily for Season Three, we could at least take comfort in seeing the gang all together onstage: Kendall with a fuzzy beard! Shiv in a sparkly dress! Dancin’ Cousin Greg in a dapper green suit! Creator Jesse Armstrong’s speech was a bit flat — not to mention a missed opportunity to pass the mic to Jeremy Strong for a repeat performance of “L to the O G” — but presumably he’s saving his best stuff for the page. We’ll take it. MF

77th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Phoebe Waller-Bridge accepts the award for Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy for "Fleabag" at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 5, 2020 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Best: ‘Fleabag’ Brings the Globes to Its Knees

After its sweep at the Emmys a few months back (and that instantly iconic photo of writer-star Phoebe Waller-Bridge kicking back with a cocktail, a cigarette, and her many statuettes), was it a surprise that Fleabag won for Best Actress and Best TV Series in the Comedy category? Not in the slightest. But did the series absolutely deserve it? Hell yes. In its final season, the British series offered razor-sharp humor, heartbreaking profundities, and singularly recontextualized the word “kneel” for all time. Best of all, the Globes win gave Waller-Bridge a chance to send a winky thanks to Barack Obama for putting Fleabag on his best of 2019 list. “As some of you may know,” she added, “he’s always been on mine.” JS

Joaquin Phoenix accepts the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama for his role in "Joker" at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA on Sunday, January 5, 2020.

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WTF: Joaquin Phoenix Tries Valiantly to Give an Acceptance Speech

We’ll give Joaquin Phoenix points for effort. The man is a great actor and, by his own admission, not at all comfortable being a public person. But last night, he kinda tried! It was endearing, if awkward. You could see the strain for normalcy as the Best Actor in a Drama winner thanked the Hollywood Foreign Press for serving a meatless meal. (Politics!) Told his fellow nominees, while writhing with discomfort, that “we all know there’s no such thing as best fucking actor.” (Real talk!) Said “fuck” a bunch more times. (OK, sure!) And then — a bridge too far — suggested maybe you rich hypocrite assholes (our words, not his) not preach about climate change while taking private jets to Palm Springs. And with that, the new Joaquin died. MF

Olivia Colman accepts the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series - Drama for her role in "The Crown" at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA on Sunday, January 5, 2020.

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Best: Olivia Colman Wins for ‘The Crown,’ Is Charming as Always

British national treasure Olivia Colman has been nominated for three Golden Globes and has won all three times (previously for The Night Manager and The Favourite), and we frankly couldn’t be happier for her. Her acceptance speeches never fail to make us feel all warm and fuzzy, and this one was no exception. An apparently surprised Colman accepted the award for Best Actress in a TV Drama for her turn as Queen Elizabeth in The Crown — a role that her predecessor in the role, Claire Foy, also won for. Her Liz II may be characteristically stiff upper-lipped, but Colman herself is quite the opposite. “I’d already got a bit boozy, because I thought this wasn’t going to happen,” she admitted before congratulating her other show, Fleabag, and thanking the room at large. Long live the Queen. JS

77th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Tiffany Haddish and Salma Hayek Pinault at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 5, 2020 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Best: The Tiffany Haddish/Salma Hayek Presenter Duo

Every awards show comes with its fair share of presenter duos both charming and charmless. (Matt Bomer and Sofía Vergara, did you both temporarily forget how to speak?) But the two that had the most fun last night were Like a Boss costars Tiffany Haddish and Salma Hayek, who came out to present the awards for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Limited Series and Best Limited Series. The duo played off each other like the ceremony was their own, personal already-in-progress buddy comedy, and we’re pretty sure no one has ever said the word “Chernoooobyllllll!” quite like Haddish did when she announced the show’s win. (Side note: Can these two host next year? Please?) JS

Ansel Elgort and Dakota Fanning present the award for Best Original Song - Motion Picture at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA on Sunday, January 5, 2020.

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WTF: Ansel Elgort Sings the Best Song Intro

Look, we’ll be real: When Ansel Elgort and Dakota Fanning came out to present the award for Best Original Song, we weren’t totally paying attention. That is until Elgort pulled a real “musical theater teen at the end-of-semester concert” move and full-on belted “Here are the nominees for Best Original Sooooooooooong!” while Fanning laughed in surprise beside him. Ansel, buddy. We know that you’re playing Tony in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming West Side Story adaptation and all, but save it for the Bernstein reprises, okay? JS

Ramy Youssef accepts the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA on Sunday, January 5, 2020.

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Best: Ramy Youssef Earns the Night’s Most Refreshing Win

Just minutes after Ricky Gervais ended his monologue by advising the assembled actors to “thank your agent and your god and fuck off,” Ramy Youssef came to the stage to accept the night’s first award, Best Actor in a TV Comedy or Musical, and took his cue. “I’d like to thank my god — Allahu akbar,” said the young Muslim comedian with a chuckle. “Thank you, God. And Hulu.” A relative newcomer to the Hollywood scene, Youssef gazed around a room packed with A-listers, took in the smattering of polite applause, and got real: “Look, I know you guys haven’t seen my show,” he riffed to warm laughter. “You’re like, ‘Is this an editor?'” His poise, sweet self-deprecation (he also noted that his mom had been rooting for Michael Douglas), and sincere gratitude hopefully drew a lot more eyeballs to Ramy, the semi-autobiographical series about an Egyptian-American millennial that brought him this deserved recognition. MF

77th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Stellan Skargard, winner of Best Supporting Actor - Series/Limited Series/TV movie for "Chernobyl" at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 5, 2020 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

Paul Drinkwater/NBC

WTF: Stellan Skarsgård Saves Face

The Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård has had a long and esteemed career, mostly in heavy dramas, but, incredibly, had never won a major award until last night. And he took the moment to show the world his lighter side while explaining why. In a delightfully odd little speech, Skarsgård imitated the late director Milos Forman (who apparently kind of shouted and was maybe perpetually drunk?) once telling him, “Stellan, I’ve seen you in so many films, but I never remember your face!” The reason is simple, Skarsgård said: He has no eyebrows. “Nobody can tell if I’m angry or surprised.” (He noted that Colin Farrell, in contrast, gives great brow.) Skarsgård praised Chernobyl‘s makeup artist, Daniel Parker, for making him a furry set that solved that problem, hoisted his statuette for Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series, and then, poof, was gone. Would that every acceptance speech were that weird and special. MF

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