E: So that was crazy. We sure learned a lot, I’ll say that much.
First off, Ricky Gervais and his tiny beer and his vampire teeth pushed the show into overtime with all his lengthy sighing and complaining about the show running long, not to mention the irritatingly long passages that got bleeped out. Think about it — they were only a minute or two over, but the orchestra wouldn’t have had to play Leonardo DiCaprio off if only the wretched British comic knew how to control himself. I laughed harder at my Mom’s disappointed reaction to seeing Gervais (“Is this the guy who loves himself?”) than I did to pretty much everything he said. Although that crack about NBC hosting well because they’re the only network not to receive a nomination? Not bad. And his bit about Matt Damon being the only person that Ben Affleck has been faithful to? Cute. Next year I vote the HFP uses Andy Samberg, who slayed with a fictitious recap of the night’s events (“Cate Blanchett and Kate Winslet fought to the death over the proper spelling of Kate”) or BFF’s Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Shumer. Or, hey, Melissa McCarthy and Jason Statham; how funny were they in character? Loved it.
A few things did go as generally predicted. Brie Larson and Leonardo DiCaprio captured the lead drama awards, and so cemented their status as front runners. The largely unknown Larson was adorable, and managed to be flustered in a way that happily still left her coherent, promising to write thank you cards to anyone who she forgot to mention. (Maura Tierney, take notes. Really, as crazy as the moment must be, I have an enormous frustration with actors who aren’t capable of delivering a speech. Speaking is your job, people. Have someone write you something to say if you don’t think you can come up with something yourself.) It was a charming introduction and ought to help her prospects. DiCaprio took the stage to the thunderous applause of his colleagues; even though he’s won here before, this one felt particularly meaningful and portentous. Almost alone in the night, he was able to give a speech that was more than a laundry list of agents to thank, tying the excruciating shoot to freedom and respect for indigenous peoples, a cause he’s long advocated for. As I hoped, Matt Damon took actor in a comedy; I would love it if that presages an Oscar nomination (even to see him lose to Leo), because for me this was the role he was born to play. It’s a crowded field, but his prospects are looking more cheerful this morning now that we can see how much his tremendous performance is valued.
I guessed that either Mark Rylance or Sylvester Stallone would take supporting actor. What I hadn’t counted on was this joy and support in the room, the way the crowd of celebrities surged to their feet in a lengthy standing ovation when Sylvester Stallone took the stage. Even though he hasn’t been universally nominated, it’s clear that Stallone’s riding an emotional wave that could take him to the Oscar stage as a winner. Ironically, the biggest battle he faces now is just getting nominated, which is by no means a sure thing — and Oscar nomination voting has already ended, so he won’t get to ride the bump from this win to an increased vote count. As I said with Damon, the best he can hope for is that the love from his fellow actors has already translated into votes.
Kate Winslet’s triumph as supporting actress, on the other hand, came as a complete shock to both me and the actress. Not that I don’t always love Kate, but I have trouble imaging she’ll win her second Oscar for this role. I think this still remains the most open category (especially considering how confusing it still is to figure out who the Academy’s going to consider lead or supporting). We’ll have to wait for SAG to see if It Girl Alicia Vikander (nominated there for as a supporting actress for The Danish Girl) and her suddenly orange complexion are going to be snubbed. The Hollywood Foreign Press vacillates between their desire to award the biggest possible star, and their desire to anoint the hottest new thing. This year, perhaps it was the magic of Jack and Rose that saw Winslet and DiCaprio take the podium on the same night.
There were a few other “either/or” scenarios I laid out where the more surprising nominee triumphed, as with Jennifer Lawrence trumping Amy Shumer in Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy. Here again, the bigger star triumphed over the trendy one. When I wrote that we were about to find out if Spotlight and The Big Short were really the favorites just because all the different groups liked them enough to nominate them (and couldn’t agree on anything else), though, I was much more on target than I even realized. I did list The Martian and The Revenant as intriguing and informative alternates, but it leaves us with a whole new and even more confusing race now that they’ve won. Neither is nominated for a SAG ensemble award. Neither grabbed an ensemble nod at the Critics Choice. The Martian didn’t make the cut at BAFTA. Will The Revenant continue to build momentum, or is that not even possible in this fragmented year? I don’t think we can take anything for granted yet.
In other news, Quentin Tarantino made an absolutely hilarious Steve Harvey at the Miss Universe pageant as he accepted the award for score for Ennio Morricone — but as long time fans of the composer, my family immediately pounced on the director’s assertion that this was the first award that Morricone had ever won. It wasn’t. This was his third Golden Globe win, and in addition to being nominated for 5 Oscars he’s received an honorary one. (It is something of an abomination, in Tarantino’s defense, that Morricone’s gorgeous and moving Mission soundtrack lost to Herbie Hancock’s Round Midnight.) In television, USA’s Mr. Robot and Amazon Prime’s streaming comedy Mozart in the Jungle won the night handily, truly spelling the end not only of network shows but of pay cable’s television award dominance. Lady Gaga looked stunning in a structured gown and gave an adorable, emotional acceptance speech which ended with her repeatedly claiming to be “truly speechless” (she wasn’t). And the still charming Denzel Washington proved you can be a megastar and have months to prepare a speech and still say absolutely nothing when accepting a life time achievement award; this looked especially foolish coming after Tom Hanks’ typically bravura introduction, his rolling rhetoric interspersed with impressive imitations.
More random notes. There was a lot of bleeping, wasn’t there? And the censors bleeped out whole sentences instead of words, so you really had no idea what Ricky Gervais said that had Alan Cummings pressing both hands over his mouth in shocked glee. Also, I don’t know exactly why some stars presented their own movies (the above mentioned Statham and McCarthy) while other films whose casts were in attendance used other actors – Viola Davis for Carol, Boston’s Chris Evans for Spotlight, Maggie Gyllenhaal for Room, Tobey Maguire for The Revenant. While this is perfectly reasonable as an excuse for bringing in more stars, I don’t understand why it was applied so unevenly. I also don’t know why some presenters came up to the stage from the audience and others from the wings; I half suspect that J.K. Simmons, last year’s supporting actor, was late to the show, because he did not present best supporting actress as is traditional, but appeared later with Patricia Arquette to present supporting actor. Instead, Channing Tatum vaulted up from the audience, chattering at length with Jonah Hill in a bear hood, claiming to the bear from The Revenant (occasionally funny) with the envelope on his table. I would suspect that Simmons was late, anyway, if that didn’t imply that Hill randomly showed up with a bear hood. Both Ridley Scott and Taraji P. Henson told the orchestra to stop playing because they’re not going, Henson with charm and humor and a (sadly) droning Scott actually saying “screw you.” (He did manage to draw applause when mentioning his late brother Tony, however, and she for handing out cookies from Cookie.) Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling strung out a very funny bit about Gosling being jealous of Pitt’s stardom and irritated at having to present together. The adorable Melissa Benoist and Grant Gustin (Supergirl and the Flash) were adorable together, as was Aziz Ansari, who had a book jacket printed up so when the camera found him in the audience he appeared to be reading a book entitled “Losing to Jeffrey Tamber with Dignity.” Of course the joke was on all of us when Gael Garcia Bernal won best actor in a television comedy instead. The moment feels emblematic of the head-scratching evening.
As Andy Samberg read the nominees’ names for television actress in a comedy, my Dad squinted at the screen. Isn’t Julia Louis-Dreyfus contractually obliged to win when she’s nominated, he asked. I don’t know, I said — the Globes are all about the ingenues. And sure enough, Rachel Bloom won and gave an absolutely delightful speech for her labor of love, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I think I might have to watch an episode of that show, because (as noted in our television preview) it looks so completely awful that I really don’t understand how it ever got on the air, let alone won awards and scored at 96% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes tomato-meter. My Dad felt better about all this when he remembered that the Emmy’s are where Julia’s a perpetual lock; their desire to reward new talent is one of the nicest things about the Globes, even when I don’t understand their choices.
Finally, sparkle was definitely the fashion trend of the night, from Kate Bosworth’s faux-ruby encrusted sheath and Olivia Wilde’s blood-red snake-looking number, to Regina King’s huge metallic paillettes, Brie Larson’s rainbow gold column and Viola Davis’s queenly, celestial gown. My whole family gasped when Davis walked on stage. Even Miss Golden Globes (I remember you attending as your Dad’s date, Corinne!) joined in with stunning beading; those white birds on her dress? Just lovely – as lovely as her Dad’s introduction of her. Mini-trends included egg yolk yellow (why, America Ferrera, why? loved your Latina-centric banter with Eva Longoria, though) and capelets (Jane Fonda’s tiered ruffles, Taraji P. Henson’s flowing white): Jennifer Lopez wore both, and not in a good way. Cut outs were also a mini-trend, culminating in both Larson and presenter Kate Hudson essentially wearing two-piece dresses. Another trend? Beards. Oh, so many beards. Jim Carrey, wow. Unlike most people, I’m not a big fan of Jennifer Lawrence’s fold-over top, although the color was stunning. A big puzzle for me was risk taker Cate Blanchett in a 20’s style pale pink gown with intricate beading and detail and long swoops of silky fringe. The fit? Sublime. The bead-work? Glorious. The color? Meh. The fringe? Gah.
And there it is. I’ll be back on Wednesday with full write up of my predictions for Thursday morning’s Oscar nominees. I need to go ponder exactly what just happened, and whether (as Ricky Gervais repeatedly insisted) it has any relevance at all. Ah, well. Meaningful or not, it was certainly – something.