I said at the end of yesterday's post that any write-up of this year's Golden Globes telecast would be short and scattershot. Here's me trying to make good on that claim. For a more in-depth reflection on many of the Globes' quirks, see my write-up from last year.
Overall, Ricky Gervais as host was once again fine but not stellar. Most of his barbs didn't have the bite that I think he wanted them to, as he — and NBC, and The Hollywood Foreign Press Association — seemed to promote his return this year as a go-for-broke train wreck waiting to happen, which is rather a silly thing. Gervais was, y'know, invited back. Of course he comes with a certain amount of edginess, but he's a professional and there were negotiations and he knows how far he can push it. This isn't an accidentally "tweeted" nude photo; it's three hours of prime-time network programming on a Sunday night. We can all feign anticipated shock only so far.
My favorite bit of his was probably the extended riff during his opening monologue on "Jodie Foster's Beaver". It's an easy, built-in joke — but what made it so funny here was the repetition and, especially, the cut to Foster's enthusiastic encouragement of the bit. As it's much better heard from the source than retyped, I direct you to the video clip of the monologue currently up at NBC's website; the Beaver bit is at the 2:50 mark if you want to get there straight away.
After Johnny Depp was introduced, Gervais asked him if he'd honestly watched The Tourist yet. I suppose that Depp's no was meant to come off as telling, and for many it probably did, yet anyone who's seen Depp's visits to David Letterman (or, presumably, seen or read any of several other interviews with him) knows that Depp generally doesn't watch any movies he's made. So, okay, The Tourist was bad, and Gervais's jab at it last year has been vindicated, and Depp's a good sport — but, really, it's kind-of mean to pull this on him in front of millions of TV viewers who don't know about Depp's aversion to seeing himself onscreen, as that lack of knowledge is what Gervais is counting on to make Depp's reply more damning of the film and justify last year's The Tourist jokes.
I've been getting a bit tired of Gervais's self-satisfaction since the end of last year's Globes show, to be honest. I don't mind the put-on smugness within his act so much as the actual smugness of him "out of character" — inasmuch as there's a distinction — making a big deal out of being unapologetic about that smugness, which makes it all harder to take. [n.b. I'm also feeling pretty cranky myself at the moment.]
Since I appear to be faring terribly with the brevity thus far, I'll just offer a link to a list of winners before I move on to select commentary on the rest of the night.
The categories seemed more random than ever this year, apart from naturally slotting the pair of Best Picture categories, Drama and Comedy or Musical, as the finale bookend of Casual Minute with George Clooney. It gets particularly whiplash-inducing because the Globes cover both film and television.
Gerard Butler is already hard for me to take seriously, but he hit new levels of absurdity when,
Can words describe how archaic it is to have a Miss Golden Globes? Even if you take out the torso-oriented double entendre that Bette Midler so memorably brought to the fore one fine year, it's still awfully sexist. "Look! The fledgling model/actress daughter of a Hollywood star of some magnitude! What an honor for her to be done up in a nice dress and not say anything like proper eye candy!" Sigh...
I still haven't seen HBO's Mildred Pierce, but its nominations reminded me that it was helmed by Todd Haynes, writer/director of the beautiful Far from Heaven.
For that matter, I wish I'd seen a lot of other films and television programs nominated, if only to judge them properly. Most of the TV stuff was HBO, BBC America, and Showtime fare I've not more than heard good things about.
Even so, I can't believe that Kelsey Grammer's or any other performance by a male actor on TV last year was more award-worthy than Bryan Cranston's on AMC's Breaking Bad.
"If I were to write a song right now, it would be a tap-dance number," said Ludovic Bource, winning the Golden Globe for Best Original Score — Motion Picture. The Artist had in the aggregate the most charming acceptance speeches of the night, perhaps owing to English not being the filmmakers' first language and their general appreciation for the appreciation of this love letter to old Hollywood by present-day Hollywood.
Michelle Williams won for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Comedy or Musical for My Week with Marilyn. So was My Week with Marilyn a comedy or a musical? 'Cause I saw it and I didn't think it was either one (which is not damning it with a snide remark; I don't think it was intended to be).
In his acceptance speech for bringing to life Tyrion Lannister on HBO's Game of Thrones, Peter Dinklage concluded by mentioning "a gentleman in England I'm thinking about — Martin Henderson; Google 'im." This ensured a snake-eating-its-own-tail Google result that had Dinklage's plea returned highest in those results; the topic also trended on Twitter, as discussed in the very first Google hit I clicked, which explains who Henderson is.
Dinklage's category was, by the way, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television. As I mentioned last year, the male and female versions of this category cast so broad a net across genres and types of programming as to make comparisons absolutely impossible. Dinklage was up against Eric Stonestreet of ABC's Modern Family, for instance, while Jessica Lange of FX's American Horror Story beat out a field of five that included Sofia Vergara in Modern Family and Evan Rachel Wood in Mildred Pierce. At least one of those things is very not like the others.
Downton Abbey and BBC America's Luther are also infamously still in the Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television categories despite having run for more than one season.
The award for Animated Feature Film went to The Adventures of Tintin. I bet it would've been Rango if I hadn't started typing "Rango" just before the winner was announced — based purely on expectations, not on having seen any of the nominees, although of course I have to remember that it's kind-of impossible to be sure of any particular Globes victory since the voting pool doesn't even reach the triple digits in number.
Since Midnight in Paris writer/director Woody Allen wasn't there to pick up his hardware for Best Screenplay, I'd love to have seen somebody come in with a Woody impression to accept on his behalf — Jon Stewart (not really a mimic, but he does a recognizable Woody) wasn't there, so maybe Jimmy Fallon could've pulled it off.
My own — and, I suspect, everybody else's — award for Best Presentation goes to Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy for their quick a cappella ditty.
While I still have fond memories of Dustin Hoffman's mangling of the lyrics to No Doubt's "Hey Baby" at the Grammys several years ago, I still wasn't prepared for the bout of foot-in-mouth disease that led him, after he read off the names of such relative young'uns as Claire Danes and Mireille Enos, to ad-lib "my generation" when he got to Madeline Stowe in Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series — Drama. Hoffman was born in 1937, Stowe (who looks great) in... well, that might be rude, so I'll just say that it was a couple of years after Hoffman left college to pursue an acting career. Never mind that we're living in a world where a woman is suing IMDB for revealing her birth date on the grounds that the knowledge will make it harder for her to get cast in certain roles; Mr. Wishful Thinking was just plain wrong on the math by rounding Stowe's age up from "late Baby Boomer" to "whatever the generation born before Hitler invaded Europe is called".
The high-five between Tina Fey and Jane Lynch on "Penis joke!" was a bit forced but still a darned sight funnier than oh, say, Ricky Gervais introducing Madonna with a reference to a song older than all the kids in Modern Family put together. Who knew that it was possible to root for Madonna — or that she could think so quickly on her feet as to reply with an invitation for Gervais to come back on stage because it'd been a while since she kissed a girl?
Props go to the always game Helen Mirren, lamenting her lack of roles opposite Cecil B. DeMille Award recipient Morgan Freeman with the line, "For God's sake, I could've been a penguin." I'm so glad that they showed a clip from The Electric Company in his career-highlight reel — "I love / to take a bath / in a casket..." — even if there was no Easy Reader.
I was thrilled to see Martin Scorsese get the Best Director nod for Hugo, my favorite film of 2011 (in fact, one of my favorite films of all time), and I don't expect Globes Best Picture winners The Artist or The Descendants — one or both of which I hope to see this week — to change my mind in terms of rooting for Hugo to be crowned champion at the Oscars. Again, I realize that the HFPA is a small group and that the Globes aren't really a predictor of the Oscars except by chance — as opposed to the SAG awards, whose voting body overlaps with the largest segment of that of AMPAS. I just think that the life of every man, woman, and child on this planet would be enriched by seeing Hugo and want the word of its magnificence spread as widely as possible.
Although I'm happy for ABC's Modern Family I can't help thinking that NBC's Community and Parks and Recreation should both at least have been in the running if not actually holding the trophy. Disagreement with the slate of nominees to begin with is a key frustration in any batch of awards. Sofia Vergara and Steven Levitan's bilingual acceptance speech, however, was classic comedy, with Levitan soon straying far afield in his translation; even with a generous B in my one semester of college Spanish I know that Vergara was not promoting the fact that TV writers "may look pasty and nervous and out-of-shape but they are the greatest lovers I've ever had".
Perhaps the best line of the entire night came from Jean Dujardin after he won for his starring role in The Artist: "And as Douglas Fairbanks would say, ' .'"
I haven't seen The Iron Lady yet, but we all know that Meryl Streep is a virtual shoo-in at every awards show this season — not only because of her impressive skills of transformation but the fact that her acceptance speeches, like the one she gave last night, strike just the right note between humility and faux humility desired by her peers as well as showcase some tastefully shocking-just-shocking giggles. Her opening remark that "Ricky Gervais' deal fell through and they came to me to play Margaret Thatcher" counts as a side-splitter in this crowd, although I did like the line "I just want to thank my agent, Kevin Huvane, and God, Harvey Weinstein... The Punisher. Old Testament, I guess."
The bleeped moment is excised from the above-linked clip of her speech, but as Streep ascended to the stage I was actually thinking that I'd love to see her go off on a profanity-laced tirade — right when, lo and behold, she said "Oh shit..." upon realizing she forgot her glasses.
So that's my attempt to stick to a lightning-round approach. Given the amount of time and mental energy it takes to write up something relatively breezy like this (on which I've already taken notes, no less), I can't help but think that it would've been time and mental energy much better spent on any number of other things — like putting up another one of the many blogposts awaiting my attention or watching the entirety of Mildred Pierce.
All screencaps © 2012 NBCUniversal Media and/or The Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
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