The Golden Globes are my favourite award show. The combination of humour and sincerity that can only be achieved when A-List celebrities, precious auteurs and television “we’re just happy to be here” actors are shoved sardine-like into a hotel ballroom and given as much booze as they can (or can’t) handle. An extra hat-tip this year to the Beverly Hilton who forgot to turn on the AC making melting orange spray tan the look of the evening.
This year, however, wasn’t quite the shitshow that the Globes can sometimes be. Amy Poehler & Tina Fey did a solid ten and then, as happens every year, twitter questioned where they went for the next 2 hours. The audience seemed to laugh hardest at how they introduced Amal Clooney to America:
“Amal is a human rights lawyer who worked on the Enron case, was an advisor to Kofi Annan regarding Syria and was selected for a three person U.N. commission investigating rules of war violations in the Gaza Strip. So tonight her husband is getting a lifetime achievement award.”
Quickly followed by massive gasps at their series of Bill Cosby rape jokes & pill/pudding pop impressions. Fun fact re: Amal, she actually sewed her own gloves the morning of the Awards. And when Ryan Seacrest interviewed the couple on the red carpet she pointed out the “Je Suis Charlie” button on her bag “in solidarity with the people of France”.
It wouldn’t be the last time the recent Charlie Hebdo tragedy was mentioned. In fact the Hollywood Foreign Press Association President talked about how important free speech is whether it be North Korea or Paris to a standing ovation. Helen Mirren, nominated for her role as a French chef in the 100 Foot Journey, wore a fountain pen pinned to her lapel.
The evening overall seemed to be sending a message of diversity. Breakout star Gina Rodriguez won Best Actress in a TV Musical or Comedy for her leading role on Jane the Virgin, a show which fluidly slips between Spanish & English. In her acceptance speech she said how she was grateful to represent “a culture that wants to see themselves as heroes”. (The title for this piece “I Can & I Did” came from how she paid tribute to her father.) Maggie Gyllenhaal won Best Actress in a Miniseries for the Honourable Woman, a show in which she played an arms dealer trying to reconcile things between Israel & Palestine, and gave quite the feminist speech.
The Amazon show Transparent won for Best TV Series, and the star Jeffrey Tambor won for Best Actor in a TV Musical or Comedy. A show about a Transgender person aired on a non-cable service won twice. And everyone cheered. The movie Pride was nominated (and I suspect, introduced for the first time to North American audiences) about UK gay activists who raised money to help during the Miners’ Strike. Matt Bomer got to thank his husband after winning best Supporting Actor in a Made for TV Film (the Normal Heart), which was about the AIDS epidemic.
Common & John Legend won for Best Original Song ‘Glory’ from the film about Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights movement, Selma. Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt won a best Supporting Actress award for her work during a storyline about rape. Eddie Redmayne won best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama about the life of Stephen Hawking (the Theory of Everything) and becoming paralyzed from ALS. Julianne Moore won Best Actress (Still Alice), beating all the younger nominees, in a role about a women with early onset Alzheimer’s. And Richard Linklater won Best Director for Boyhood (which also won Best Picture) for filming an indie movie over 12 years.
The message from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association this year was clear: Be different. Be brave. Be you.