The cynical host and gracious winners of The Golden Globes
By John C.
Partway through last night’s telecast of The Golden Globes, I tweeted that I was “enjoying the show” and was “pretty happy with the results.” I tweeted sparingly through the night, but only used the social networking site to congratulate some of the deserving winners and never actually took the time to offer my thoughts on the telecast.
As The Golden Globes are seen as nothing more than another stop on the long road to the Oscars, it’s easy to be cynical of the awards given out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. But whether you were watching simply to gawk at the many good-looking celebrities, or to appreciate the fine films of last year that were being recognized, it was a mostly entertaining – if sometimes off-colour evening.
Host Ricky Gervais got in some funny jokes, but his consistent mockery of the presenters and nominees got more offensive as the night went on. The only title that he offered a word of encouragement to was The Social Network, which he referenced as his favourite of last year. But for the most part, even the funniest of his jokes were met with awkward laughter. Using the last second of the telecast to “thank God for making him an atheist,” was out-of-place and seemed somewhat of a cynical mockery of the night’s festivities.
Presenter Robert Downey Jr. got one of the best quips at Gervais, saying, “Aside from the fact that it’s been hugely mean-spirited with mildly sinister undertones, I’d say the show’s going pretty good so far, wouldn’t you?” Near the end, Tom Hanks recalled back when Gervais was a “slightly chubby but very kind comedian,” to which Tim Allen quickly replied, “neither of which he is now.”
In terms of the film-based awards, they all went to the predicted recipients. Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right triumphed over the admittedly thin competition for best comedy or musical, and David Fincher’s The Social Network – which easily swept all but the acting categories, was named the best drama. The telling of the Facebook story was also recognized with awards for Fincher’s direction, and Aaron Sorkin’s briliantly snappy screenplay.
Pixar’s masterpiece Toy Story 3 ultimately got a very satisfying triumph in the animated category, but in a field also showcasing Despicable Me, How To Train Your Dragon, The Illusionist and Tangled, anyone could have deserved the award. Director Lee Unkrich’s acceptance speech and sincere appreciation of the many audiences that have embraced the film was honest and straight from the heart.
Original song predictably went to Cher’s “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” from the ridiculously cheesy musical Burlesque, where as Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ work on The Social Network won for best score. Reznor and Ross were deserving recipients, but I personally might have recognized either Inception or The King’s Speech in this category.
I was consistently most pleased with the results in the acting categories. On the comedy side of things, Annette Bening picked up Best Actress for her work in The Kids Are All Right, and Paul Giamatti was named Best Actor for his portrayal of the title character in Barney’s Version. After hyper praise for presenter Halle Berry, (as well as the Godiva chocolates on the table), Giamatti’s salute to “the great nation of Canada” was a welcome nod to author Mordecai Richler.
Both awards for supporting actors went to members of the outstanding ensemble cast that made up The Fighter. The first win of the night was for Christian Bale’s brilliant portrayal of the drug addicted boxing has-been Dicky Ecklund, and late in the evening Melissa Leo picked up the award for her equally great performance as Ecklund’s mother.
Colin Firth got Best Actor for his outstanding work in The King’s Speech, and accepted with all of the grace that you would expect from the great British actor. The strikingly beautiful (and pregnant) Natalie Portman winning Best Actress for her excellent work in Black Swan was predicted, but perfect. Her acceptance speech was a gracious and spot-on appreciation of her family and the award. These were two of my favourite wins for the night.
On the TV side of things, it was satisfying to have Boardwalk Empire pick up an award for lead actor Steve Buscemi, as well as be named the best dramatic series of last year. Glee deservingly triumphed in the other category, and supporting actor Chris Colfer also picked up an acting award for his excellent work on the musical TV show. In his charming acceptance speech, Colfer dedicated the award to those in highschool who are bullied for their differences.
The excellent HBO biopic Temple Grandin picked up an award for lead actress Claire Danes’ brilliant work in the title role. One of the most gratifying and touching moments of the night was when the real Grandin, who was also on hand, spontaneously embraced Claire Danes, before the actress went up to accept the award.
Back on the film side of things, Robert De Niro was a very deserving recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award, and was recognized with a great video tribute and a very entertaining acceptance speech. All in all, it was a mostly entertaining – if predictable and somewhat off-colour evening, that will likely have nothing on the all around more sophisticated Academy Awards come February 27th.