Critic’s Notebook: All at the Globes Wasn’t Golden
Before we start obsessing over the Oscar nominations (which will be announced in a week), here are a few takeaways from Sunday’s almost entirely forgettable Golden Globes ceremony.
If You Don’t Want to Be There, Why Should We?
No shtick is more tiresome than that of a host pretending to be too bored to care. So while Ricky Gervais was predictably mean in his monologue humor, very few of his jokes scored. (His opening crack about Felicity Huffman bombed, because it’s truly not funny to mock someone who has actually shown remorse.) Reading off note cards for the duration of the show, as if he couldn’t be bothered to even make eye contact with the starry room, Gervais ultimately came off like a pathetic brat who, once ignored, let his bleeps do all the work.
Netflix Is the Big Cheese, But Not the Big Winner
Though dominating the Globes races with 17 nominations in both the movie and TV fields, Netflix couldn’t capitalize with many major wins. If not for Olivia Colman’s much-deserved win for The Crown—kudos for her admission in a delightful acceptance that she’d gotten “a little bit boozy”—Netflix would have gone empty-handed in the TV categories.
HBO was the big winner, with multiple wins for Succession and Chernobyl. Streaming rival Hulu did well with surprise wins: Ramy Youssef as comedy actor, for his underappreciated Ramy; and Patricia Arquette upsetting Big Little Lies‘ Meryl Streep in the supporting category as the mad mother of The Act. To no one’s surprise, Amazon Prime Video’s Fleabag was the big winner in comedy. (In the movie arena, Sam Mendes’ 1917 upstaged Netflix’s greatest hope: Martin Scorsese’s epic The Irishman.)
Tom Hanks and Ellen DeGeneres Stole the Show
Often the highlight of many Globes nights, this year’s career tributes were especially welcome, given the dour tone of the rest of the show. Tom Hanks (the Cecil B. DeMille Award for film) and Ellen DeGeneres (the Carol Burnett Award for TV) lived up to their reputations as beloved entertainers with charming, inspiring speeches.
Hanks, fighting a cold, choked up as he praised his family, while DeGeneres brought down the house by thanking “my husband Mark, you are my rock, thank you for supporting me through this crazy journey.” (Her wife, Portia de Rossi, seemed to really enjoy the gag.)
No Ignoring the Real World
Though Gervais derisively implored the winners to just accept their awards and get off the stage, leaving politics out of it, the fires in Australia and the conflict in Iraq made that impossible for some, including an absent Russell Crowe, Patricia Arquette, Joaquin Phoenix—and Michelle Williams of Fosse/Verdon, who once again proved herself to be an artful master of the awards stage, using the occasion to frame her own career choices as a metaphor for a woman’s right to choose. (This moment was especially notable as it was recently reported that she is expecting a child with her fiancé, Hamilton director and Fosse/Verdon director-producer Thomas Kail.) She implored women to “vote in your own self-interest. It’s what men have been doing for years.”
And we give the last words to Awkwafina, who noted after her win as comedy actress for the movie The Farewell: “This is great. If I fall upon hard times, I can sell this, so this is good.”
Or she could maybe host the Globes. They’ve seen worse.