Streaming wins big at Golden Globes as host Ricky Gervais roasts Hollywood
Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Laura Dern won awards at Sunday’s Golden Globes, but they were all upstaged by the ceremony’s torched-earth opening by returning host Ricky Gervais.
Gervais opened the 77th Golden Globes by declaring movies irrelevant, pretending to confuse Joe Pesci for Baby Yoda, calling the Hollywood Foreign Press Association racist and declaring Netflix’s takeover of Hollywood complete.
Gervais, who has a series on Netflix, said he could summarize the three-hour award show with a simple phrase: “Well done, Netflix. You win.” The streaming giant came into the Globes with a commanding 34 nods: 17 in film categories and 17 in television categories.
Hosting the Globes for the fifth, and according to him last time, Gervais was perhaps even more cutting than before. He told executives in the room that journalist Ronan Farrow, who has exposed cases of sexual misconduct, was coming for them. He said something vulgar that got bleeped about Judi Dench’s part in Cats. And most of all, he mocked Hollywood hypocrisy, skewering stars for working for companies like Apple, Amazon and the Walt Disney Co. while giving speeches urging social change.
“If ISIS started a streaming service, you’d call your agent,” Gervais told the starry crowd Sunday at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.
“You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything,” he added. “You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg, so if you win, come up, accept your award, thank your agent and your god and [expletive] off.”
Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood began what was expected to be a good night for Tarantino’s Los Angeles fable with a win for best screenplay.
Best foreign language film went to Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite, the Cannes Palme d’Or winning sensation from South Korea. Despite being an organization of foreign journalists, the HFPA doesn’t include foreign films in its top categories, thus ruling out Parasite, a likely best picture nominee at next month’s Oscars.
One of the night’s biggest surprises came in the best directing category. Sam Mendes won for his war film 1917, a First World War tale made to appear it was made in one long shot, besting Martin Scorsese (The Irishman) and Tarantino.
“There is not one director in the world that is not in the shadow of Martin Scorsese,” Mendes said.
1917 later claimed another major prize, taking the win for best dramatic film.
Laura Dern, the best supporting actress front-runner for her performance as a divorce attorney in Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, won her fifth Globe. Her win denied Jennifer Lopez, the Hustlers star, her first major acting award.
Elton John and Bernie Taupin won the evening’s most heavyweight battle, besting Beyoncé and Taylor Swift. Their I’m Gonna Love Me Again won best song. “It’s the first time I’ve ever won an award with him,” said Elton of his song-writing partner. “Ever.”
Missing Link picked up an unexpected win for best animated feature film over films like Toy Story 4 and Lion King. No one was more surprised than its director, Chris Butler. “I’m flabbergasted,” he said.
The first award of the night went, fittingly, to a streaming service series. Ramy Youssef won best actor in a TV series comedy or musical for his Hulu show Ramy. Best actor in a limited series went to Russell Crowe for the Showtime series The Loudest Voice. He wasn’t in attendance because of raging wildfires in his native Australia.
“Make no mistake, the tragedy unfolding in Australia is climate-changed based,” Crowe said in a statement read by presenters Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.
Ahead of Sunday’s show, some wondered how much the rising tensions with Iran would be talked about following the U.S. targeted killing on Friday of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. But in the show’s first hour, the fires in Australia were the most mentioned news event.
Waller-Bridge followed up her Emmy haul by winning best comedy series and best actress in a comedy series. She thanked former President Barack Obama for putting Fleabag on his best-of-2019 list. With a grin, she added: “As some of you may know, he’s always been on mine.”
Waller-Bridge’s co-star Andrew Scott missed out on the category’s supporting actor award, which Stellan Skarsgard took for HBO’s Chernobyl.
HBO was also triumphant in best TV drama, where the second season of Succession bested Netflix’s The Crown and Apple TV Plus’ first Globe nominee, The Morning Show. Brian Cox, the Rupert Murdoch-like patriarch of Succession, also won best actor in a drama series.
Tom Hanks, also a nominee for his supporting turn as Fred Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, received the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award. The Carol Burnett Award, a similar honorary award given for television accomplishment, was given to Ellen DeGeneres. She was movingly introduced by Kate McKinnon who said DeGeneres’ example guided her in her own coming out.
“The only thing that made it less scary was seeing Ellen on TV,” said McKinnon.
Hanks’ speech had its own emotional moment. Just as he was beginning comments that would touch on the importance of actors being on time, Hanks caught sight of his wife and four children at a table near the stage and choked up.
“A man is blessed with the family’s sitting down front like that,” said Hanks.