As more than one awards hound remarked on Twitter last night: HFPA gonna HFPA. The notoriously, uh, unorthodox Hollywood Foreign Press Association made waves once again last night by zigging where everyone else expected a zag, and not always in a pleasant sort of way. The result was a disjointed, poorly paced ceremony, and such a far cry, tonally speaking, from last year’s awards—the #MeToo Globes, as it were—that we wondered if we had our dates wrong. Still, there were enough bright spots to keep us trading text messages well into the night. We break down the telecast’s biggest winners and losers below.
Read the full list of winners at the 76th Golden Globe Awards here.
Winner: Sandra Oh
“I’m not fooling myself. Next year could be different and probably will be. But right now, this moment is real.” Co-host Sandra Oh’s sincere, refreshingly frank remarks at the end of the opening monologue set the tone for the night—right down to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s shift from reasonably forward-thinking nominations to strikingly conservative awards, unfortunately. But her earnestness, culminating in the ceremony’s sweetest moment, felt authentic: Could anyone have predicted, at this time last year, that Oh’s career was in for such a meteoric rise? Let’s make sure her moment continues, on Killing Eve and beyond.
Loser: Andy Samberg
The Brooklyn Nine-Nine actor started strong, selling a spoof of Ricky Gervais hosting the Globes to the hilt, but from his poor attempt at a misconceived Black Panther joke onward, it was hard not to watch Samberg as Ryan Coogler did: warily. That’s because, as Variety’s Daniel D’Addario notes in his review of the telecast, the strenuous kindness of the anti-Gervais approach—very much Samberg’s comic brand—seemed out of place at a moment in which Hollywood is in need of trenchant self-criticism. Plus, as the ceremony (and many of the speeches) marched on, the space of Samberg to carve out a place for himself winnowed, and finally disappeared, and unlike his co-host, he didn’t have a statuette to fall back on. Don’t feel too bad for Samberg, though: The Nine-Nine returns, on a new network and to much fanfare, later this week.
My biggest takeaway from the Golden Globes? If I play my cards right, maybe the children I currently have to beg to brush their teeth and put their shoes on will grow up and thank me at an award show. The night’s best moment came when Oh, winning for her star turn in Killing Eve, gave a heartfelt thanks in Korean to her parents, who were brimming with pride in the audience. Darren Criss gave a shout-out to his “firecracker” Filipina mother: “You are hugely responsible for most of the good things in my life,” he said. And Glenn Close spoke of how her mother gave so much of herself to her family that at the end of her life she felt as if she had accomplished very little—then used it as a call for women everywhere to find their personal fulfillment. Every parent knows that it’s a thankless job filled with long days. You do it out of love for your children and you hope upon hope that you are doing everything right. For these parents last night, they knew they did something right and the whole world did too.
Look, we all know that presenters are stuck with mostly groan-inducing banter, but usually there’s a bright spot amid all the mundane, perfunctory presenting. Not so at this year’s Globes, which saw some presenters just give up. (Did William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman think it was cute to say “witty banter” with been there/done that ennui? I mean maybe they’re over award shows, but the millions of people watching at home aren’t.) The worst moment came when Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler began their bit by mocking supporting actors before presenting the supporting actor award. Then, as if lambasting the hard work of their peers wasn’t enough, Rudolph “proposed” to Poehler in a bit that clearly mocked Glenn Weiss’ proposal to his girlfriend during his Emmy acceptance speech. Whatever you thought of that moment, why ridicule someone’s joy months later?
From being the hosts’ home medium to the inaugural Carol Burnett Award for Lifetime Achievement, television won the night. (The montage of clips from Burnett’s brilliant career, by far the night’s funniest segment, was proof enough that TV was an art form long before it came to be seen as such by arbiters of high culture.) The ceremony, front-loaded with TV awards, produced Oh’s popular win—and stirring acceptance speech—for Best Actress (Drama Series); three (!) wins combined for top-notch queer miniseries The Assassination of Gianni Versace and A Very English Scandal; and a long overdue Best Drama Series award for The Americans. Its most “controversial” moments featured a harmless Netflix comedy (The Kominsky Method), and a British thriller worth obsessing over (Bodyguard). Not too shabby.
Meanwhile, the hosts’ strained gag about TV star Jim Carrey (Kidding) being forced to sit in the back after years up front with the popular kids soured further as the night wore on: When four of the HFPA’s 14 film awards (two apiece) go to a race-relations biopic (Green Book) that’s been more or less disavowed by one of its subjects’ families and a straight-washed music biopic shadowed by allegations of sexual assault of a minor levied against its ex-director, it’s hard to argue that the Globes highlighted the medium’s best. (That producers on both projects deflectedquestions from the press backstage only emphasized the film awards’ uncomfortable, deflating message.)
Winner: Alcohol and Other Substances
Everyone always gets drunk at the Globes. It’s kind of their thing, as Tyler Perry so aptly pointed out. But I can’t remember a time when the imbibing off-stage so directly affected what was happening on stage. Jeff Bridges did his best Jeff Bridges and made even less sense than usual (tag, you’re it!). Bill Murray could barely get his words out. Harrison Ford looked like he didn’t quite know why he was there. It certainly looked like everyone was having a great time. Too bad the audience at home wasn’t in on the fun.
Loser: The Audience
Tough crowd doesn’t begin to explain how the audience in the Beverly Hills ballroom behaved. I’m not saying the Samberg/Oh opening was great, by any means—but the almost hostile audience barely even cracked a smile at any of the jokes. (I mean, come on: “One lucky audience member will host the Oscars” was funny.) Worse than the fact the audience refused to play along was the fact that they would not quiet down. Even my four year old knows it’s rude to talk while others are talking! But the loud chatter that almost overtook what was happening on stage was downright embarrassing. Speaking of embarrassing—I’m all set with the seating assignments, too. Yes, Oh and Samberg made a joke about Jim Carrey having to sit back in the “lowly” TV section, but who are we kidding here? Gone are the days when TV played second-class citizen to the movies. It’s not just that movie stars are now TV stars. (Hi Julia! Hi Nicole!). It’s the TV is the creative medium of choice these days. And the position of the cast of A Star Is Born front and center when they only won one award shows how predictions often don’t match the eventual winners—and that the Globes will always surprise.
Winner: Women Accepting Awards
If one were to compile a “greatest hits” super-cut of the 76th Golden Globe Awards, it might contain only women. (Possible exception: Samberg telling Jeff Bridges, “I wish you were my dad.) There was Burnett, accepting the lifetime achievement prize named in her honor, offering genuinely incisive criticism of network TV that’s become so risk-averse that The Carol Burnett Show couldn’t be made today. There was Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk) announcing a concrete commitment to gender parity on projects she produces. There was Patricia Clarkson praising her Sharp Objects director Jean-Marc Vallée: “You demanded everything of me except sex, which is exactly how it should be in this industry.” And there were two Best Actresses, Olivia “Ma Bitches” Colman (The Favourite) and the legendary Glenn Close (The Wife), delivering charming, heartfelt thanks—and setting up a bona fide Oscar showdown, with Lady Gaga waiting in the wings. For the third year running, after Meryl Streep and Oprah Winfrey’s highly political speeches accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award, women made the night memorable.
Loser: Men Accepting Awards
Jeff Bridges is a fine actor and, it seems, a fun guy to spend a Sunday evening with—but his rambling, blissed-out DeMille Award speech paled in comparison to the conversation-dominating moments of the past two years. In 2019, as it happens not being political, is the height of privilege: Thus the anodyne acceptances of the Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book winners, exceedingly careful not to upset the apple cart of their Oscar prospects by addressing tough subjects, or even The Assassination of Gianni Versace winner gently skirting his recent pledge to stop playing gay in order to accept one last (admittedly well deserved) prize for doing so. Men in 2019 aren’t canceled yet, but at this rate it’s an open question whether they’ll make it to May sweeps.
Amy Amatangelo, the TV Gal®, is a Boston-based freelance writer, a member of the Television Critics Association and the Assistant TV Editor for Paste. She wasn’t allowed to watch much TV as a child and now her parents have to live with this as her career. You can follow her on Twitter (@AmyTVGal) or her blog .
Matt Brennan is the TV editor of Paste Magazine. He tweets about what he’s watching @thefilmgoer.