A Kinder, Gentler Gervais? Dream On.
While he wasn’t quite as acerbic as he was last year, Ricky Gervais still sharpened his rapier wit to a nigh-uncomfortably fine point in his role as host. “The Golden Globes are just like the Oscars, but without all that … esteem,” he joked, before launching into a cavalcade of jokes including one about, uh, “Jodie Foster’s 'Beaver.'”
A Fine Speech From Plummer
Christopher Plummer’s win for Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture kept us from having to live in a world where Jonah Hill is an award winner. The Beginners actor gave a touching speech that opened with, “What a wonderful welcome back to the home of King Kong, Rin Tin Tin, and all our youthful fantasies,” and closed with thanking his wife, “whose bravery and beauty haunts me still.”
Critical darling Downton Abbey snatched up a win for Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television. Julian Fellowes, the show’s creator, remarked, “The whole Downton adventure has been an extraordinary one, like spotting a promising child, and waking up to find they’ve won the Olympics.”
A Win for Madge
Madonna picked up her second Golden Globe (the first was for her acting turn in Evita) for the original song “Masterpiece,” which she composed for the movie she directed, W.E. She thanked her manager, Guy Oseary, saying, “He harangued me the entire time I was filming and editing my movie to write a song for the film, and I said, ‘Please, Guy, I’m trying to focus on being a director, and I want people to pay attention to the film, and I don’t have time.’”
Freud Would Have a Field Day With This …
You probably thought Ricky Gervais would be responsible for the most uncomfortable joke of the evening, but no! At the one-hour mark, Seth Rogen came galloping in with, “Hello, I’m Seth Rogen, and I’m currently trying to conceal a massive erection.” This was, alas, only the most obvious of what would be the evening’s many, many penis-related jokes. When even Tina Fey and Jane Lynch are indulging in wang-related humor, you know there’s something going around.
Michelle Makes Marilyn Proud
An adorably flustered Michelle Williams, who won Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture—Comedy or Musical for her turn in My Week With Marilyn, thanked her daughter for “sending me off to this job every day with a hug and a kiss” and for “suffering through six months of bedtime stories where all the princesses were read aloud in a Marilyn Monroe–sounding voice.” Best of all, she thanked the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for “putting in my hands the same award Marilyn Monroe herself won over 50 years ago.”
Madonna vs. Ricky
The rather lackluster awards show perked up at the 90-minute mark when Ricky Gervais took on the Material Girl herself. After saying she’s “just ‘Like a Virgin,’” followed by a noise implying she’s anything but, Gervais introduced Madonna as the next presenter. “If I’m still just ‘Like a Virgin,’ Ricky, then why don’t you come over here and do something about it? I haven’t kissed a girl in a few years. On TV,” the pop siren rejoindered, prompting Ricky to make a mad dash across the stage behind her.
Octavia Spencer Helps The Help
It’s apropos that Octavia Spencer, who in The Help stole every scene she was in, made off with a Golden Globe for her effort. The audience gave the actress a full-hearted round of applause as she made her way to the stage to collect her award. “With regard to domestics in this country, now and then, I think Dr. King said it best: All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance, and I thank you for recognizing that with our film,” she said.
Morgan Freeman Scrub-a-Dub-Dubs
It’s hard to say what was more thrilling: Morgan Freeman winning a much-deserved Cecil B. De Mille Award for his decades of brilliant work in film, or the clip of him taking a bubble bath in a coffin from his time on The Electric Company. Actually, it’s not hard to say at all—it was totally the latter.
¿Hablas Modern Family?
Ricky Gervais earned himself a bleep for saying he couldn’t “understand a fucking word” they say, in regards to presenters Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas. Banderas responded with a fiery spate of Spanish, which Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara continued when her show won Best Television Series—Comedy or Musical a few moments later.
Meryl Streep: Nearsighted and Far-Seeing
One of the evening’s highlights was undoubtedly Meryl Streep’s speech after she won Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture—Drama for her performance as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. She called her win “really embarrassing in a year that saw so many extraordinary performances by women in leading roles,” then swore when she realized she had left her glasses at her table. “Oh, I’m gonna have to remember my speech!” An aborted effort was made to pass her glasses up to her, but no matter, Streep still made a wonderful, heartfelt speech that proved her to be, as always, a class act.
The Puppy and the Tearjerker
Despite almost being upstaged by an adorable pup, producer Thomas Langmann, whose film The Artist won Best Motion Picture—Comedy or Musical, gave a touching acceptance speech, relating the story of how his father, Claude Berri, couldn’t afford the plane fare to come over to the States to collect his own Oscar in 1965.
George Clooney Wins for The Descendants
Despite stealing Brad Pitt’s cane earlier in the evening, The Descendants star George Clooney used his speech for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion picture—Drama to honor his friend, praising him not just for his acting but for the “wonderful work he does in the rest of the world for the rest of the people—I’m a fan.” He then continued the evening’s tradition of phallic humor by saying Michael Fassbender could play golf with his hands behind his back. Ye gods.
And the Winner Is …
The evening ended with a not-entirely-unsurprising Best Motion Picture—Drama win for The Descendants, nicely setting up a neck-and-neck Best Picture Oscars race between it and The Artist.