“Good evening and welcome you bunch of despicable, spoiled, minimally talented brats!” proclaimed Tina Fey.
And with those words, the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards was underway. Much of the hoopla surrounding the evening concerned BFFs Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who were hosting the glitzy, booze-fueled ceremony for the third (and final) time—and the gals didn’t disappoint (when they were present).
Fey and Poehler’s opening monologue was chaotic, and plenty of fun. They claimed Emma Stone looked like one of Margaret Keane’s “big eyes” paintings, mocked Joaquin Phoenix’s hypocrisy for calling awards shows “utter bullshit” whilst attending the Globes, said Matthew McConaughey calls J.K. Simmons “Just Keep Simmons,” fired off a witty Selma joke (“Selma is about the American civil-rights movement that totally worked and now everything’s fine”), and then took a swipe at George Clooney, listing his wife Amal’s impressive accomplishments and closing with, “So, of course, her husband is getting a lifetime achievement award.”
The gals even played “would you rather” with actors and filmmakers, singling out Birdman filmmaker Alejandro Inarritu, whose film was edited together to look like a single continuous take, and Richard Linklater, whose movie Boyhood was shot off-and-on over the course of 12 years.
“Inarritu: One take, two hours straight, no stopping,” said Poehler. “Linklater: 5 minutes once a year,” added Fey.
But their biggest series of jokes—which caused Jessica Chastain and Lena Dunham to burst out laughing—were directed at comedian Bill Cosby, who’s been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting over 20 women:
“In Into the Woods, Cinderella runs from her prince, Rapunzel is thrown from a tower for her prince, and Sleeping Beauty just thought she was getting coffee with Bill Cosby,” Poehler said.
“I don’t know if you saw this on the news today,” Fey added, “but Bill Cosby has finally spoken out about the allegations against him. Cosby admitted to a reporter—” here, Fey delivered a bad Cosby impression—“I put the pills in the people! The people didn’t want the pills in them!”
“That’s not right,” added Poehler. “It’s more like [Cosby impression]: ‘I got the pills in the bathroom and I put them in the people!'”
There was also a selfie between Meryl Streep and a humorless, female (fake) North Korean journalist (played by Margaret Cho) attending the awards—which was photobombed by Benedict Cumberbatch. But besides that, Fey and Poehler were largely MIA from the Globes, sacrificed at the altar of expediency. Their glaring absence gave way to large chunks of time where… nothing humorous happened.
The most uncomfortable moment of the evening came courtesy of Avengers star Jeremy Renner, who, while presenting an award with the J. Lo, got embroiled in a bizarre exchange when it came to opening the envelope and announcing the winner.
“I’ve got the nails,” J. Lo said. Then, Renner put his foot firmly in his mouth with, “You’ve got the Globes, too”—referring to her shiny, cleavage-bearing gown.
Oh, and the inimitable Prince showed up looking like an over it Disco Jesus rocking an Afro and bedazzled scepter, before making a swift getaway to presumably sex several gorgeous women. And in case you needed further proof that Prince is a fabulous alien, everyone else onstage looked like they were sweating through a divorce proceeding, while The Purple One wouldn’t spare a drop.
But the Globes was mostly, as expected, a more serious affair; no longer the starfucking extravaganza that honors Hollywood’s biggest names just so they’ll show up (see: The Tourist), but lesser-known stars like Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything and Ruth Wilson for The Affair. Hell, The Affair even, oddly enough, won Best TV Drama over the likes of Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey, House of Cards, and The Good Wife.
There were also plenty of poignant speeches, like Transparent creator Jill Soloway’s dedication to the transsexual community, and Downton Abbey winner Joanne Froggatt’s honoring a rape survivor who emailed her after witnessing her TV character’s on-screen rape. And Gina Rodriguez, the CW Network’s first Golden Globe nominee (and winner) for Jane the Virgin, gave a very moving acceptance speech dedicated to the Latino community, saying, “This award is so much more than myself. It represents a culture that wants to see themselves as heroes.”
The biggest theme of the night, however, was “Je Suis Charlie”—a show of solidarity for the slain writers, editors, and cartoonists at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo who were gunned down by anti-free speech jihadis.
Joshua Jackson and girlfriend Diane Kruger held a “Je Suis Charlie” sign on the Globes red carpet, while Kathy Bates brandished the slogan on her cellphone. And, not to be outdone, George Clooney wore a “Je Suis Charlie” button on his tux, while recent bride Amal had one on her clutch.
“Je Suis Charlie” even made it into speeches, first by Theo Kingma, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, who announced, “We will stand united against anyone who suppresses free speech anywhere, from North Korea to Paris.” It was met with a standing ovation. And then a bearded Jared Leto, who gave a shout-out to “Je Suis Charlie” in broken French.
The night’s finest tribute to Charlie Hebdo—and moment, in general—was George Clooney’s stirring lifetime achievement award speech. After paying homage to fallen icons Lauren Bacall and Robin Williams, and saying how lucky he felt to, at 53, have finally found love with wife Amal Alamuddin, Clooney chose to dedicate the end of his speech to the unity marches in Paris and around the world in solidarity in honor of Charlie Hebdo and the power of free speech.“And one last thing: to reiterate what we’ve all been talking about, today was an extraordinary day,” said Clooney. “There were millions of people who marched not just in Paris, but around the world. And they were Christians and Jews and Muslims. They were leaders of countries all over the world. And they didn’t march in protest; they marched in support of the idea that we will not walk in fear. We won’t do it. So, Je Suis Charlie. Thank you.”
Despite the 125 cases of magnum Champagne circulating in the room, the gala provided a sobering viewing experience. Yes, the Golden Globes are no longer Oscar’s inebriated, carefree cousin, but rather a “serious” awards show. Time will tell if that’s actually what people want.