What does it say when Golden Globes’ host Ricky Gervais is getting more post-show attention than the night’s winners (or January Jones’ gravity-defying dress)? Sure, Gervais’ sharp-tongued shots at various targets — from the easy (Charlie Sheen, Robert Downey Jr. and Mel Gibson) to the slightly less so (Steve Carell, Tim Allen and God) — were often insensitive and sometimes crass, but none of them were necessarily untruthful or even far from what most viewers would say about each recipient.
The British comic’s opening monologue rightly dissed the multiple nominations the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) lavished on The Tourist, a deeply undeserving Johnny Depp/Angelina Jolie vehicle whose praise was clearly influenced by the star power of its leads. (In fact, it was just one of a lame batch of Best Motion Picture — Comedy or Musical nominees; at least the lone worthwhile option, The Kids Are All Right, won.) It was a bold move for Gervais to tackle that glaring injustice from the get-go, giving the show a little bit of subversive credibility and immediately deflating Hollywood’s often self-important vision of itself.
But the night’s biggest Gervais-induced groan came via this nugget: “Also not nominated was I Love You Philip Morris. Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor as two heterosexual actors pretending to be gay — so the complete opposite of some famous Scientologists, then.”
More than a few attendees could be seen mouthing the word “wow.” Curiously, Christian Bale, who won a Globe for his supporting performance in The Fighter, seemed to be loving every minute of it.
My favorite Gervais quote arrived as the show was closing: “Thank you to God for making me an atheist.”
Apparently the HFPA was not amused.
“Ricky will not be invited back to host the show next year, for sure,” an unidentified HFPA member told The Huffington Post. “For sure any movie he makes he can forget about getting nominated. He humiliated the organization last night and went too far with several celebrities whose representatives have already called to complain.”
As if Gervais’ digs weren’t discomforting enough, Cecil B. DeMille Award winner Robert De Niro got in on the act by attempting to be funny during a tonally disjointed, sometimes painful acceptance speech that quickly extinguished most of the good vibes he earned during an extended, heartfelt pre-speech standing ovation from those in the room.
Speaking of painful, watching the brief montage of De Niro’s singular 40-year career is an almost perfect parallel timeline to illustrate how far Hollywood has fallen from its 1970s glory days — from Godfather II, The Deer Hunter and Raging Bull to The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, Hide and Seek and Little Fockers.
The night’s big winner was The Social Network, which won Best Motion Picture — Drama, Best Director (David Fincher), Best Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin) and Best Original Score (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross), and which is now probably the leading contender for Best Picture at the Oscars.
The big acting prize winners were no surprise: Natalie Portman for Black Swan and Colin Firth for The King’s Speech, both of whom are likely to be back on a podium later this year.