Ricky Gervais hosted the Golden Globes on Sunday night. Why? Good question! This is perhaps a question that the Golden Globes powers-that-be are asking themselves this fine Monday morning, as they shake off their hangovers, take a long, hard look in their mirrors, and relive some of Gervais’ more tragic moments as a host.
Gervais appeared to not only have no interest in attending the event but to have total disdain for every single person and film and television show being honored that night. There is the argument to be made that this is “his thing,” but hating on literally everyone and everything around you is not a “thing,” unless that thing is “being terrible.”
The most striking thing about Gervais, in the wake of the brilliant, loving but subversive work of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler — the dream team Golden Globes masters of ceremonies for the past three years — was how very regressive he was. It is almost as if, instead of paying attention to the cultural conversation, he spent the past three years in a bunker and emerged assuming anyone sharp enough to love Transparent and Orange is the New Black would find transphobic jokes about Eddie Redmayne, star of The Danish Girl, were even a little bit funny.
It was a strange night, and not just because someone in charge of sound was way overdoing it on the bleeps. Steve Jobs, a movie that had to be pulled from over 2,000 theaters because no one wanted to see it, netted prizes for both supporting actress Kate Winslet and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. Spotlight, which a person (editor’s note: this person) could say was the best film of the year, won nothing. Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle, which approximately 83 percent of people know about because advertisements for it play in between episodes of The Man in the High Castle, won Best Comedy Series, beating out last year’s victor, Transparent. Mad Men’s Jon Hamm, accepting the award for Best Actor in a Drama Series, made a perfectly great “Chumbawumba” joke that no one in the room seemed to appreciate or understand. Denzel Washington remembered to bring his family onstage with him, but he forgot his glasses, and damn if it wasn’t the most charming stretch of the evening.
Possibly the most “wait, what?” sequence of the proceedings: Son of Saul, the Hungarian drama about a prisoner at Auschwitz trying to secretly give his son a proper burial, won Best Foreign Film. As director and co-writer László Nemes accepted his award, he said, “The Holocaust has become, over the years, an abstraction. For me, it is a face. A human face. Let us not forget this.”
After that, Gervais introduced Mel Gibson, noted Holocaust denier. Gervais said he was not comfortable having Gibson around, and that Gibson wasn’t too thrilled, either. “I blame NBC for this terrible situation. Mel blames — we know who Mel blames.” The kindest words Gervais claimed he can summon for the man: “I’d rather have a drink with him in his hotel room than with Bill Cosby.” Gibson was there to honor Mad Max: Fury Road, as he starred in the original back in 1979. We were all so much younger then.
Fortunately for those who stuck around for the three-hour (!!!) awards show, one presenting duo demonstrated how it’s done. Eva Longoria and America Ferrera — two people, Gervais assured the audience, that “your future president, Donald Trump, can’t wait to deport” — performed a perfect, just-long-enough little riff about how they are constantly mistaken for other women of color. (Some background: Ferrera was one of the announcers of the Golden Globes nominees; the official Golden Globes Twitter account mistakenly identified her as Gina Rodriguez, star of Jane the Virgin.)
Longoria: Yes, hi, I’m Eva Longoria. Not Eva Mendes.
Ferrera: And hi, I’m American Ferrera. Not Gina Rodriguez.
Longoria: And neither of us are Rosario Dawson.
Ferrera: Nope. Well said, Salma.
Longoria: Thank you, Charo.
Best joke of the night, by far.
A few other honorable mentions:
● Jamie Foxx, while presenting the award for Best Score, opened the envelope and declared that the winner was Straight Outta Compton. The biopic about the beginnings of N.W.A. wasn’t nominated… in any category.
● National treasure Taraji P. Henson, accepting the award for Best Actress in a Television Drama for her delicious performance as Cookie Lyon on Empire, cheered that she could be up on stage for playing a woman “who spends 17 years in jail for selling crack.” Her takeaway? “So the world loves real.”
● Longtime environmental activist, side-eye superstar, and five-time Oscar loser Leonardo DiCaprio won Best Actor in a Motion Picture: Drama for his role in The Revenant. (His valiant costar, The Bear, was not nominated.) At the end of his acceptance speech — the orchestra had already started playing, but at this, they quieted down — he said: “I want to share this award with all the first nations people represented in this film, and all the indigenous communities around the world. it is time that we recognize your history and that we protect your indigenous lands from corporate interests and from people that are out there to exploit them, it is time that we heard your voice and protected this planet for future generations.”