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The 2016 Golden Globes Were Drunk and Awkward as Hell

A dumpster fire lighted by Ricky Gervais, basically.
January 11, 2016, 2:00pm
Host Ricky Gervais at the 73rd Golden Globe Awards. Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

The Golden Globes have long been known as the looser, drunker, more risqué cousin to the Academy Awards. In recent years the event has been known for Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's Bill Cosby impression and the 2008 writers' strike. However, to hear host Ricky Gervais—himself a winner of three Globes—tell it last night, the awards are "worthless"—best used for a "doorstop," something to "hit burglars with," or an object to "[shove] up my arse."


Last night's ceremony—the 73rd, hosted at the Beverly Hills Hilton in Los Angeles, —included Sean Penn/El Chapo jokes, more than a few testy exchanges, and some unexpected award-winners, including a cookie-sharing Taraji P. Henson (of Empire fame) taking home her first Globe, and Crazy Ex-Girlfrind's Rachel Bloom, not to mention Lady Gaga (American Horror Story: Hotel). Her victory over Queen Latifah prompted a miffed, GIF-able look from Leonardo DiCaprio, whose chair she bumped on the way to the stage to accept her award. At the time of publication, a Vine of the exchange had racked up over 30 million loops.

Carol—the sole film with five nominations—was shut out, while The Revenant secured three top honors: Best Actor in a Drama for Leonardo DiCaprio, Best Director for Alejandro G. Iñárritu, and Best Picture, Drama. Iñárritu is the reigning Oscar-winner for best director—his 2014 film Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) raked in four Academy Awards, including Best Picture. However, last year's Best Director Golden Globe went to Richard Linklater for Boyhood. As for DiCaprio, 41, this marked his third Golden Globe win in 11 nominations. He previously won for The Aviator (2005) and The Wolf of Wall Street (2014).

During their respective turns at the podium, the collaborators traded praise. "Leo, you are the guy. Thank you for making this the best experience of my life," Iñárritu said. A few minutes later, DiCaprio, a consummate awards-season contender who's yet to earn an Oscar, received a standing ovation. "This film was about survival, it was about adaptation, it was about the triumph of the human spirit, but more than anything, it was about trust. And there's no one more deserving of that trust than our director, Alejandro Iñárritu."


DiCaprio closed his speech with an environmental call to action. "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 people that are out there to exploit them. It is time that we heard your voice and protected this planet for future generations." This was only one of two political statements delivered in this round of award acceptance speeches; the other occurred when the producers of Best Television Limited Series Wolf Hall implored British Prime Minister David Cameron to continue funding BBC programming.

Another film that garnered multiple statuettes was Steve Jobs, for Best Supporting Actress (Kate Winslet) and Best Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin). Ridley Scott's The Martian also picked up awards for Best Actor (Matt Damon) and Best Picture, Comedy, but the fact that the dire plight of Damon's stranded astronaut character was somehow labeled "comedic" was a recurring joke throughout the evening. Before Damon introduced the film, Gervais made the actor squirm by calling him "the only person who Ben Affleck hasn't been unfaithful to."

Like DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence also won her third Golden Globe, this time for Joy, the story of Joy Magano, the inventor of the Miracle Mop. "Every time I'm up here it is because of you," she said to director David O. Russell, who previously directed her Globe-winning performances in Silver Linings Playbook (2012) and American Hustle (2013). "Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for your brilliance. Thank you for teaching me so much, professionally, personally. Your love of cinema is so pure." When onstage earlier in the evening to introduce their films, she and BFF Amy Schumer engaged in some naughty banter that's likely a preview of their upcoming screenplay. When they were coming up with nicknames for themselves, Lawrence asked Schumer, "What do people usually call you?" "Usually they just call me 'cunt,'" Schumer appeared to respond (the dialog was bleeped).


Besides that palpable tension the audience felt radiating off the censors, there was a stiff exchange between Gervais and Mel Gibson. During one of his previous Globes host outgigs, Gervais made a few jokes at Gibson's expense. Tonight Gervais had the awkward task of introducing Gibson, which he chose to make considerably more awkward. "I want to say something nice about Mel before he comes out," he began. "So OK, here you go: I'd rather have a drink with him in his hotel room tonight than with Bill Cosby." When Gibson, who is reportedly sober, came out from behind the curtain, Gervais ostentatiously lifted his beer glass out of sight. To which Gibson remarked, "I love seeing Ricky once every three years, 'cause it reminds me to get a colonoscopy." After disappearing momentarily, Gervais returned to the stage to ask one last question—"What the fuck does sugar tits even mean?" a reference to what Gibson allegedly called one of the female officers who booked him for a DUI in 2006. Gervais took one last jab at Gibson at the end of the telecast, choosing the parting words: "From myself and Mel Gibson, Shalom," an allusion to the actor's infamous antisemitic rants from that same night.

Still, the most uncomfortable moment of the three-plus-hour show was, unexpectedly, not courtesy of Gervais, whose jokes about Caitlyn Jenner and Transparent actor Jeffrey Tambor some critics called "transphobic" and "unsettling." Actress Lily James (who, incidentally, caused a stir when her character, Rose, fell in love with a black jazz singer on Downton Abbey) presented Best Score with Oscar-winner and Django Unchained star Jamie Foxx. Foxx unclasped the envelope and announced the "winner": Straight Outta Compton, a film that was not nominated. Then Foxx segued into his best impression of Steve Harvey broadcasting the wrong winner at last month's Miss Universe Pageant. "I'm sorry folks, I've made a mistake. It's right here on the card, I take full responsibility," Foxx parodied. The actual winner was 87-year-old Ennio Morricone for The Hateful Eight, and director Quentin Tarantino accepted the statue on Morricone's behalf. In late October, Tarantino participated in a New York City rally opposing police brutality, leading some officers to pledge they'd boycott The Hateful Eight.

Knowing his level of political awareness, it's fair to wonder if Tarantino spoke with intent when he said, "Do you realize that Ennio Morricone, who as far as I am concerned is my favorite composer—and when I say favorite composer, I don't mean movie composer, that ghetto…" and he proceeded to speak of Morricone as a contemporary of Mozart and Beethoven. After Tarantino wrapped up his speech, Foxx stared deep into the camera and uttered one word: "Ghetto," before moving on with the show. And so it goes with awards season in the internet age—weird, very public moments followed by trying to pretend nothing weird or very public happened while everyone else replays it over and over at home until, eventually, we lose interest.

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