The Golden Globes

by Alafair Burke

Some TV events have to be viewed with a group: the Super Bowl, big series finales, political debates, and award ceremonies.  Last night, I watched the Golden Globe Awards with a group of friends.

After several years of falling very behind on movies, I am somewhat in the loop this year, thanks to a Saturday morning matinee routine with fellow author and neighbor Jonathan Hayes.  As such, I can actually follow what’s going on this award season.

Here are a few (somewhat random) thoughts about last night’s winners, losers, and bystanders.

The Host: Anyone who’s seen Ricky Gervais in The (original) Office and the sublime Extras knows he is the master of delicious awkwardness.  His jokes at the expense of Scientology and the Tourist really kicked things off on the most uncomfortable note possible.  I have to admire someone who doesn’t mind being hated by his audience in the name of comedy.


Best supporting actor: Chris Colfer from GLEE.  Loved his speech; would’ve been even better if he sang it.  (More seriously, times really have changed.  Bravo, world!)

Best actor (drama): If only Brian Cranston and Michael C. Hall could have won as well, but I do love me some Steve Buscemi.

Best actor (comedy): I am the only person in America who has never seen Big Bang Theory, so I could only groan when some guy who looked like a baby Alien beat Alec Baldwin.

Best TV comedy: Glee won but should not have in light of its weak second season and tough competition from 30 Rock and Modern Family in this category.  (Big Bang Theory and The Big C were the other nominees.)

Best TV drama: The absence of Breaking Bad was a robbery.  Dexter, even after the slow start, probably still deserved to win in this category, but Boardwalk Empire can use the boost.


Best supporting actor: The Fighter is one of the only buzz-y films I haven’t seen yet, plus Christian Bale strikes me as a nutjob, so I have a hard time cheering for him.  I was pulling hard for Jeremy Renner, but THE TOWN seems destined to lose in every category, even though it was one of my favorite films of the year.  (I suspect it has something to do with Ben Affleck’s Gigl.)  I do love Melissa Leo, though, so was happy to see her win (but Helena Bonhan’s Carter “WTF” look at the end of Leo’s acceptance speech was absolutely classic – did you catch it?).

Best Animated Movie: Toy Story 3 was a no-brainer.  Such a wonderful story, my husband and I still can’t believe it was rated G.  It was one of the darkest movies of the year.

Best Actress (Comedy): I thought Julianne Moore was more deserving to be nominated for this award than Annette Bening, but was happy to see her recognized.  Robert Downey Jr. shoud get an award for best presenter.  So should Tina Fey and Steve Carell.

I love Matt Damon dearly, but his tribute to Robert DeNiro was almost as uncomfortable as the Ricky Gervais bits, and not intentionally.  And then Robert DeNiro turned up the discomfort volume to a 10.  Whatever happened to earnestness?

Best Actress (Drama) – Natalie Portman, no surprise.  Baby bump, an added bonus.  And best speech of the night.

Best Film (Comedy or Musical) – The Kids Are All Right, a bit of a slam dunk in light of the other nominees (Red, Burlesque (yes, really), Alice in Wonderland, and The Tourist)

Best Film (Drama):I went in feeling torn between The King’s Speech and The Social Network.  Both took potentially dry subjects and transformed them into gripping drama.  Ultimately, though, my fondness for The Social Network is primarily due to Aaron Sorkin’s fantastic screenplay (which did win – yea!), so I pulled for The King’s Speech. But when Social Network won, I defended it to the many critics in our room.  Best line of the year: “I’m 6’5″, 220, and there’s two of me.”

The (even more) wholly superficial:

Nicole Kidman – What has she done to her face to make herself look so much like Renee Zellweger?

Kelly green dresses- I lost count but I saw at least four just on the red carpet, including on Angelina Jolie (who seemed eerily clingy with Brad Pitt; I suspect tabloids will be conjecturing). 

Tina Fey – I’m amazed that she still manages to rock that nerdy-and-only-secretly-attractive persona even as she’s transformed herself into such a gorgeous superstar.

If mutliple marriages were legal, my husband would have to learn to be brother-husbands with James Franco, Mark Wahlberg, and Robert Downey Jr. (with drug testing).

(Most Of) The Other Awards:

Best Actress in TV drama – Katey Segal (Sons of Anarchy), over Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife), Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men), Piper Perabo (Covert Affairs), and Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer).

Best Actress in TV comedy – Laura Linney (The Big C), over Toni Collette (United States of Tara), Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie), Tina Fey (30 Rock), and Lea Michele (Glee).

Best Actor (film comedy) – Paul Giamatti (Barney’s Version), over Jake Gyllenhaal (Taylor Swift, I mean, Love and Other Drugs), Johnny Depp (times two), Kevin Spacey (Casino Jack – never heard of it).

Best Actor (drama): We had a generational divide in our group between Colin Firth and Jesse Eisenberg.  Colin Firth takes it (and was suprisingly funny)!

Best Director:  David Fincher (The Social Network), over Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech), Christopher Nolan (Inception), and David Russell (The Fighter).  Still no clue as to why TRUE GRIT was locked out of everything, because I think it was probably the best film of the year.

My apologies to our regular readers who are wholly uninterested in the Golden Globes.  We’ll be back to our regular programming tomorrow.  As for the rest of you, what were your most memorable moments of the Golden Globes or this year’s movie and TV seasons?

30 thoughts on “The Golden Globes

  1. Joe Gillis

    A worthy write up, though I must scratch my head at how a carbon copy of every previous season of DEXTER could even be considered beside MAD MEN. It's got great lead performances, but its refusal to break the mold it has created leaves me wanting.

    Whereas MAD MEN may be the most nuanced, novelistic exploration of a single character that I've seen in television (only THE SOPRANOS and BREAKING BAD are in the conversation).

  2. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Alafair

    Thanks for the update – I'm ashamed to admit that being forty miles from our nearest cinema has curtailed our moviegoing a lot over the last couple of years, but we did see RED and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Also, glad to see Katey Segal get the recognition she deserves. Only seen season one of SONS OF ANARCHY, but she was brilliant in that. Her best line? "Jesus is the guy who cuts my lawn."

  3. Alafair Burke

    I'm ashamed to say that I haven't kept up with either Mad Men or Sons of Anarchy, and haven't yet gotten to Walking Dead. These will all be DVD catch-ups for me down the road. What was that sound? Yep, my small amount of TV cred circling the drain.

  4. Rob Gregory Browne

    It's funny, but of all the movies you mentioned, I think the only one I've seen is Inception, which I have a hard time believing was nominated for anything since it was a giant POS.

    Hopefully the other nominated films were better.

    I'm not a big fan of award shows. I always feel uncomfortable watching them—probably because I'm seeing a side of actors I don't want to see. I don't want to hear their lame jokes or know what political ideology they share or who they're sleeping with, and I certainly don't want to see them trying not to fidget on stage.

    I just want to see their TV shows and movies. That's it.

  5. J.D. Rhoades

    Alas, I didn't see the GGs, but you really should check out Big Bang Theory. I bow to no one in my love for Alec Baldwin's performance in 30 Rock, but Jim Parsons (the "baby alien") is a scream.

  6. Christine McCann

    Last night reminded me why I stopped watching awards shows – I was just left feeling kind of "meh". Maybe it's because I haven't seen 90% of the movies and shows that I just wasn't that hooked. Though she didn't have a snowball's chance in hell against her competition, I was rooting for Jennifer Lawrence from WINTER'S BONE.

    Worst speech: Diane Warren was a mess. Best speeches: Jane Lynch and Colin Firth; Best presenters: Tina Fey and Steve Carell

    Ha! I did catch that "WTF?" look on Helena's face! (Quite an appropriate look by the way.)

    Though I think you're right, watching these things with a group could probably make it more fun, I think I'll go back to just reading the recaps the next day.

  7. Alafair Burke

    I keep hearing about Big Bang Theory. So much TV, so little time.

    Rob and Christine, I'm not a huge fan of awards shows per se, but I do like watching them with other (preferably snarky) people. My viewing company last night was especially fun because we didn't agree. I swear, I thought a couple of friends were going to come to blows over Glee!

  8. Kim C

    So out of the loop on TV and film this past year. This will be the first awards season in years that I simply have no clue. I think I've seen maybe six films all year. Did see The Social Network – simply because it was Sorkin and Fincher. I'll watch anything Sorkin writes. Other than that I've kept my viewing habits on the light and fluffy side. Nothing that we'll see nominated for much of anything.

  9. Bryon Quertermous

    Anyone who complains about how mean Ricky is needs to go back and look at some of our greatest wits. They were MEAN. Watch the old Dean Martin roasts. Good god. And Don Rickles. Even Bob Newhart. We've gotten so burned by comedians who are mean just for the sake of being mean, that we can't appreciate a true master of the form.

  10. Gayle Carline

    I didn't watch, but I read the recaps and looked at the red carpet on-line. My son was furious over "The Kids Are All Right" winning in the comedy/musical department. He kept saying, "It wasn't a musical, and it wasn't funny!" And what was The Tourist doing in that batch?

  11. JT Ellison

    The problem with Gervais was his mean wasn't funny. It was flat and dumb, which is totally unlike him. And DeNiro's random speech was so weird. I've heard he's hysterically funny, but that wasn't translating for me last night. Maybe I needed more champagne – the Moët bottles everywhere was a nice touch.

    Loved the HBC WTF look – I saw she had two different color shoes on. I love the awards shows. It's cool to get a little glimpse into the background – like going to a writers conference and watching ourselves. Lord knows I've said enough cringe worthy things in my public life… maybe it's just me projecting, but I love these big events. And I was so thrilled about Natalie Portman's win – she's one of my faves.

  12. TerriMolina

    I watch the GG's every year and usually by myself. I also watch the Oscars every year, but I watch that with my sister via a long distance phone call. This year's nominations were of the head-scratching variety…especially the best picture comedy/musical. I'm glad Natalie Portman won for Black Swan, she did a great job! And the movie was pretty good too, I thought it should have won best picture (although I haven't seen The Social Network so I have no idea if it was really deserving) But Glee for best TV show?? Really?? I've only seen a couple of episodes (because my daughter is a hugh fan and buys all the CD's) and I had to choke those down. The show they did on Britney Spears was so annoying I wanted to put my foot through the TV!
    *ahem*….anyway…I love, love, love Ricky Gervais, but I have to admit, his opening monologue wasn't as good as it could have been. But he's funny as hell, and I hope he hosts again.
    As for True Grit, I'm a John Wayne fan so I wasn't as impressed by the new movie as those who haven't seen the original, but it was okay. Jeff Bridges did a good job (although he's no John Wayne) but I didn't care for Matt Damon as the Texas Ranger.

  13. NicolaT

    Any one see a moving van in front of Ricky Gervais's Hollywood home this morning. I know those presenters worry about bombing but I've never seen one do it until last night. Halfway through he was without jacket and reading from cards (instead of the prompter) where he'd probably been furiously rewriting backstage. I love him and his humor, but last night except for one or two he missed the joke. He was struggling. Has he gone too Hollywood?

  14. Ruth Harris

    Was WINTER'S BONE even nominated? IMO it — along w SOCIAL NETWORK — was the best movie of the year. I saw it this summer & am still haunted by its portrait of a part of American not seen on the screen (the Missouri Ozarks), of a criminally brutal culture (those men reminded me of the Taliban) and the way the women work around them to help, betray & support each other.

    The plot is about a very young woman (Ree) who cares for her catatonic mother & 2 younger siblings. Their meth-cooking-dealing father has jumped bail and put their poor, shabby house (all they have) up for bail. Unless Ree can find him and bring him back to face trial, they who have almost nothing will lose their home, too.

    This is rivetting, devastating stuff. I believe it's on video now and it's a don't-miss!

  15. Barbie

    I started off pissed about no The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo for foreign language movie and thought it was completely unworthy. Gave up watchinh halfbway throught. I hate thia HBO domination and these pseudo-intelligent shows getting all dominations. Awards shows were more fun when four Desperate Housewives were up against each other for main actress in a comedy series….

    Gervais joke about The Tourist was the funniest thing, and I think I'd go gay for Olivia Wilde. That's about it.

  16. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    Thanks for the recap, Alafair – I actually did not view a single second of the event. I just haven't been watching films for…oh, a few years now. Since I started writing novels. 2011 will be the year I start watching again.

  17. Margery Flax

    I was once told that the Hollywood Foreign Press comprises about 90 or so people – that's it. They have a long history of nominating films/people that sometimes make no sense (have we all forgotten about Pia Zadora??).

    It is only in recent years that they have become more of an indicator for the Oscars and SAG awards. I have also heard that often times, the winners are notified in advance so that they will attend.

    I think the WTF from Helena Bonham-Carter was because Melissa Leo mentioned some of the amazing women in the room but did not mention the nominees in her category.

  18. Mike Snyder

    IMO, it felt more like Ricky Gervais was hosting a roast than the GG's. He's usually more trenchant than that without resorting to last night's dispargement.

    IMO, funniest line of the night was from Natalie Portman, describing her significant other: 'He's the guy (in Black Swan) that Vincent Cassel asks if he'd sleep with me and he says No, I know he's a great actor because he LOVES sleeping with me!' (as evidenced by that rather large baby bump…)

    Deja vu moment: I thought I remembered Temple Grandin winning a lot of awards *last* year. How many years can it run…?

    Weirdest cut: To some random, strange-looking woman when they announced Julia Stiles' nom for best supporting TV series actress.

    I'm with the son of one of the writers above: The Kids Are All Right is neither musical or funny. Nor particularly good, IMO. Everyone seems to love it for its drama but I thought it lacked focus. True Grit worked because it was the young girl's story, TKAAR didn't because it was really no one's story. My son thought it had a good middle but no beginning and end.

    Just sayin…

  19. Jared Case

    The night was over for me when Katey Sagal won. I was over the moon for her and the series which is definitely one of my current favorites. Anything could have happened after that and I would have been fine, although I was happy with the wins for THE SOCIAL NETWORK, especially the score, which was fantastic.

  20. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Thanks for the recap, Alafair. I have yet to see the GGs. I can barely make it through the Oscars, even though I usually win some nice money betting on them.

    Very happy for Colin Firth. Jesse Eisenberg will get his eventually, no doubt. These things have very little to do with the performance nominated, but it all evens out eventually. Ususally.

  21. Reine

    Hi Alafair, I haven't seen all the films, but from your assessment I'd probably fall pretty much in line there. I was, though, rooting for Edie Falco… And I really love Boardwalk Empire. Also I never miss Big Bang Theory because it makes me laugh hugely, reminds me of the years I spent living among aerospace engineers– does not mean I would have voted for instead of any Baldwin brother.

  22. Dave Hall

    I'm a huge fan of Ricky Gervais, but was somewhat disappointed by his choice of a broadsword instead of a rapier in his jokes/comments. He's usually closer to Steve Martin in "Roxanne" than Mel Gibson in "Braveheart"…but not last night.

  23. Jeanne in MN

    Award shows were a lot more fun before all the stars got stylists and there was an actual risk that someone would appear in something inappropriate. The GGs usually make the better show than the Oscars simply because the work is in such strange categories…I mean, The Tourist in best comedy or musical?? Also by the end of the evening, there is a chance that someone will have had a little too much to drink.

    Temple Grandin won in last year's Emmys. Obviously the GGs and the Emmys use a different method of determining what shows are eligible for the awards.

  24. Ramona

    I must be out of step, because I thought Ricky Gervais was funny, and that he enjoyed watching everyone squirm. Tim Allen and Tom Hanks scolding him was so lame.

    What did make me squirm was Natalie Portman's laughing so heartily at her own joke. Yikes. She came off kind of bubble-headed to me.

  25. Laura

    Thanks for the recap Alafair! Unfortunately since I don't have cable TV I have to resort to scouring first thing the next morning to find out what I missed! "Black Swan" hasn't come out here yet, but I already promised Mum I'd go with her – it looks really good! – Also, you should try to watch the Big Bang Theory. Jim Parsons has beautiful comic timing comparable with David Hyde Pierce.
    Have a great week!
    Laura 🙂

  26. Alafair Burke

    Even if everyone doesn't love him, Ricky Gervais has probably done a good job for the Golden Globes if people are talking about love-him-or-hate-him the following day. He seemed to be the biggest topic of conversation today more than the awards themselves.

  27. Alafair Burke

    Oh, and Margery, I agree that HBC's WTF look was because Melissa Leo seemed to "elevate" herself by reference to the other categories of women who had already won, instead of recognizing the people in her own category. Note to self: When nominated for a writing award….

    Sorry I didn't respond individually to all comments. I was away from my computer and reading by phone, but did enjoy all the feedback. Thanks all!

  28. Keziah Hill

    If you haven't seen Animal Kingdom try and see it. Jackie Weaver was up for Best Supporting Actress and she was wonderful in it. She plays the seemingly sweet but chilling matriarch of a Melbourne crime family.

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