After a hectic holiday season, it’s only reasonable that we all gather around the television to relish in some drama that doesn’t involve interaction with extended family. On January 5, the blunt comedian Ricky Gervais hosted the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards. From the moment that Gervais took to the stage, he did not hold back a single remark and the crowd reactions were priceless yet the most notable reaction was the look on Tom Hanks’s face during the opening monologue.
Gervais blatantly stated, “You’ll be pleased to know this is the last time I’m hosting these awards so I don’t care anymore. I’m joking. I never did,” as justification to go off with his savage remarks; the crowd wasn’t sure what was more appropriate, laughter, tears, or perhaps a combination of both. Needless to say, the host didn’t come at anyone but instead poked fun at everyone. The comedian even leveled with those who are watching at home in less formal attire and smaller bank accounts.
“If you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech,” Gervais said. “You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything; you know nothing about the real world. Most of you spend less time in school than Greta Thunberg. If you win come up, accept your little award, thank your agent and your god.”
However, those who felt strongly about current political issues did not heed Gervais’s lecture and spoke out in their acceptance speeches. Russell Crowe won an award for Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Film for his role in “The Loudest Voice” but was not in attendance because he was back home in Australia protecting his family from the wildfires. Jennifer Aniston read the acceptance speech sent by Crowe, which read “Make no mistake, the tragedy unfolding in Australia is climate change-based. We need to act based on science, move our global workforce to renewable energy and respect our planet for the unique and amazing place it is. That way, we all have a future.” Actresses’ Cate Blanchett, Naomi Watts, Sarah Snook, Laura Dern, and Patricia Arquette also acknowledged the devastation occurring in Australia. However, actor Joaquin Phoenix, who won the Best Actor in a Drama Motion Picture for his iconic “Joker” performance, took this notion to a whole new level and delivered an awkward yet moving speech. Phoenix was eventually ushered off the stage due to his words, “It’s really nice that so many people have come up and sent their well wishes to Australia, but we have to do more than that, right? It’s great to vote, but sometimes we have to take that responsibility on ourselves and make changes and sacrifices in our own lives and hope that we can do that,” said Phoenix. “We don’t have to take private jets to Palm Springs for the awards sometimes or back, please. I will try to do better and I hope you will too. Thank you so much for putting up with me, I’m so grateful for this night and all of you.” The awards concluded with Ricky Gervais urging viewers to donate to Australia.
Nominated for five different categories, Quentin Tarantino’s ninth and presumably his last film, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” took home three awards- Best Motion Picture- Musical or Comedy, Best Screenplay- Motion Picture, and Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture for Brad Pitt’s role of Cliff Booth. The icing on the cake was when Margot Robbie, who played the late Sharon Tate in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” presented the Best Screenplay award to Tarantino.
Some other highlights included when Ellen DeGeneres was honored with the Carol Burnett Award, which was presented by Kate McKinnon who emphasized the importance of diverse role models for children in her delivery speech. McKinnon spoke on a more personal level and in her own experience with what it meant as a young LGBTQ+ woman looking up to Ellen on TV and how groundbreaking it was to see someone from that community being celebrated. Ellen gracefully accepted the award and talked about her role model growing up, Carol Burnett, and what an honor it was to receive an award in the name of such an inspirational female comedian. It was a tear-jerking moment and beautiful to see such empowerment and appreciation being shared. As if it wasn’t hard enough to keep it together during the Carol Burnett Award speeches, Tom Hanks was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award presented by Charlize Theron who spoke highly of Hanks. “The most undeniable thing that could be said about Tom Hanks is both deceptively simple and yet overwhelmingly true,” Theron said. “He just makes the world a better place.” I think we can all agree with that heartfelt sentiment and it was so powerful to see such an important and dimensional actor acknowledged for his groundbreaking work.
Speaking of groundbreaking, while Hollywood is still incredibly whitewashed, a glimpse of hope washed over me when Egyptian actor Ramy Youssef won for Best Actor in a Comedy in the Hulu series “Ramy,” which follows the daily lives of a Muslim family living in New Jersey. History was made when for the first time a Korean film won for Best Foreign Language Film; “Parasite’s” director, Bong Joon Ho humbled the crowd with his profound acceptance speech, “Once you overcome the 1-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”
While the 2020 Golden Globe Awards has come to a close, movie-buffs and Netflix binge watchers alike, welcome a new year of more cinematic masterpieces with fresh faces in film and well-known, beloved actors to bring scripts from the page to the silver screen.