The Golden Globes have always been known as the antidote to the stuffy Oscars. There’s drinks, an open bar, tables with food, a lot of wandering around in between commercials, it’s a very different vibe from the Academy Awards. And with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosting for so many years in a row, the Globes, while lightweight in merit, were, in recent years, definitely seen as the more entertaining, less humorless show.
But tonight, with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement in full swing, the Golden Globes took on a much more serious, and yes, perhaps more humorless tone. The serious, political nature of the show was spot-on, no one’s going to argue with any of the stances—aside from maybe Susan Sarandon trying to pretend last year didn’t happen—but that coupled with a fairly-toothless and uninspired Seth Meyers delivering tired, unremarkable jokes, it made for a slow slog of a night. The ugly reality may be speaking truths and letting voices be heard just don’t mix well with laughs or entertainment and while, we love the message, we can’t help but wish for a more enjoyable watch. Yet, as always, there were highlights, so without further ado, here they are.
BEST: #TIMESUP takes center stage
The Globes red carpet and the telecast itself became the kickoff event for #TimesUp, a legal defense fund launched on Jan. 1 to help support women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted in the workplace. Not only did some of the leading women in the industry encourage everyone to wear black, but eight nominees also brought female activists to help change the conversation on the red carpet. Emma Stone brought Billie Jean King (legendary LGBT activist), Michelle Williams was accompanied by Tarana Burke (Sr. Director of Girls for Gender Equality and founder of the #MeToo movement), Emma Watson brought Marai Laraski (Exec. Director of Imkaan), Meryl Streep brought Al-jen Poo (Director of National Domestic Workers Alliance), Laura Dern was accompanied by Monica Ramirez (sexual violence and Latina empowerment activist), Shailene Woodley brought Calina Lawrence (Native American and water rights activist), Amy Poehler brought Saru Jayaraman (workplace justice advocate), Susan Sarandon brought Rosa Clemente (community organizer for political prisoners, voters rights). As always, there were still some bizarre, silly interviews (E! simply has no idea how to cover it any other way), but 80% of the conversation reminded viewers that many of Hollywood’s biggest names have no intention of letting the #MeToo movement and demands for gender and minority representation fade away anytime soon.
BEST: Amy Poehler saves Seth Meyers monologue
Honestly, as Meyers noted he was sort of taking one for the team by being the first person to host an awards show after the events of the past few months (obvious, but great to make it about you Seth!). And Meyers came with a bunch of zingers taking down Harvey Weinstein (“Don’t worry he’ll be back in 20 years when he’s the first person booed during the In Memoriam”) and Kevin Spacey, among others. But his jokes about “Get Out” and Oprah Winfrey running for President were just a bit too on the nose. That being said, when a bit he started with actors in the audience came to former Globes host Amy Poehler, it turned around a bit. Amy threw his bit back on him (“I’m a woman in Hollywood Seth. I don’t need a punch line Seth.”) She brought a burst of energy that broke through what was slightly awkward beforehand (clearly in the room as well). Again, Meyers was given a difficult gig, but can Amy just return to host next year?
WORST: The individual movie showcases
Listen, the Golden Globes, bestowed by the Hollywood Foreign Press, have always been half artistic honor (*cough*) and half publicity machine. It’s one of the reasons the studios go out of their way to get in the HFPA’s favor throughout the year. That being said, the individual moments meant to highlight each film nominee just brings the show to a grinding halt. They always involve a secondary member of the cast introducing it and the studios provide the excerpts which means they cut them into pseudo commercials. Does it really help the box office that much? Does the telecast need it? The answer to both questions is “no.”
BEST: Frances McDormand isn’t gonna have this cameraman block her view
Sam Rockwell winning Best Supporting Actor in a Film was sort of a surprise, but his co-stars reaction may have been more memorable than his fine acceptance speech. The cameraman tried to get McDormand’s reaction and she shooed him away. Ms. McDormand isn’t dealing with any of this telecast BS! When the director cut back to her, McDormand was teary-eyed, clearly moved by the moment. It just proved the more we can get of McDormand this awards season the better.
BEST: Rachel Brosnahan has her “Marvelous” moment
If you haven’t seen “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” you’re missing out. The show is a superbly entertaining period piece and one of the reasons why, is Brosnahan’s charismatic performance as a newly single mother, who finds her calling as a stand-up comedienne in the late 1950’s. Brosnahan was justly rewarded over a very impressive field and it set her up as a potential Emmy winner in September. Moreover, for an Amazon Video staff that has dealt with scandals (including one centered on its landmark show “Transparent”) it was a rare moment to smile (they smiled even more when the show won Best TV Series – Comedy or Musical).
WORST: How was the show behind just 45 min in?
Someone please explain how the show could be just 45 minutes in and presenters Christina Hendricks and Neil Patrick Harris to drop the banter and announce “since we’re already behind”? There was no overlong acceptance speech to that point. Seth’s monologue didn’t seem any longer or shorter than any of the show intros from the past few years. What got the director in the production truck so freaked out to start rushing through everything? Bizarre.
BEST: Allison Janney wins the night with a parrot gag
It was less than a minute, but Allison Janney wearing a big red feather on her shoulder, shaking it and then expertly deadpanning, “shut up” was the biggest guffaw moment of the night. If you need the reference, Janney’s character in “I, Tonya” – Tonya Harding’s mother – had a dead parrot on her shoulder in a memorable interview conducted years ago and it became a bit in the movie. The Golden Globes gag showed Janney had a sense of humor about the entire night (it was notably absent when she won Best Supporting Actress in a Film a few minutes later).