Last night Ricky Gervais hosted the 69th annual Golden Globe Awards, a show normally known as the most jovial booze fest of the season. But this year the anxiety in the room was palpable as the memory of Gervais’s scathing monologue from the year before tormented the audience. We reviewed said monologue for a quick comparison, and were disappointed to remember that THAT material got everyone’s panties in a twist. Charlie Sheen? Hugh Hefner? Tom Cruise might be gay? Come on people. But fortunately he was invited back and while there are many ways to broach the awkward subject of “Oh hey, remember last time?” luckily we were in the hands of a true comedic professional. As Ricky settled himself at the podium he opened, “Alright, where was I?” And that may have been his best joke of the night. It was smart, pointed, and playful. The rest of the monologue clearly went in a tamer direction, his hardest hitting jokes targeting celebrities who weren’t even there. Either way, if he’s the only person who will take Hollywood to task for their inanity and self-absorption, we’re happy to have him. And with that, on to the awards!
Best Motion Picture, Drama
Winner: The Descendants
With consideration to its placement as the final award, one would assume that the Best Motion Picture, Drama award is the most prestigious of the night; the big finale! But by the time that award was finally announced our mom had been asleep for an hour, Catherine had shifted her attention to a game of “Bubble Pop” on her phone, and it seemed like it was 2011 when Christopher Plummer won Best Supporting Actor for Beginners. The Descendants won, in a race that felt as anti-climactic as the Miss America pageant: You all look very nice, we’re sure you’re all…smart, but to try and pick a favorite seems like more trouble than it’s worth. Sorry Steven Speilberg, but I’m just not inspired by a two-minute trailer of a Newsie screaming “My horse! That’s my horse!”
Viewing Priority: It won Best Picture and Best Actor. Just go see it.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Winner: George Clooney, The Descendants
Once again, this wasn’t so much a race as it was the opening of an envelope and going “Oh, you won.” George Clooney beat out Brad Pitt, Clooney-directed Ryan Gosling, and Leonardo DiCaprio, who was nominated for wearing old age make-up. Clooney was excellent in this film. He has an ease about him on screen that translates seamlessly to director Alexander Payne’s style of storytelling. He was thoughtful and emotionally complex in a way that wasn’t over-the-top, but felt authentic to the character’s experience. It was a refreshing performance for the awards season, where you normally have to gain 30 pounds or portray a dead singer just to get nominated.
Viewing Priority: See above, but on a Clooney-specific note, there’s some long hair going on there that is worth checking out.
Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama
Winner: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Perhaps better known for her musical talents (See: Mama Mia!), Meryl Streep took home the top lady acting prize last night for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. Not having won a Golden Globe since 2010, it was nice to see Ms. Streep back on top. All jokes aside you guys, Meryl Streep is off the chain crazy. Only Meryl, in the middle of her acceptance speech, would utter under her breath her disappointment at leaving her reading glasses at the table, as if she had found herself at a restaurant, unable to read the ingredients listed under the chicken marsala. Not to mention the fact that she initially called Tilda Swinton “Gilda.” Her talent is beyond words, beyond description, beyond what is reasonably considered good acting, which is helpful since neither of us saw the film. She is a Hollywood living legend and if she won an Oscar every year for the next ten, it would feel as refreshing and well deserved as her first in 1980.
Viewing Priority: Next movie we plan on seeing in the theaters.
Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
Winner: The Artist
In what came as a surprise to no one, The Artist took home the prize for Best Comedy or Musical. The whole gang got up on stage, including a dog, at which Catherine remarked “I sure hope he had a role in this movie.” Apparently he did, although the pup could just as easily have been someone’s pet, since there is no limit to the self-indulgent antics Hollywood will put up with at these things. The only disappointment felt was over the missed opportunity to have the entire cast of Bridesmaids up on stage together.
Viewing priority: We’ll keep saying we’re going to see it, but then the Oscars will be over and we won’t feel bad about missing it.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
Winner: Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Looking like Don Draper’s sexy French twin (which is a Mad Men plot development Maggie can really get behind), Dujardin hopped up on stage to accept his award. Speeches by non-English speakers are always a crap shoot. You never know if you’re going to get Roberto Benigni-level exuberance, or the somber director for A Separation, who listed all of the members of his family before declining to thank them. Dujardin fell somewhere in the middle, with a rather dull prepared speech made more adorable by his French accent (as French accents are wont to do). Sadly, he missed an easy opportunity to reach the Javier Bardem apex of sexiness by delivering some or all of the speech in his native tongue.
Viewing Priority: See above, although likelihood of viewing decreased due to the fact that Dujardin doesn’t actually speak during the film.
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
Winner: Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn
Seth Rogen said it best when announcing the nominees: “Michelle Williams, in the hysterical comedy My Week With Marilyn...” It often feels as if the Hollywood Foreign Press Association decides who they want to give awards to, and then sticks them in any category they could conceivably qualify for. (See: Golden Globes 2010, when Meryl Streep was nominated for It’s Complicated AND Julie and Julia. Really, HFPA, I don’t think Meryl would have minded if you skipped her that one time). Williams came up and gave a sweet, pursed-lip acceptance speech befitting the bewildered ingenue persona she seems to have taken on, during which she talked about her daughter a lot, and so all we could think about is how much we miss Heath Ledger.
Viewing Priority: We’d watch this on a plane. After The Help, but before Albert Nobbs.
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Winner: Christopher Plummer, Beginners
There are two characteristics that we always look for among the list of nominees: old and British. Christopher Plummer, be still our hearts. He is a glaring reminder that while we offer our affection to the likes of Seth Rogen, who came out last night with Kate Beckinsale and announced, “Hello I’m Seth Rogen, and I’m currently trying to conceal a massive erection” or Madonna, who simultaneously thanked the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and promoted her new album, there is a sliver of class left in Hollywood. Or rather, in the British imports who still tolerate Hollywood. In accepting his win for Best Supporting actor, Plummer said “I must praise my distinguished competitors for whom I have the greatest admiration, and to whom I apologize profusely.” *Swoon*
Viewing Priority: High. We’re always looking for more insight into the coming out experience of the elderly.
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Winner: Octavia Spencer, The Help
Awards ceremonies love to give the “Best Supporting” awards to newcomers playing underdogs. Or Marissa Tomei. But since Tomei’s performance as a sexy reporter in Ides of March went unnominated, Octavia Spencer’s portrayal of a maid in 1960’s Mississippi easily took the win.
Viewing Priority: Would watch this on a girls weekend when it’s really hard to find something everyone can agree on.
Best Director, Motion Picture
Winner: Martin Scorcese, Hugo
Martin Scorcese winning Best Director for an animated children’s film is like Pixar’s boy genius Andrew Stanton directing the Raging Bull remake. It’s not a pairing that comes naturally. But good for Martin. We appreciate any film artist taking a risk and stepping outside his genre. And it looked like a beautiful movie. Were the Golden Globes producers to make any scheduling adjustments, however, I would have suggested scheduling Martin’s win after Peter Dinklage’s to cut time on mic adjustments. Short joke!
Viewing Priority: Something Catherine would enthusiastically watch while babysitting. Otherwise, pass.
Best Screenplay, Motion Picture
Winner: Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Midnight in Paris, a movie Maggie found underdeveloped and generally silly (a magic car that transports you back in time? Ugh), took home the prize. Honestly, if Aaron Sorkin’s not nominated, we don’t really care. And apparently neither did Woody who, it seemed, could not even be bothered to let anyone know he wasn’t coming.
Viewing Priority: Seen it. Once was enough
Best Original Song, Motion Picture
Winner: “Masterpiece” by Madonna, W.E.
Madonna won two awards last night; one for best original song and one for the worst acceptance speech of the entire evening. Not only did she shamelessly plug her upcoming album, as previously mentioned, but she touted herself as a serious director who was so enraptured with her film that she barely gave this now award winning song a second thought. The saving grace of this monstrosity was in the midst of her making some poorly crafted joke about Ricky Gervais taking her virginity, Ricky, like a vaudevillian pro, bolted across the stage behind her in fear. Thank you Ricky. Now make fun of Angelina more!
Viewing Priority: Never. Ever. Even that song sounded terrible.
Best Television Series, Drama
This series, about a marine sergeant returning home from Iraq and the CIA officer who suspects him of plotting an attack on America, seems to be loved by everyone. Although we have not watched it, this seems like a serious win for a serious show in a serious category. No jokes here.
Viewing Priority: Top of the Netflix queue
Best Actor, Television Drama Series
Winner: Kelsey Grammer, Boss
Kelsey’s turn as Chicago mayor Tom Kane is a far cry from his sitcom days and it was a pleasant surprise to see the actor awarded for his dramatic talents. Filmed almost entirely in Chicago (or perhaps entirely–we just don’t feel like fact checking), Boss is a show we instantly love, despite never seeing a full episode, for its support of Chicago actors and awesome theme song. But now how do we incorporate a “We watched your marriage fall apart on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and now you’re pledging your future to a 29 year old” joke?
Viewing Priority: Neck and neck with Homeland at the top of the Netflix queue. Tie goes to the show with a lead actor who has not destroyed a marriage. Oh wait…
Best Actress in a Television Series, Drama
Winner: Claire Danes, Homeland
Again, we’ve heard nothing but rave reviews for Danes’ performance. Her only real competition was Julianna Margulies, and since the Globes have a tough enough time convincing people that the “Television” portion of the show is not a replay of Emmys telecast they watched four months earlier, it makes sense that they would want to pick someone new. Side challenge: Quick, without using Google, tell us how old you think Madeline Stowe is:
Girlfriend is 53 years young! She was the love interest in Last of the Mohicans, and that movie is ancient! We had no idea who she was, and when the camera cut to her, seriously thought it was some random, dewy faced 25 year old actress. Wow.
Viewing Priority: Top of the Netflix queue. Plus maybe a couple episodes of Revenge, just to see what everyone is talking about.
Best Television Series, Comedy or Musical
Winner: Modern Family
This must be how ambivalent 30 Rock viewers felt during that show’s winning streak. It’s not that we don’t like Modern Family, we do! It’s funny! It’s just not our favorite. So to see it doing so well in the awards circuit is a bit of a non-story for us. If we were to jump on a soap box about anything related to this category, it would be the amazing-turned-atrocious Glee getting a nomination over Parks and Recreation. Also, the Sofia Vergara/doofy white men lost in translation bit is starting to wear thin.
Viewing Priority: The perfect time to catch up with MF on your DVR is during television limbo; when a show you love has just ended, and you have 30 minutes before your next show starts.
Best Actor in a Television Series, Comedy or Musical
Winner: Matt Leblanc, Episodes
Normally actors playing themselves on television are reserved for poorly written guest star roles on Entourage. But Matt Leblanc broke the mold last night, winning a Golden Globe for playing himself in a lead role. The look on his face when his name was announced tells us he also knew he didn’t deserve it. This would be a good time to refer back to our notes from the red carpet pre-show and mention that Natalie Morales, journalist savant that she is, asked Matt if he is at all like his character Joey from Friends. Apparently Natalie used the same time traveling techniques from Midnight in Paris and made her way back to 1995.
Viewing Priority: Catherine has already caught 6 episodes, and is fairly confident she has experienced everything the show has to offer.
Best Actress in a Television Series, Comedy or Musical
Winner: Laura Dern, Enlightened
Another show we have yet to see. But we really hope Laura Dern is killing it, because she beat our four favorite women currently acting in comedies [Ed. note: Catherine would like to swap Edie Falco for Zooey Deschanel, but there is a standing disagreement at TFA about how funny Nurse Jackie is.]
Viewing Priority: In the Netflix queue, but after Homeland
Best Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television
Winner: Downton Abbey
Downton! Seriously. This epic miniseries about an aristocratic family residing in a sprawling manor, and the servants that keep the house and the family running, is so good. It has everything a good Masterpiece Classic must: Inter-class romances; large, well-dressed hunting parties; a homely, meddling middle daughter. We only wish Dame Maggie Smith had been there to accept the award, in character as the Dowager Countess, because you know she would have had something tart to say.
Viewing Priority: Maggie watches Downton live, an honor reserved for no other show in her current viewing lineup.
Best Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television
Winner: Idris Elba, Luther
We’re not exactly familiar with Idris’s competition in this category (with the exception of Maggie who follows Downton Abbey), but we think it’s safe to assume that the right man won. At least the best looking one did! Hey-oh! Seriously, he is such a man. Throw in that Souf London accent and he hits smoke show status.
Viewing Priority: Low. But it does serve to remind us that we really need to start watching The Wire.
Best Actress in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television
Winner: Kate Winslet, Mildred Pierce
The Golden Globes is like the Olivia Palermo of awards shows. What it lacks in actual pedigree it tries to make up for by sucking up to A Listers. Which is the only explanation for why Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut In the Land of Blood and Honey was nominated for anything other than “Biggest Exercise in Vanity.” The same can be said for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s love affair with Kate Winslet, who has been nominated for 8 Golden Globes. Ever since 2009 when they gerrymandered the race so that she could win best actress for Revolutionary Road, as well as Best Supporting Actress for her LEADING ROLE in The Reader, it seemed as though the HFPA would go to any length just to ensure the big wigs will show up. Likewise, this year she was nominated for the already-forgotten Mildred Pierce as well as the just-barely-released Carnage. As our mother said when she came up on stage, “I’m so tired of her.” We all are, Marth.
Viewing priority: This falls under the Temple Grandin category of “Mini-series we will not watch, no matter how many awards they win.”
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television
Winner: Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
We are, on the whole, a sci-fi/fantasy-averse family. In arguing its merits and watchability, people often describe Game of Thrones as a soapy drama, with aspects of a soft core porn, set in the mythical land of Westeros. We can’t say this makes us any more inclined to watch it. Neither does Peter Dinklage’s put-off attitude every time he accepts an award. Smile, cranky pants! You just won a Golden Globe!
Viewing priority: Unless Catherine’s boyfriend makes her watch it, probably never
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television
Winner: Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
We love any category that pits Masterpiece Theatre against Sofia Vergara riding a bicycle into a tree. This category is a perfect example of why one awards show can’t (and shouldn’t) handle both film and television. By the time you get to the third tier awards, you’re just throwing shit together and hoping it all runs under 180 minutes. Jessica Lange won for her portrayal of Constance London a…scary…person? Don’t follow it. But hey, Jessica, if you want to know how long the excitement of being on a Ryan Murphy first season hit lasts, just head over to the Glee table and talk to Chris Colfer. Remember when he won last year? Yikes.
Viewing Priority: Zero. The show itself sounds like Are You Afraid of the Dark? with weird Murphyesque sexual twists.
Looking ahead to the Academy Awards, we can guarantee two things: Meryl Streep will win her third Oscar, and we still won’t have seen The Artist. We will dutifully watch, but it’s clear that the 2012 Awards Season will be remembered as the year we didn’t care about anything.