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The 71st Golden Globes Did Things Right

January 13, 2014

By John Corrado

Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence - Golden Globes 2014Do you remember a couple of years ago when the Golden Globes felt like a joke, nominating films based on star power and becoming a cynical mockery of the entertainment industry at the hands of three time host Ricky Gervais?

Well, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association changed things for the better last year when they hired Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to host the event, and the consistently funny duo worked their magic on the Golden Globes again last night.

“We’re gonna get this show done in three hours,” Tina Fey jokingly promised at the beginning of the night, “or as Martin Scorsese calls it, Act One!”  And indeed this 71st incarnation of the awards show kept things light and fun, clocking in at just under three hours and ending right on time.  The Oscars should be taking note right about now.

It’s always a joy watching Tina Fey and Amy Poehler together, and right from the beginning they were playfully rolling out the jokes and referencing the nominees.  Tina Fey described Gravity as “the story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his age.”  Amy Poehler said of The Wolf of Wall Street that “I really love the film, but some of it was too graphic.  I mean, if I wanted to see Jonah Hill masturbate at a pool party, I’d go to one of Jonah Hill’s pool parties.”  The actor took the joke in stride, nodding along in the audience.

Jared Leto - Golden Globes 2014Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were on a roll throughout the night, and they continued to bring the laughs after their very funny opening monologue.  A bit involving Tina Fey’s “adult child from a previous relationship” being introduced as Mr. Golden Globe was especially hilarious.  Amy Poehler appeared wearing a suit and messy hair complaining that “Jacqueline Bisset’s bothering me backstage,” as her character Randy walked into the audience and tried to figure out which celebrity was his father.  These two should host more awards shows together.  They were great.

The first award of the night was Best Supporting Actress, which went to Jennifer Lawrence for her scene stealing performance in American Hustle, the first of several wins for the film.  The young star delivered an awesome and adorable acceptance speech, concluding with an apology for “shaking so much” and joking “don’t ever do this again.”  Jared Leto won Best Supporting Actor for his unforgettable transformation in Dallas Buyers Club, and at the end of his great speech, the actor and musician dedicated his well deserved award “to the Rayons of the world, thanks for your inspiration.”

Leonardo DiCaprio - Golden Globes 2014The winner of Best Score was Alex Ebert for his hauntingly beautiful music behind All is Lost, and the first surprise of the night came in the Best Song category.  Everyone expected the frontrunner to be “Let It Go” from Frozen, but the award ultimately went to the great band U2 for their song “Ordinary Love” from the timely biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.  This was an appropriate choice, and their acceptance speech was a touching tribute to the recently deceased Nelson Mandela.

Spike Jonze took Best Screenplay for his beautifully written Her, thanking his “great friend” David O. Russell.  Emma Thompson knocked it out of the park with her barefoot presentation of the award, strolling onstage with her Louboutins in one hand and a martini in the other, tossing the shoes over her shoulder to rip open the envelope.  Best Foreign Language Film went to The Great Beauty, and Italy was the proud winner of this award.  There was no contest in the Best Animated Feature category, where Disney’s Frozen was the deserving winner in a small field of nominees.

Hilariously presented by Robert Downey Jr., Best Actress – Comedy or Musical went to Amy Adams for American Hustle.  The actress gave a sweet acceptance speech, thanking David O. Russell for “letting the world know that a princess can punch and wear a low-cut gown.”  Jennifer Lawrence once again took to the stage to present Best Actor – Comedy or Musical to Leonardo DiCaprio for his electric work in The Wolf of Wall Street, and the actor thanked Martin Scorsese “for allowing me to stalk you into making this movie.”

Cate Blanchett - Golden Globes 2014Cate Blanchett took home Best Actress – Drama for her sublime work in Blue Jasmine, another unforgettable female role from Woody Allen.  “Thank you for plying me with vodka the way Judy Garland was probably plied with barbiturates,” the actress joked at the end of her speech.

Best Actor went to Matthew McConaughey for his mesmerizing work in Dallas Buyers Club, an award that he described as “unexpected, but graciously accepted.”  His charmingly laid back speech closed with the perfect sentiment that “this film was never about dying, it was always about living, with that I say, just keep…”

The top three categories spread the love between just as many films, and I’m really happy that Alfonso Caurón won Best Director for his masterful work behind Gravity.  Throughout his wonderful and funny acceptance, the Mexican director called Sandra Bullock “the most amazing collaborator” and thanked her for “not quitting when you thought that I have told you ‘Sandra, I’m going to give you herpes,’ when I really meant to say ‘Sandra, I’m going to give you an earpiece.'”

Matthew McConaughey - Golden Globes 2014There were nice highlights throughout the night, including the awesome symmetry of having Chris Hemsworth and Niki Lauda introduce a clip from Rush, one of the nominees.  Woody Allen was the deserving recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award, an honour that Emma Stone presented and Diane Keaton wonderfully accepted on his behalf.

There were also a few glitches, like a pipe that burst early in the day and flooded part of the red carpet.  But many of these unpredictable moments added to the entertainment, like when presenters Jonah Hill and Margot Robbie were faced with a faulty teleprompter and gamely responded with improvisation and a sheet of paper.

There were also memorable moments on the TV side, starting with British actress Jacqueline Bisset’s gloriously awkward acceptance speech for Dancing on the Edge.  Steven Soderbergh’s TV movie Behind the Candelabra was also recognized, winning Michael Douglas a statue for his portrayal of Liberace.  Bryan Cranston finally won for his unforgettable work on Breaking Bad, and Best Drama also went to the acclaimed series, providing a great sendoff and an excellent way to honour the end of the show.  The surprise winner for Best Comedy was Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and star Andy Samberg was also awarded.

The Golden Globe for Best Picture – Comedy or Musical appropriately went to David O. Russell’s 1970s con game American Hustle, one of the most entertaining movies of the year.  The producer proclaimed “excelsior” at the end of his acceptance speech, a nice nod to last year’s Silver Linings Playbook.  The final award of the night was Best Picture – Drama, which went to Steve McQueen for his powerful drama 12 Years a Slave.  This was an excellent choice, helping cement the frontrunner status of the film.

At the end of the night, Tina Fey declared this “the beautiful mess we hoped it would be,” prompting Amy Poehler to respond “and I got to make out with Bono,” referencing her carefree reaction to a surprise win for Parks and Recreation.  There were many deserving winners throughout the Golden Globes this year, but it’s equally important that the ceremony provided an enjoyable celebration, an awards show that was actually a lot of fun to watch unfold.

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