Friday 6 December 2019

Golden Globes highs and lows

Meadhbh McGrath gives a rundown on the night's standout moments

Golden boy: Ryan Gosling, seen here with La La Land co-star Emma Stone, paid a glowing tribute to his wife
Golden boy: Ryan Gosling, seen here with La La Land co-star Emma Stone, paid a glowing tribute to his wife
Brad Pitt received a standing ovation

Say what you like about the Golden Globes, but they are certainly unpredictable. The Oscars' looser, boozier cousin kicked off awards season on Sunday and here we take a look at the best jokes, the rousing speeches and the show's most cringeworthy moments.

LOW: Fallon flubs

Proceedings got off to a wobbly start: following host Jimmy Fallon's pre-recorded cold open, the teleprompter immediately failed.

With no script, the comedian revealed a surprising uneasiness with improvisation, opting to pull out a bizarre Chris Rock impression, before gently treading into more political ground - perhaps hoping we'd all forgotten about the time he playfully ruffled Donald Trump's hair like a King Charles spaniel on his late-night talk show.

Brad Pitt received a standing ovation
Brad Pitt received a standing ovation

Let's hope the other Jimmy - Kimmel - does a better job at the Oscars next month.

SHOCKER: Surprise wins

The evening's first award also marked the first major upset, as Mahershala Ali - favourite to win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in Moonlight - was beaten by Nocturnal Animals' Aaron Taylor Johnson.

Sadly, there was no luck of the Irish, with Limerick native Ruth Negga losing out to shock winner Isabelle Huppert for her role in the controversial French rape revenge film Elle.

Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish star (and daughter of Diana Ross), made history as the first black woman to win Best Actress in a Comedy since 1983 and was adorably thrilled to pick up the award.

HIGH: Wiig and Carrell deliver the laughs

Thankfully, Kristen Wiig and Steve Carrell were on hand to provide some of the best comedy on the night, as they reminisced on the childhood traumas they associate with animated films.

Wiig recalled how she saw Bambi on the same day three of her pet dogs had to be put down and Carrell welled up talking about how his parents split up on 'Fantasia night'. Next year, just hand over the mic to these two for the whole show.

HIGH: Gosling wins our hearts

Inevitably, there were dull speeches - Tom Hiddleston nobly rambled about a visit to south Sudan, patting himself on the back as he explained how humanitarian workers had found hope in binge-watching The Night Manager.

But there were some standouts: Ryan Gosling, who beat out Colin Farrell to take home Best Actor in a Comedy, reached peak heartthrob as he paid tribute to his partner, the actress Eva Mendes, who cared for their daughter and her dying brother, while pregnant, as he perfected his jazz hands filming La La Land.

SHOCKER: Brad goes down a storm

Introducing Moonlight, which was produced by his company Plan B, Brad Pitt received rapturous applause as the audience made it audibly clear whose side they were on post-Brangelina.

LOW: 'Hidden Fences'

Other presenters fared worse - such as Sofia Vergara 'comically' mixing up the words 'annual' and 'anal', or Michael Keaton conflating two nominated films starring black people, Hidden Figures and Fences, when he announced the nomination of "Hidden Fences".

HIGH: Viola and Meryl bring down the house

And then, two pros stepped up and showed everyone how it was done. Viola Davis (who delivered a typically great speech accepting the award for Best Supporting Actress in Fences) presented the lifetime achievement award to Meryl Streep, managing to bring the honouree to tears as she told her: "You make me proud to be an artist. You make me feel that what I have in me - my body, my face, my age - is enough."

A tough act to follow, but Streep came prepared with a staggering speech reflecting on what was for her the year's most notable performance: Donald Trump's rise to power. Recalling an incident when he seemed to mock a reporter with disabilities, she said: "It kind of broke my heart when I saw it. I still can't get it out of my head because it wasn't in a movie. It was real life."

She implored the audience to remember that great artists - and journalists - shouldn't give in to bullies, and closed with a moving quote from Carrie Fisher: "As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia, said to me once: 'Take your broken heart, make it into art.'"

LOW: Trump chimes in

Trump dutifully responded, telling the New York Times he hadn't watched the ceremony but was "not surprised" that the "liberal movie people" ridiculed him. He later took to Twitter to call Streep "over-rated". Sad!

SHOCKER: La La Land's moment in the sun

Elsewhere, it was a full sweep for La La Land, which took home the prize in every category in which it was nominated, breaking Golden Globes records with seven wins. Our own Sing Street missed out to the Hollywood-set musical romance, released in Ireland on Friday.

What does this mean for the Oscars? There's no voting overlap between the two bodies and the Globes are known for making more eccentric picks. But no other film in this year's awards race can compete with La La Land's momentum, so we're likely to see it cruising to victory all season long.

Read more: Golden wonders... and wobblers

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