Ricky Gervais aims his most vicious lines at a handful of easy targets at the 2012 Golden Globes awards.
“The Hollywood Foreign Press have warned me that if I insult any of you, or any of them, or offend any viewers, or cause any controversy whatsoever, they’ll definitely invite me back next year,” grinned Ricky Gervais at the start of last night’s Golden Globes ceremony. Considering he went on to do precisely none of those things, that opening gag may well come back to haunt him.
In its own way, Gervais’s performance was every bit as unexpected as last year’s, when he turned the notoriously cosy ceremony into headline news by launching a string of acidic barbs at the various Hollywood A-listers sitting directly in front of him. This year, with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association presumably desperate for him to repeat the same trick, his most vicious lines were aimed at a handful of easy targets who were safely out of earshot.
“The Golden Globes are to the Oscars what Kim Kardashian is to Kate Middleton,” he said. “A bit louder, a bit trashier, a bit drunker and more easily bought – allegedly. Nothing’s been proved. But who needs the Oscars? Not me. And not Eddie Murphy. He walked out on them, and good for him. But when the man who said yes to Norbit says no to you, you know you're in trouble.”
It's hard to believe this is the same Gervais who, at last year’s ceremony, quipped: “It seems like everything this year was three-dimensional, except the characters in The Tourist.” That was a funny, shocking gag, not least because The Tourist was genuinely a terrible film (nominated for a Globe though, naturally) and its stars, Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie were no more than ten feet away. Compare and contrast with the moment at this year’s ceremony when Gervais brought up Jodie Foster’s equally dreadful movie The Beaver, and proceeded to rip into it not on grounds of quality, but because its name sounds a bit rude.
“I must not mention....Jodie Foster’s Beaver,” he said. “I haven’t seen it myself. I’ve spoken to a lot of guys here and they haven’t seen it either. That doesn’t mean it’s not any good.” The camera then cut to Jodie Foster laughing warmly and giving Gervais an ‘OK’ gesture – a far sight from the stony faces that made last year’s ceremony such a delight.
Elsewhere, he missed some open goals spectacularly, either through a lack of preparation or bottle. Gervais welcomed Madonna to the stage with a quip about ‘Like A Virgin’ – this, to introduce the woman whose new film W.E. is one of the most roundly incompetent Hollywood vanity projects in living memory.
Inexplicably, there was also no mention of Michael Fassbender’s much-feted nude scenes in Shame, until George Clooney took to the stage to accept his Best Actor award for The Descendants. “Michael, honestly, you could play golf with your hands behind your back,” he deadpanned, providing the only real shocking laugh of the night.
Before the ceremony, Gervais said, optimistically: “I’d rather they laugh than gasp, but I cherish the gasps along with the laughs.” As it turned out, there wasn't a great deal of either. With any luck, next year they might hire Clooney.