Golden Globes get risky with Ricky Gervais’ return, robots and revenants

With Ricky Gervais returning to host the Golden Globe Awards for the fourth time, the guests and nominees of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in attendance at the Beverly Hilton Hotel were on edge.

During the previous three years, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler might poke fun at the movie and TV industries and the need for each to recognize its greatness. But while those two might tease, Gervais has been vicious with his jokes. The 73rd annual Golden Globes ceremony was no exception, as the host attempted to put everyone in their place, reminding them of how little this entire party mattered.

“Listen, if you do win that award tonight, remember that no one cares about that award as much as you do, OK?” Gervais warned. “Don’t get emotional; it’s embarrassing. That award is, no offense, worthless.”

That didn’t stop the winners from getting excited, emotional and uninhibited at the podium upon receiving their awards. Hosts, presenters and winners were bleeped out frequently during the NBC telecast, leading viewers to wonder if a censor had a quick finger on the dump button or if truly profane things were said. As it turns out, NBC probably would have gotten in some trouble had those remarks made it to air. (An after-hours broadcast of everything bleeped out might get some ratings on cable. Just an idea.)

Regardless, the Golden Globes are still more fun than any other awards show. And the risk of Gervais wildly offending or angering someone added needed thrills to the relatively tame proceedings, overshadowing some surprise and curious winners throughout the evening. Let’s run through the major categories and who took home those trophies, shall we?

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture: Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Was Winslet really surprised that she won? She’s Kate Winslet. Maybe Alicia Vikander was expected to win for Ex Machina. Or Jane Fonda, as a career achievement award? With no disrespect intended to Winslet’s competition in this category, she had the best performance if for no other reason than she had to act out and recite Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue.


Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited-Series, or TV Movie: Maura Tierney, The Affair

OK, there was really no bad choice in this category. Regina King had a great year between American Crime (for which she won an Emmy) and The Leftovers. But the HFPA gave The Affair two awards last year, so it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that Tierney scored the win here. Her character also gets a lot of sympathy as the jilted wife.

Best Actress in a TV Series, Comedy: Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Maybe one of the most popular choices of the evening. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has a lot of play among critics as a show more people should be watching. Bloom beat out some veteran competition, but won the room and viewing audience with an enthusiastic, fast-talking acceptance speech.

Best TV Series, Comedy: Mozart in the Jungle

The HFPA went with many unconventional choices in this category, nominating four shows from streaming networks. Still, Mozart in the Jungle was a surprise choice. Do you know anyone who watches this series about musicians in the New York symphony? Maybe we should all start doing so now.

Best TV Movie or Limited-Series: Wolf Hall

Fargo won this category last year, so it’s hard to believe it didn’t win again with an even better second season. But Wolf Hall did have critical acclaim and was based on a celebrated novel about an advisor to King Henry VIII and his rise to power. Maybe the Golden Globes wanted some prestige for the evening.


Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited-Series or TV Movie: Oscar Isaac, Show Me a Hero

Any of the five nominees here would have been a deserving winner. But 2015 did kind of feel like the year of Oscar Issac. And with his role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, stardom seems assured. The HFPA voters may have gotten swept up in that sensation as well.


Best Actor in a Limited-Series or TV Movie: Christian Slater, Mr. Robot

The Golden Globes can often stand out from fellow awards shows like the Oscars and Emmys by making a bold choice. It also probably shouldn’t be underestimated that the Globes like to look cool and Mr. Robot is definitely the new hotness, and an edgier choice than the other nominees.


Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama: Jon Hamm, Mad Men

The Globes could have stayed edgy and cool by picking Malik here, but who would argue with giving the award to Hamm for his final season as Don Draper? Mad Men lost some of its cultural juice by dragging out its final two seasons, but this was a nice sendoff for a great show and a breakout performance.


Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy: Matt Damon, The Martian

Yes, it’s silly that the Globes put The Martian in its Musical or Comedy category. But it allowed Damon to be recognized for his work, instead of losing out to Leonardo DiCaprio, which will probably happen at the Academy Awards. Damon had to carry the film through large stretches — and hey, he was funny.


Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama: Sylvester Stallone, Creed

This felt like the best moment of the night, and everyone in attendance seemed to agree, giving Stallone a standing ovation when he was announced as the winner. His performance in Creed was revelatory, making Rocky Balboa (whom he called his “imaginary friend” in his acceptance speech) a fully realized character with emotional depth. It’s just too bad he didn’t remember to thank director Ryan Coogler until after his initial speech.


Best Actor, TV Series – Comedy: Gael Garcia Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle

Shall we take the HFPA’s word on this one? Clearly, voters loved this show, which means they loved Bernal’s performance as a New York symphony conductor. Jeffrey Tambor seemed like the favorite here, but he won in this category last year, so maybe the Globes didn’t want to repeat themselves.

Best Actress in a Limited-Series or TV Movie: Lady Gaga, American Horror Story: Hotel

It seems ridiculous that Kirsten Dunst didn’t win for her role on Fargo. Did the Globes just want to seem cool by nominating and awarding Lady Gaga? Maybe, but at least her win gave us the best visual of the evening. Was DiCaprio worried she heard something he said?


Best TV Series, Drama: Mr. Robot

Empire would have been a fun choice, giving some award love to a wildly popular show. But as mentioned above, Mr. Robot was clearly the darling among HPFA voters. They get to look cool and a series that arguably should have gotten more attention now has some.


Best Director – Motion Picture: Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant

Surprise? This was a very tough category here with five deserving nominees. Miller seemed like he had some momentum, winning several Best Director awards from film and critic societies. And giving Scott a career achievement award for a very good movie would have been nice. But The Revenant was a grueling project, which Inarritu made into a daring, visually striking film.


Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama: Taraji P. Henson, Empire

Any time Viola Davis is nominated for an award, she should probably win. But Empire should get some award acknowledgement, and Henson’s performance as Cookie Lyon is what makes the show so fun to watch. Passing out cookies on her way to the stage and making it clear that she wasn’t going to cut her speech short made for the best speech of the night.


Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy: Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

Maybe a bit of a surprise that Amy Schumer didn’t win, when she had such a great year. But at least she lost to her new best friend. J-Law is in that class of actresses likely to win any time she’s nominated. Joy got a mixed reaction among critics and moviegoers, but she carried that film — something that not many actresses are asked to do.


Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy: The Martian

Award shows are always more fun when a winner has a “Well, it’s about damn time!” speech. Ridley Scott relished the opportunity. The director acknowledged the absurdity of The Martian being a comedy — in a different year, it might have won Best Picture, Drama — and made sure his moment lasted by pointing at the prompter and saying “no” as he was told to wrap his speech up. Cranky, but fun.


Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama: Brie Larson, Room

Larson has been getting a lot of Best Actress recognition from film and critic societies, so it’s not a surprise she won here. Blanchett may have been the favorite, but is a perennial winner. Larson carries Room emotionally; it wouldn’t have been nearly as good without her. She is very likely the favorite to win the Academy Award as well.


Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

There was just no question who was going to win this award. Had DiCaprio lost, he would have attacked the HFPA voters like that bear attacked him in The Revenant. This is Leo’s year and he’s pushing hard for it, even if everyone’s heard enough of how much he suffered in the wilderness for his art. The Oscar is surely up next for him.


Best Motion Picture, Drama: The Revenant

Carol seemed like the favorite, since it got the most nominations. And Spotlight has been viewed as the Best Picture front-runner ever since it debuted at the Toronto Film Festival in September. But once Inarritu won Best Director and DiCaprio won Best Actor, a win for The Revenant looked like a sure thing. A win by any of the other nominees would have felt like an upset by the end of the evening.

Ian Casselberry

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is an editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, also covering baseball at The Outside Corner and pop culture for The AP Party. He has written for Yahoo! Sports, MLive.com, Bleacher Report and SB Nation, and provides analysis for several sports talk radio shows each week. He currently lives in Asheville, NC.