As I’ve stated previously, the Golden Globes are a difficult award ceremony to take seriously since the Hollywood Foreign Press Association hasn’t recognized documentaries since 1977. And for other reasons, I suppose. But it’s also a difficult telecast not to watch if you’re interested at all in movie stars, especially in who they’re wearing, and that goes for both the designers of their dresses and the people sitting on their laps (ahem, Sir Ben!…awww, Jodie Foster‘s kids!). Plus, I have to be thankful there was at least a jokey reference and then a clip of one documentary (March of the Penguins) during the Morgan Freeman tribute?
Speaking of documentaries, the most exciting thing to happen last night might have been the non-broadcast fight started by producer Jerry Weintraub – subject of the film His Way, which I claimed would have earned a best documentary nom if the category still existed, given all its star interviewees. He reportedly almost got into a brawl with security when he was denied entry into a party. It wasn’t the only fight unfortunately thwarted last night…
Many viewers likely tuned in to the show Sunday night just to hear what host Ricky Gervais had to say about the attending and non-attending celebs. If you watched 30 Rock last week you might appreciate the irony of NBC’s telecast being so heavily hyped on the promise of offensive remarks. And if you were expecting the British comedian to be shockingly nasty, you probably were disappointed. The consensus in my polling indicates some viewers found him more tame than last year and less controversial than all the poop and penis jokes made by the stars themselves.
Were you entertained anyway? Were you bored, like seemingly most of the Golden Globe attendees? Did you at least enjoy Movies.com’s favorite moment, the clip of Freeman from Electric Company? Tell us your thoughts on the runner-up for biggest night of the year for Hollywood. But first…
What are people saying about the 2012 Golden Globes? Here’s The Conversation heard around the Internet:
That Ricky Gervais, basically a nice guy! Too bad that without his tough humor acting as a lightning rod, this show was unfocused and irrelevant. The audience — at home and in the auditorium — came expecting fight night, and all we got instead was a regular old awards show. – Willa Paskin, Vulture
He vanished for long stretches, didn’t tweet from backstage as he promised he would, seemed defeated from the start. He made a couple of desperate attempts late in the show, introducing Mr. Perfect Colin Firth and adding, “He’s very racist. I’ve seen him punch a little blind kitten.” If that had been his tone from the start, it would have matched last year’s, with everyone playing along with a wink this time. But more than two hours into the three hour show was much too late. – Caryn James, James on Screens
Yet Gervais on a so-so night still makes for an entertaining experience. He called Colin Firth, arguably the nicest man on Earth, a racist puppy puncher. He compared the Globes to Kim Kardashian: loud, trashy, drunk and easily bought. He questioned Justin Bieber’s manhood. Good times, all. – Eric Ditzian, MTV Movies Blog
But still, there was that expectation of apocalypse. And when it didn’t appear, it seemed like such a letdown. And yet, if the ceremony itself had any kind of sparkle or snap to it — which it did not — a tame Gervais wouldn’t be such a big story. [...] Does Gervais deserve some of the blame? Well, in so much that he led a lot of people to believe he was going to be a very naughty boy, then yes. Otherwise, he was funny enough. He did his bit. – Tim Goodman, Bastard Machine (Hollywood Reporter)
There was probably no way, I suppose, for Ricky Gervais to aggressively lambast and offend the way he did during his 2011 Golden Globes hosting gig. Last night’s opening monologue plays slightly better than the second time, for whatever that’s worth. – Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere
The highlight of the night was probably seeing George Clooney talk about Michael Fassbender’s huge penis, because it means George Clooney is as obsessed with the Fasspenis as I am. The other highlight was Seth Rogen taking the stage with Kate Beckinsale and saying, “I’m Seth Rogen, and I’m trying to disguise my enormous erection.” Basically, it was a great night for boners. – Vince Mancini, FilmDrunk
George Clooney demonstrated how Michael Fassbender’s penis was long enough that it could be used as a fleshy, hands-free golf club substitute, but since it was Clooney saying it, it still seemed sort of like a classy, charming way to talk about a guy’s dick in relation to sporting goods. – Mark, I Watch Stuff
Rogen, whose film “50/50” garnered two nominations, was one of the presenters at the Golden Globes. Having earned more credibility as a serious actor for his performance in that film, he could have used this opportunity to present himself as a mature actor willing to walk away from his sophomoric past. Instead, he used his turn at the mic to make a lackluster joke about being sexually aroused standing next to Kate Beckinsale. – John P. Hanlon, Big Hollywood
Why is it that when George Clooney makes a joke about Michael Fassbender being able to use his penis for golfing it seems classy, but when Seth Rogen stands next to Kate Beckinsale and jokes about his “massive erection,” it’s crude and unfunny? Well, probably part of it is that Fassbender has been listening to people talk about his massive endowments for months now and laughed gamely, while Beckinsale had a half-hearted smile that screamed “The things I do to promote ‘Underworld’ sequels.” Or maybe it was just that George Clooney pausing an acceptance speech to praise a rival’s genitals was so darned unexpected, while Rogen pausing a presentation to talk about his own genitals was so darned expected. Either way, it was a night of dick jokes. - HitFix
When George Clooney had Meryl Streep’s glasses and then handed them off and nobody knew what to do with them at all. Hahahah. “Uhhh, has anyone not gotten the glasses yet? Does anyone still need to see the glasses? No? Nobody? How about on the other side of the– Oh, no? Everybody’s gotten them?” Hahah. Very good. Very good part. – Kelly C, Videogum
Seeing [Peter Dinklage] bring publicity to [Martin] Henderson’s case, making the seemingly obvious point that dwarves are people too, makes you feel better about all the nonsense pomp and circumstance surrounding the Golden Globes. Between that and Meryl Streep’s shootout for the underseen indie Pariah during her own acceptance speech, there were a lot of people using their starpower for good last night. – Katey Rich, Cinema Blend
Golden Oldies rule: It wasn’t just The Artist that harked back to Hollywood’s past. Sunday night’s ceremony proved that the heroes of yesteryear have adapted rather nicely to a 21st-century era of Twilight and the never-ending sequel. There were prizes for Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen, those easy riders of 70s cinema. Meryl Streep collected the best actress gong for her role in The Iron Lady and then lamented the fact she had left her reading glasses back at the table. Possibly the most popular winner was 82-year-old Christopher Plummer, garlanded for his role as a closeted gay father in the comedy-drama Beginners. Accepting his award, the Canadian-born veteran paid tribute to Hollywood as “the home of King Kong and Rin Tin Tin”. This led some wags to wonder aloud whether he had known them both personally. – Xan Brooks, The Guardian
Bridesmaids applause: Even though it did not win anything, did everyone hear that last night? It was loud. It was supportive. The film which has burst onto the Best Picture conversation of late is still getting doubts that it can successfully collect enough “First Place” mentions on Oscar ballots to get the necessary 5% for a nomination. It was already in this writer’s Top 8 list for a nomination. Last night’s applause may have helped cement it there. – Erik Childress, Movies.com
A big, eager ovation for Martin Scorsese when he was given a Globe as best director says that he and/or his film, “Hugo,” are in a very strong place when it comes to the Oscars. When it comes to warm welcomes, Meryl Streep did pretty well, George Clooney somewhat less so. And the crowd loved Jane Fonda, but she’s not in the running for an Academy Award. – Michael Cieply, The Carpetbagger (New York Times)
But the man who got the biggest boost of the night was “The Artist” star Jean Dujardin. The French actor, who doesn’t speak a lot of English, has had some disadvantages on the circuit — he can’t gladhand in the way that some of his competition, and he’s relatively unfamiliar to the world at large still. But as far as coming-out parties go, Dujardin nailed it, charming the pants off the audience, taking full advantage of that million-dollar smile, he couldn’t have been more endearing. Clooney’s win last night might keep him as the front-runner, but Dujardin’s certianly his biggest competition. – Oliver Lyttelton, The Playlist
Conversation Twitter Poll: What did you think about the Golden Globes?
@GregoireNYC: The winners and presenters outshocked the host. Meryl cursing, Seth’s erection, George’s homage to Fassbender’s penis
@juancarlossempie: Ricky Gervais was strangely subdued. A little underwhelming, actually.
@whatcameoutofme: i was disappointed that gervais wasnt as acerbic as last year.
@kenjfuj: Ricky Gervais mostly blew this year; some good acceptance speeches, but very few surprises.
@mousterpiece: If I hadn’t watched it via DVR, I think I might’ve fallen asleep after 30 minutes.
@EDouglasWW: Here are 10 things I learned from the Golden Globes: Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nada, zilch, nothing, zero, nil… and nothing!
Follow Christopher Campbell on Twitter (@thefilmcynic) to join The Conversation.