‘Artist,’ ‘Descendants’ win big at the Golden Globes
‘Homeland’ also scores as show spreads the wealth
‘The Artist’’ and “The Descendants’’ were the biggest movie winners at the 69th Golden Globe Awards last night, winning two awards each, while the Showtime thriller “Homeland’’ took home the prize for best TV drama, with star Claire Danes winning the award for best actress in a drama.
But trophies aside, much of the buzz around the Golden Globes was about host Ricky Gervais, who returned for a third time last night.
After making jokes at the expense of megastars like Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp and their film “The Tourist’’ last year, ruffling some feathers of viewers who felt Gervais was too mean, folks wondered: Who would Gervais line up in his comedic crosshairs this year?
It turns out nobody, really. At least no actors on that level of stardom or anybody that would likely take offense at the declawed jokes that Gervais trotted out in his brief opening monologue.
Onstage at the ballroom at the Beverly Hilton, Gervais took a sip of his drink and read off the rules given to him by the Globes’ voting body, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The guidelines included no profanity, no smut, no jabs at the HFPA itself, and no Mel Gibson jokes - and Gervais essentially stuck to them.
Justin Bieber, James Cameron, and Helen Mirren all got a light tap. Punching bag of the moment Kim Kardashian came in for unfavorable comparisons to Kate Middleton - “a bit louder, a bit trashier, a bit drunker, and more easily bought’’ - and Eddie Murphy received a poke for abdicating the Oscar host job: “When the man who said yes to ‘Norbit’ says no to you, you know you’re in trouble.’’
Jodie Foster gave Gervais the thumbs up for a mildly risqué pun on her and Mel Gibson’s film “The Beaver.’’ And Gervais’s own plumbing took a self-deprecating hit. But generally speaking, the host took it easy on the room.
When Depp - who clearly didn’t take offense, since he’s appearing on Gervais’s upcoming HBO series “Life’s Too Short’’ - emerged to introduce a clip of one of the evening’s best drama contenders, Gervais asked Depp if he’d seen “The Tourist’’ yet. Depp laughed and clapped and said he hadn’t. As Gervais scampered off, Depp smiled and said, “Oh boy, he’s fun.’’
And then the business of handing out trophies began, and things got even more boring.
“The Descendants’’ won the prize for best movie drama, with star George Clooney taking home the award for best actor in a movie drama. To the surprise of only Meryl Streep, apparently, the acclaimed thespian took top honors for best actress in a drama for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady.’’ Streep uttered one of the few curse words of the night when she realized she forgot her glasses. She gave a lengthy tribute to many of the fine performances of women in film this year. Clooney followed suit, giving special shout-outs to friend and fellow nominee Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender.
The silent-film homage “The Artist’’ took the best comedy or musical honors, and leading man Jean DuJardin won for best actor. “The Help’’ scored a win for supporting actress in a drama for Octavia Spencer, who quoted Martin Luther King Jr. in her speech. Other winners included directing titans Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg for “Hugo’’ and “The Adventures of Tintin,’’ respectively.
Winners on the TV side included the addictive PBS drama “Downton Abbey’’ - a Masterpiece/Carnival coproduction - which won the award for best miniseries or TV movie. Laura Dern took home the prize for best actress in a TV comedy for her role on HBO’s “Enlightenment.’’ Kelsey Grammer nabbed the prize for best actor in a TV drama for his new Starz series, “Boss.’’ Peter Dinklage of “Game of Thrones’’ won the award for best supporting actor in a TV series, miniseries, or movie, and likely sent many scurrying to their computers when he mentioned a man in England named Martin Henderson - also a little person and actor - who was injured last year in a terrible attack.
One of the night’s most charming moments occurred when married actors Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy harmonized through a little a cappella ditty before presenting the honor for best supporting actress in a TV series, miniseries, or movie to Jessica Lange for “American Horror Story.’’
Newton native Matt LeBlanc seemed shocked by his win for best actor for the Showtime comedy “Episodes,’’ in which he plays a twisted version of himself. He joked in his acceptance speech that the show’s writers “write a Matt LeBlanc who, let’s be honest, is way more interesting and fun than the real thing. I wish I was him.’’
After a poignant tribute from Sidney Poitier, Morgan Freeman accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award for his remarkable body of work, from his days as “Easy Reader’’ on “The Electric Company’’ to roles playing everything from a chauffeur to the President of the United States to God.
Other highlights included a comic acceptance speech from “Modern Family’’ creator Steven Levitan and star Sofia Vergara when the gang from the ABC sitcom took the stage after winning best TV comedy. Acknowledging the Globes’ global reach, Vergara appeared to give sincere thanks to cast, crew, and others in Spanish while Levitan “translated’’ her words into a bit about begging the actresses in the audience for their numbers.
Gervais reappeared intermittently during the telecast to tee off a few more times - including one bleeped bit about not being able to understand a word said by presenters Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas - but he saved his most acerbic joke of the night for the very end of the telecast, telling the attendees, “I hope you enjoyed the goodie bags and the champagne and the gold. I hope that took your mind off the recession for a little while.’’
Sarah Rodman can be reached at email@example.com.