Host Ricky Gervais opened the Golden Globes with a no-holds-barred monologue Sunday, startling A-listers with his signature cutting one-liners at the champagne-soaked gala, which kicks off Hollywood’s award season.
Stars clad in couture gowns and extravagant jewels hit the red carpet under bright California skies before the outspoken British comic began the prize- giving ceremony, the first of the year building up to next month’s Oscars.“Let’s go out with a bang, let’s have a laugh at your expense, shall we?” joked Gervais, who has said he is hosting the awards for the fifth and final time.
Gervais then tackled topics haunting the entertainment sector including #MeToo, lack of diversity, and the streaming wars, to name but a few.
“Look, talking of all you perverts, it was a big year — ‘Surviving R. Kelly,’ ‘Leaving Neverland,’ ‘Two Popes’,” Gervais joked, referring to two documentaries about sexual abuse and one of this year’s best drama contenders.
An off-color joke about British actress Judi Dench and the critically slammed film “Cats” was bleeped out by censors.
Victory at the Globes will ensure key momentum for films headed to the Oscars, which are a little more than a month away.
Netflix — which has disrupted the film industry in recent years — is far ahead of the traditional studios with 17 Globe movie nominations.“This show should just be me coming out, (saying) ‘You win everything, Netflix, good night,” joked Gervais.
– ‘Succession’, ‘Fleabag’ among winners –
Netflix secured an equal number of nods in the often-overlooked television categories, where it also leads the pack, ahead of HBO at 15.
Among the early Globes handed out on the TV side, HBO hit “Succession” won best drama, fending off Netflix’s flagship “The Crown,” boasting a new cast led by Oscar winner Olivia Colman. Its star Brian Cox won for best actor.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge added a best comedy actress Globe to her Emmy win for breakout British comedy “Fleabag.”
Streaming giant Netflix still has multiple frontrunners to scoop the night’s most prestigious film prize, best drama — including Martin Scorsese’s gangster epic “The Irishman,” heart-wrenching divorce saga “Marriage Story” and “The Two Popes.”
Warner Bros. dark comic tale “Joker” and Universal war epic “1917” round out the category.
Netflix only began producing original movies in 2015, but has spent billions to lure the industry’s top filmmaking talent — and to fund lavish awards season campaigns.
– Eddie Murphy comeback? –
Netflix also has Eddie Murphy’s comeback vehicle “Dolemite Is My Name” in the best comedy or musical race — unlike the Oscars, Globes organizers split films into two categories.
But “Dolemite” is expected to face stiff competition from Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood.”
The homage to 1960s Tinseltown has resonated with the 90-odd members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), which doles out the prizes.
In 2019, they correctly picked the Oscar winner in every film category except for best musical score.
Oscar nominations voting is already under way, but does not close until Tuesday, meaning Academy members may be tempted to wait for the Globes to conclude before casting their ballots.
“Momentum is ready to be built out of this,” said Deadline’s awards columnist Pete Hammond.
– ‘Parasite’ wins –
The starry list of award presenters include nominees Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio (both from “Once Upon a Time…”) and Jennifer Lopez (“Hustlers”).
DiCaprio and his string of young model girlfriends was another target for Gervais.
“‘Once upon a Time… In Hollywood’ — nearly three hours long. Leonardo DiCaprio attended the preview and by the end, his date was too old for him,” said the host.
In the drama acting categories, Joaquin Phoenix is leading a crowded field for his radical portrayal of the villainous anti-hero in “Joker.”
But Adam Driver’s intense turn in “Marriage Story” has generated significant buzz, while the ever-popular Antonio Banderas has been hailed for a career-best performance in Pedro Almodovar’s “Pain and Glory.”
Renee Zellweger looks in a formidable position to pick up the best actress gong with Judy Garland biopic “Judy.”
Taron Egerton, British star of Elton John musical biopic “Rocketman,” is up against DiCaprio and Murphy in the best comedy actor category.
And early signs suggest a breakthrough year for Asian filmmaking.
South Korean black comedy “Parasite” bagged the award for best foreign language film.
Bong Joon-ho, the filmmaker behind “Parasite,” later goes head-to-head with Hollywood heavyweights Tarantino and Scorsese in the best director category.
Asian-American actress Awkwafina is favorite to collect best comedy actress for “The Farewell.”