Highlights of the Golden Globes

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Ricky Gervais kicked off the 67th Annual Golden Globes show with a prolonged masturbation joke. Which, if you think about it, has a certain perfect symmetry. Oh, how those Hollywood types love to toot their own horns. So to speak.

The Golden Globes has been called “the drunk Oscars” and is much loved for its casual vibe. Stars sit around tables drinking champagne and not eating the food in front of them. They mingle, they chat, and they get flustered as they wind their ways through the tables to the stage. There are a lot of candid shots as the camera pans the audience. It’s all very homey and familiar. If $10,000 gowns and row upon row of perfect, gleaming teeth remind you of home.

I was rather looking forward to seeing Gervais host. His promo spots were pretty funny, and in general he strikes me as an unpredictable guy. But what I had forgotten about these shows is that the host really only pops in occasionally. In reality, it’s a parade of glittering celebs reading from a teleprompter and telling canned jokes about the industry.

About 45 minutes in, I started to understand why awards shows are losing audiences. Things always gets to the point where all you can really hope for is that Mickey Rourke will do something weird. And then, after all that waiting, after sitting through Taylor Lautner and Ashton Kutcher and some guy named Christoph Waltz winning Best Supporting Actor for Inglourious Basterds, finally, finally they get to the Best Picture. And it’s Avatar. Hardly a shakeup.

If you want to see who else won, have a look here. There weren’t many surprises, although Sandra Bullock winning best actress for The Blind Side was a bit of a head-scratcher, likable as she is. I won’t trouble you with another list of winners. Instead, a highlight reel:

Actor most like The Dude: Jeff Bridges’ acceptance speech after winning Best Actor for Crazy Heart was so deeply laid back and punctuated with so many “mans” it was like watching The Big Lebowski come to wearing a tux in a room full of movie stars.

Most endearingly self-aware: Drew Barrymore. She won for her awesome portrayal of Little Edie in Grey Gardens. When she thanked the director for giving her a chance at the role, she acknowledged that most of the time she comes off “like Jeff Spicoli’s girlfriend.” What she didn’t seem to be aware of were the bioluminescent sea sponges attached to her dress at the shoulder and the hip. Still, cute speech.

The class act: Meryl Streep, who won for playing Julia Child in Julie & Julia: “I have gotten to play so many great women that I am often mistaken for one.” Also, she mentioned Partners in Health and their work in Haiti without sounding even a little preachy or off-topic.

Funniest line: Ricky Gervais, holding his glass and blaming his beer for any offense he may have caused: “I mean, I enjoy a drink as much as the next guy. Unless of course the next guy is Mel Gibson.” Cue Mel Gibson’s entrance.

Most mouthing of “Hi, Alice” to the camera: Tina Fey

Most incoherent, where-am-I acceptance speech: T-Bone Burnett, after winning Best Original Song for Crazy Heart’s “The Weary Kind.” Musicians can get away with it, though.

Most overwrought moment: Helen Mirren standing silently on stage for a moment before beginning her introduction to Precious, with “Life is hard” in her most imperious British accent. Helen, have some fun.

Weirdest audience members: Toss up between Mike Tyson and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Scratch that, it was Mike Tyson.

Highest dress slit: Jennifer Aniston. I mean, wow.

Cutest person to never stand a chance: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who was nominated for 500 Days of Summer. He was never going to win, but boy, did he look genuinely happy to be there.

Most self-congratulatory speech: James Cameron, after Avatar won Best Picture: “Give yourselves a hand because we have the best jobs in the world. Really.” But, what did you expect for a man who once called himself “the king of the world”?

Hardest praise to live up to: When Leonardo DiCaprio introduced the Cecile B. DeMille Award-winner, Martin Scorsese, he compared him to Shakespeare, Beethoven, Picasso, and Da Vinci. He left out Martha Graham, Michelangelo, and Jesus.

What did you think of the show?

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