Golden Globes: When The Heimer Beat The Barben -- And Other Surprises

 Photo credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2024 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Pretty early in the game Sunday night at the Golden Globes, Robert Downey Jr. jumped up to the podium to accept his brass cudgel (seriously, have you seen those trophies?) for best supporting actor in a motion picture, which started the whole “Oppenheimer” roll.

Downey, looking bright-eyed and jaunty, announced, “I took a beta blocker, so this is going to be a breeze.”

I appreciated his attempt to let some good air flow in, as viewers and the audience already seemed to be up in arms over the host, Jo Koy, who in desperation to recover his dignity, was dropping A-bombs all over the room.

It got very childish and untidy, and then he mentioned Barbie’s “boobies” and went on to an extended penis joke based on the actor Barry Keoghan’s revealing “Saltburn” turn. He joked that the member should have its own seat.



The excitement was not palpable, and the audience did not love it. Koy tried to defend himself by throwing the writers under the bus and saying he only got the job ten days ago. But he was entirely wrong for the role, like a Shock Jock conducting a Mostly Mozart concert.

A friend said he was “too cable” for the room. That attitude is funny, since the Golden Globes, aka The Drunk Oscars, is hardly unassailable.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association was forced to dissolve in 2021, when it was revealed that the org’s entire membership of “journalists” (many credential-less) could fit in a hotel shuttle van (with many empty seats.) Plus, it was discovered that in the year 2021, not one voting member was Black.

Then there was the bribe-taking that affected voting.

But now, freshly scrubbed at CBS, the ethically spiffed up organization has increased membership, especially diverse membership, and stopped allowing voting members to accept five-star hotel stays.

The host did face an intimidating audience, more flush than usual with honest-to-goodness stars, who -- after the recent one-two professional punches of COVID and the SAG-AFTRA strike -- were only too eager to dress up, show up, and perform humility.

Except worse than picking the host 10 days ago, the producers seemed to start working on the show 10 minutes ahead of time. Where had they been? The writing and direction were sloppy, and the camera gave us awkward shots of suited backs and an unfortunate close-up of Sarah Silverman’s nostril. Presenters missed their marks, missed the teleprompters, and looked like they had no rehearsal.

A lot was missing. I did miss film montages and an “In Memorium” segment, features that audiences look forward to. They also take the heat off the host.

The fact that no one lobbed a verbal bomb about the Israeli-Hamas war all evening was a saving grace.

But allow me a "Barbie" rant here.

Christopher Nolan’s ponderous A-bomb movie picked up five awards, while, shocker, the Heimerbeat the Barben, which was nominated for nine awards but came away with only two.

And one was a form of “participation” trophy, winning the new category, Cinematic and Box Office Achievement.

Ironically, Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour” concert movie lost out to "Barbie" in that same made-up category.

But instead of going home empty-handed, Swift stirred up some big drama right out of the box over a lame NFL joke.

In her gorgeous, green-beaded gown, from under her curtain of bangs, she shot a deep and steadfast stink eye at host Koy, delivering social media’s first gift (and gif) of the night. In doing that, she proved herself an amazing eyeball-based actress, right out of silent films.

I did want to mention another “Barbie” snub. America Ferrera, who made that climactic, knockout speech about how impossible it is to be a woman, joined Kevin Costner onstage as presenters. The joke was that the manly man loved and memorized her speech.

Would it have killed him to play along? He stood like a very cold stone figure, while Ferreira desperately tried to engage him on a human-type plane. Sadly, this was one of the few times when the audience really wanted to laugh along. In the end, the point of her speech is that women are “enough.” Costner treated her like less-than.

One plus about the Globes: Since the format is at dinner tables, and the stars are not tied to their seats, it was lovely to watch them circulate. We could have used more mingling, and the resulting unexpected juxtapositions that occur.

For example, director Yorgos Lanthimos fanboyed it up while accepting an award for “Poor Things,” a breakthrough winner for best musical or comedy film. He channeled something about the evening for all of us when he said "I just wanted to speak to Bruce Springsteen.”

I really liked the choices for the TV categories, with “Succession,” “Beef” and “The Bear” each getting multiple awards, although classifying “The Bear” as a comedy seems odd.

So there were more diverse voting members, more diverse winners, and moments of beauty, as when Lily Gladstone accepted her award as best Actress in a Drama Motion Picture drama for “Killers of the Flower Moon,” and spoke her native Blackfoot language.  

Oh, there was another new category: Best Performance in Stand-Up Comedy on Television.

I could have watched the nominated clips all night.

But the winner was Ricky Gervais, for “Ricky Gervais, Armageddon.”

Are they threatening to bring him back as host for 2025?

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