Controversial comedian Ricky Gervais returned to host the Golden Globes after a four-year absence — and came back all guns blazing.
The Office star previously hosted Hollywood's loosest awards ceremony in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2016 and in that time earned a reputation for skewering many of Hollywood's biggest stars. This year's ceremony was no different.
Speaking to E! presenter Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet before the ceremony, Gervais half-jokingly said he wasn't sure why he'd accepted the offer to host again.
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"As I put down the phone, I said why am I doing this again. It's Christmas ruined, I've got to write jokes now. I cannot wait for this to be over," he said.
He said hosting was his version of an "extreme sport: I say awful things to (celebrities') faces and see what happens."
Here's how the night's unfolding …
RICKY'S OPENING MONOLOGUE
Gervais had celebs — including Tom Hanks, who did not seem to be enjoying himself during several audience cutaways — wincing with his opening monologue. Here are some of the highlights:
"You'll be pleased to know this is the last time I'm hosting these awards. I don't care anymore. I'm joking, I never did. Lucky for me the Hollywood Foreign Press can barely speak English, they don't know what Twitter is."
"I came here in a limo tonight, and the license plate was made by Felicity Huffman. I feel sorry for her daughter. That must be the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to her – and her dad was in Wild Hogs."
Gervais said Hollywood bigwigs are "all terrified of Ronan Farrow. Talking of all your perverts, it was a big year for pedophile movies. Surviving R. Kelly, Leaving Neverland, Two Popes..."
He said the The Hollywood Foreign Press are "very very racist. We were going to do an In Memoriam, but when I saw the list, it wasn't diverse enough. I said no, not on my watch."
Gervais also made the oft-repeated claim-turned-meme that "Jeffrey Epstein didn't kill himself. Shut up, I know he's your friend! You had to make your own way here, didn't you? Take your own plane."
"I've heard there's going to be a sequel to Sophie's Choice. It'd just be Meryl saying 'Well, it's got to be this one then."
"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, nearly three hours long. Leonardo DiCaprio attended the premiere and by the end his date was too old for him. Even Prince Andrew was like 'Come on.'"
"The world got to see James Corden as a fat p**sy. He was also in the movie Cats, but no one saw that. Judi Dench –" it was at this point Gervais paused, appearing to shock himself.
"Oh god, I can't do this one... Judi Dench said it was the role of a lifetime because she loves nothing more than plonking herself down on the carpet, lifting her leg, and licking her own minge."
Finishing his opening monologue with a stern lecture insisting stars don't get political during their speeches (which was ignored by many award winners), he said: "Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. Accept your award, thank your agent, and your god, and f**k off."
Best Actress in a TV Series — Musical or Comedy went to Phoebe Waller-Bridge for the brillant Fleabag. She gave special thanks to her 'Hot Priest', Andrew Scott: "There was a lot of talk about chemistry this season... but he can have chemistry with a pebble."
Fleabag also won Best Comedy Show, and Waller-Bridge gave a shout-out to Barack Obama naming it as one of his favourite shows a week ago — after the first episode depicted her character masturbating to one of his speeches.
"I have to thank Obama for putting us on his list. Personally, he's always been on mine. And if you don't get that, watch season one of Fleabag," she said.
Five-star South Korean capitalist satire Parasite won Best Foreign-Language film: "Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many amazing films," said director Bong Joon-ho via a translator.
Olivia Colman won Best Actress for her turn as Queen Elizabeth in The Crown — and made a typically frank admission on stage. "I don't know what to say because I… I'd already got a little bit boozy because I thought this wasn't going to happen. Genuinely stumped," she said.
Later, Brad Pitt won Best Supporting Actor for his role in Once Upon A Time... — looking about a good decade younger than his 56 years. "Thank you to the eclectic and ever-raucous Hollywood Foreign Press Association," he said. He paid tribute to co-star Leonardo DiCaprio — or LDC, as he called him — and seemed to make a slightly garbled Titanic reference to him: "Hey, I woulda shared the raft." He also said he wanted to bring his parents along but thought better of it, "because any woman I stand next to, they think I'm dating."
Actress and comedian Akwafina won Best Actress – Musical or Comedy for her work in The Farewell. "If I fall upon hard times I can sell this. I've never been to the Golden Globes. I'm here now and it's this, and it's great." She dedicated the award to her father: I told you I'd get a job, dad."
Once Upon A Time in Hollywood took out the award for Best Motion Picture — Comedy or Musical, after Quentin Tarantino had earlier taken our Best Screenplay.
Joaquin Phoenix won Best Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama (more on his slightly bumpy speech below) for Joker, and Renee Zellweger won the Best Actress category for her role as Judy Garland in Judy. "Well hi everybody, it's nice to see you – y'all look pretty good 17 years later," she said, referencing her career hiatus and her time between award wins.
BUSH FIRES ON EVERYONE'S MIND
Russell Crowe won the night's second award, for Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television for The Loudest Voice, and sent a simple message as he's in Australia protecting his home from bush fires. Presenter Jennifer Aniston read it out:
"Make no mistake, the tragedy unfolding in Australia is climate-changed based. We need to act based on science, move our global workforce to renewable energy and respect our planet for the unique and amazing place it is."
Pierce Brosnan delivered another message directly to Australia from the stage: "All of us at the Golden Globes and the HFPA send our hearts to all of the people affected by the bushfires in Australia. Stay strong, god bless."
Later, winner Patricia Arquette gave an impassioned speech about the escalating tensions between the US and Iran and the Australian bushfires, arguing that January 2020 will not go down in the history books because of the Golden Globes: "We'll look back on a country on the brink of war... and the continent of Australia on fire."
And even backstage, the bushfire tributes continued — check out Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge's efforts:
Aussie royalty Cate Blanchett spoke about the bushfires on stage:
"I'd like to do a special call out to the volunteer firefighters that are at the centre of the climate disaster facing Australia. When one country faces a climate disaster, we all face a climate disaster," she said.
JOAQUIN'S MEMORABLE SPEECH
Joaquin Phoenix seemed stunned as he won Best Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama for his starring role in the controversial Joker. Taking the stage, he first thanked the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for serving everyone in attendance a plant-based meal: "Thanks for recognising the link between animal agriculture and climate change. It's a really bold move and it sends a powerful message."
Then things went slightly off the rails in that uniqely Joaquin Phoenix way. To his fellow nominees: "We all know there's no f**king competition between us. It's a thing that's created to sell advertisements for the TV shows," he said.
To Joker director, Todd Phillips: "I'm such a pain in the ass, I can't believe you put up with me."
Addressing fiance Rooney Mara, he suddenly choked up, letting out little more than a garbled "I love you." Cameras cut to her and she looked... kinda mortified?
Finally, he turned to current world events: "Contrary to popular belief, I don't want to rock the boat – the boat is f**king rocked," he said, acknowledging how many award-winners had issued pleas to change the world during their speeches. "It's so nice, but we have to do more than that... We don't have to take private jets to Palm Springs." The man has a point.
MICHELLE NAILS IT — AGAIN
Taking to the stage to accept her acting award for Fosse / Verdon , Michelle Williams continued her reputation for nailing impassioned, political speeches (Ricky Gervais be damned). After speaking about how important having a right to choose about her fertility, her body and her career had been to her success, Williams finished with a direct appeal to all women watching. "Women, please vote in your own self-interests. It's what men have been doing for years, which is why the world looks so much like them. Don't forget: we are the largest voting body in this country. Let's make it look more like us." See more on her speech here.
It comes only four months after her similarly inspiring Emmys speech was dubbed "the best speech ever."
ELLEN'S MARRIAGE CONFESSION
Ellen DeGeneres won the special Carol Burnett Award for excellence in television, and delivered a hilarious speech (after giving a heartfelt tribute to those in Australia enduring the bush fire crisis). "They don't have to play me off, because it's a special award. They said they were going to give me a sign at 25 minutes, but that was just for my reference," she said.
Promising to be quick, she launched into a hilariously detailed description of the day of her birth. Then she zoomed through her professional highs and lows, saying that after she lost her 90s sitcom she got to do something she'd never done before: "Make my own whisky."
"You've all gotten to know me over the years; I am an open book. And I couldn't have done it without my husband Mark," she quipped, also giving a shout-out to the (imaginary) couple's two (imaginary) children while real-life partner Portia DeRossi laughed from the audience.
TOM HANKS BREAKS DOWN
2020 Cecil B DeMille Award recipient Tom Hanks gave an articulate and at times emotional speech, paying tribute to his peers in the industry, apologising for being under the weather — and almost breaking down as he spoke about wife Rita Wilson and their children, all sat before him. "It's the cold that is making this happen, I swear to god, I'm not nearly this emotional at home!" he wailed.
SACHA'S KILLER CAMEO
Appearing briefly to present a clip from Jojo Rabbit, Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen gave Ricky a run for his money: "The hero of this next movie is a naughty child who spreads Nazi propaganda and only has imaginary friends. His name is Mark Zuckerberg. Sorry, this is an old intro for The Social Network – I'm talking about Jojo Rabbit."
Sacha for host next year?
RICKY'S OTHER HIGHLIGHTS
Gervais popped up throughout the show to keep everyone on their toes with a smattering of jokes, some of which were better than others:
"In a little while we're going to see a short clip from The Irishman… it's 88 minutes long."
"As you know, the meal tonight was all vegetables," he said, referencing the vegan meal celebs were served for dinner. "As are the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press."
"Knives Out has three nominations tonight. See what can happen if you don't dress people up as cats? It's that easy!"
Another of Ricky's jokes was an overlong, underwritten bit about the lack of female directors in the Best Director category. Ricky announced he'd sorted things, and made it so no female directors would even get hired from now on, problem solved. Cue a couple of polite half-hearted titters...
Introducing Sandra Bullock to present the night's final award, Gervais was as exhausted as all of us.
"Kill me. We're nearly done. Our next presenter starred in Birdbox, a movie where people survive by acting like they don't see a thing. Sort of like working for Harvey Weinstein." As the audience groaned, he snapped back: "You did it, I didn't, shut the f**k up!"
Finally, a special shout-out to Aquaman star Jason Momoa, who donned a suit for the red carpet... then stripped down to a tank top once at his table. Is it that hot in there?