The real winners and losers of the 2020 Golden Globes
Awards season officially arrived Sunday night as celebs threw down alcohol, winners and hosts threw out profanities, and oh, that's right, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association threw out some trophies, too. It's the Golden Globes, baby, where logic and livers go to die!
By now you've probably already read who won the awards – "1917" won Best Drama, while "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" won the most Globes on the night with three – but who cares about those winners and losers when there are REAL winners and losers to tally. Who's starting to compile their Oscar speech, and who's realizing they can probably stay home on Feb. 9? Who became a meme? What TV show that you've never heard of do you need to start acting like you saw months ago before it was cool? ("'Ramy?' Psh, I watched that; way to keep up with the times – and no, actually don't ask me what it's about.") And wait, what does Tom Hanks' son Chet sound like?
why is Tom Hanks' son Chet Hanks speaking patois? pic.twitter.com/mNh8ih8JhA— Brittny Pierre 🥳♒️ (@sleep2dream) January 6, 2020
Huh. Well, while we all process that, let's also process but the real winners and losers from the 2020 Golden Globes.
Winner: The release strategy for "1917"
"1917" is apparently the best movie that pretty much nobody can see. Despite weeks of advertisements during every commercial break, Sam Mendes' one-take war movie still isn't out in wide release. It sure felt like Universal was wasting the movie's buzz, getting audiences excited to see a movie only to annoyingly discover it wasn't available anywhere.
Then Sunday night happened, and the studio's gambit appears to have worked perfectly. Now, in addition to a month of hype, the war movie will have two big, fairly surprising Golden Globe wins – Best Director and Best Picture – carrying it into its long-awaited drop into nationwide theaters this weekend, turning it from an intriguing "Dunkirk"-lite option to a buzzy awards season must-see. I still think it could've killed at Christmas; a WWI documentary, "They Shall Not Grow Old," made impressive money for a doc just last year around the holidays, so the audience is provably there, plus they could've switched it into the "Cats" release date to give the musical time to actually finish making the movie. But now they likely have the first big opening weekend of the new year – so shows what I know!
Here's what I do know, though: This win doesn't make "1917" a frontrunner. The Academy hasn't gone with a straight-up war movie since "The Hurt Locker" a decade ago, and that had a bit more arthouse edge and critical cred (plus a more timely conflict). Plus, over the last ten years, the Golden Globe Best Drama winner has only lined up with Best Picture three times. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is a little more susceptible to spectacle as well, so I'd still put "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," "The Irishman," "Parasite" and maybe even "Joker" above "1917" in my Oscar odds. But then again, the war film has proven me wrong before. Like, literally 12 hours ago.
Ricky Gervais may have joked that the streaming service won everything during his opening monologue, but the rest of the night had other plans as Netflix came away with practically nothing.
On the film side, despite three of the five most nominated movies of the night – "The Irishman," "Marriage Story" and "The Two Popes" – the Big Red Streaming Monolith came away with just a single win: Laura Dern in "Marriage Story." Otherwise, in a year that was supposed to be Netflix's strongest attempt at finally cracking Best Picture and dominating awards season, the streaming service was essentially blanked, putting "Irishman" into serious catch-up mode, knocking "Marriage Story" down a peg to basically just supporting actress and screenplay contention, and relegating "Dolemite" and "The Two Popes" down to non-factors.
Meanwhile, on the television side of things, the Golden Globes spread the love around to just about everyone ... except Netflix. HBO scored four wins thanks to "Succession" and "Chernobyl," Amazon nabbed two thanks to the final stop on the "Fleabag" victory tour ... and Netflix got one solitary win for Olivia Colman in "The Crown." Even Hulu had a better night with surprise wins for "The Act" and "Ramy."
But it's OK, Netflix, just relax and forget about a rough day the way the rest of us do: plopping on the couch, firing up Netflix and comfort-bingeing through a whole bunch of "Friends" episodes that are definitely still on your streaming service. (*puts finger to earpiece*) Oops ...
Winner: Surly frontrunners
Joaquin Phoenix and Renee Zellweger were the easy picks going into Sunday night, and both delivered on predictable wins for "Joker" and "Judy" in the two main acting categories.
Then things got very unpredictable.
Phoenix, who's reluctance to the awards game and generally awkward persona has been part of why he's never won in the past, spent one portion of his rambling speech railing on the whole concept of awards shows, then another part criticizing his fellow stars for private jetting across the globe and hurting the environment. It went over in the room as well as expected! The fun continued backstage, then, as Phoenix got deliciously snippy about having to talk about getting into character for "Joker" for the 1,417,843th time.
Joaquin Phoenix bristles at journalist's question about how he prepared for #Joker: "I feel like I've talked about this for six months" https://t.co/vU3bAFReak #GoldenGlobes pic.twitter.com/LX28ThiDUO— Variety (@Variety) January 6, 2020
Normally, as the frontrunner, you go on stage, deliver a pleasantly charming, slightly flabbergasted speech – maybe toss in a nod to a social or political issue your film may or may not address, so Oscar voters see giving you the nod as Saying Something Important – and keep the spice at Hellmann's mayo levels. Joaquin Phoenix did not do that – and neither did Zellweger, who used much of her acceptance speech to verbally side-eye an industry that left her for dead after she made the grave mistake of being a woman turning 40. It was one of the more wounded acceptance speeches you'll ever see – which is not what Hollywood looks for on the night it happily celebrates itself.
The thing is, even with those uncomfortable speeches, no one else is close. Both of their nearest competitors – the "Marriage Story" duo of Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson – are fading hard, so no matter what they say, they're still your likely winners. And maybe Phoenix and Zellweger know that, so they feel no obligation to polish up any of their true feelings. Suddenly, that makes the most predictable awards of the season into the most exciting unpredictable part of it all.
Loser: Dame Judi Dench
Just when my brain was finally starting to recover from the nightmare fuel of a CGI cat Judi Dench pawing around with distinctly human hands like some "Island of Doctor Moreau" nonsense in "Cats," Ricky Gervais just HAD to put the image of The Dench licking her own business in our collective minds. Between that, "Cats" and "The Rise of Skywalker" revealing that somebody somewhere went to bed with lumpy old Palpatine, this past month has been a lot to process. Who needs a drink?
Winner: Tom Hanks
What, you expected America's Dad to be anything less than charming and wonderful? In case merely the career montage didn't get you tearfully smiling (or tearfully seething after seeing the clip from "Captain Phillips" and remembering that somehow he wasn't even nominated for that), Hanks' speech almost certainly did – even if it was given through a cold medicine haze. His message about showing up on time and the essential group nature of filmmaking and art was lovely, and if you didn't start welling up when he needed to take a moment and compose himself before thanking his family, well, I'm so sorry about your apparently dead soul. And if it wasn't enough that he charmed the entire country for about the 721st time in his career, he even gave us a delightful meme too.
The only problem with Tom Hanks' night: no clip from his true greatest performance, the music video for Carly Rae Jepsen's "I Really Like You."
Loser: Ricky Gervais
Minus the Judi Dench mental imagery, Ricky Gervais' opening monologue wasn't too bad. There were some solid jokes in there – but they were hard to enjoy through all the trite Gervais cliches (HAS HE MENTIONED HE DOESN'T BELIEVE IN GOD!?), including his annoying habit of appreciating his own "edginess" by snarkily punctuating seemingly every decent dig or joke with, "What? Who cares? Are you TRIGGERED?!" Constantly pointing out your supposed controversial edginess makes you neither controversial nor edgy; it makes you sound like Awards Show Urkel, constantly smirking, "Did I do that?"
Worst of all, though, was his awkward undercutting of emotional moments, like returning from Tom Hanks' moving speech with a flubbed, joke-less gag about female directors and muttering "kill me" after Renee Zellweger's not-subtle speech about Hollywood not caring about her.
So in honor of Gervais, though, let's be brutally honest: If he really was this ball-busting, room-wrecking, celebrity-shaming, truth-to-power lightning rod, do you really think the Golden Globes would've have brought him back five times? Instead of a sixth go-around next time, I nominate that we let Tom Hanks on Cough Syrup host.
Winner: Bong Joon-Ho
DRAG US, BONG! While "Parasite" fans hoping for a potential Best Picture run may have wanted a bigger outcome Sunday night, the genre-defying South Korean hit still kept its buzz going with its Best Foreign Language Film win.
Even buzzier, though, was director Bong Joon-Ho's scathing yet sweetly-put jab at American audiences, noting that, "Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films." And he's right! Reading subtitles and watching a movie at the same time is not difficult! If you can operate a car or even just watch the news or "Sportscenter," you can watch "Parasite." People will text or piddle around on their laptops while watching a movie or bingeing through a Netflix series – but put a movie with subtitles on, and suddenly they're concerned about being distracted.
Anyways, Bong Joon-Ho got away with criticizing audiences while sounding sweet, informative and genuinely helpful about it, so we applaud you. And we expect to hear "Parasite" come up a lot at next week's Oscar nominations announcement – including Screenplay, Director, Picture and maybe even an acting category. So better get used to subtitles now if you don't want to miss out on one of the hotter movies of awards season!
Listen, NBC/Universal: There's still time to rename your streaming service. I know you revealed a bunch of teaser-y ads last night, but most people didn't even realize that's what those boring egg commercials were. You don't have to go by Peacock. You don't have to be the Nintendo Wii of the streaming world. Save yourself.
Winner: Quentin Tarantino
"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" is my current frontrunner for Best Picture – and Sunday night did nothing to change that prediction, as Tarantino's throwback hangout movie scored big with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, winning Best Comedy/Musical and Best Supporting Actor for Brad Pitt as expected but also Best Screenplay in the process.
As always, the Golden Globes mean nothing since the HFPA has no Academy voters in its mysterious cabal, but winning is always, in the words of one of the movie's A-grade needle drops, "a good thing" – especially when Oscar voters are literally in the midst of casting their nomination ballots right now and especially in a truncated awards season. And nobody won more than Tarantino's Tinseltown fairy tale on Sunday night. (Quite literally; its three wins were the most of any movie or show.) Just one thing, though ...
Loser: Quentin Tarantino
You know how Brad Pitt won last night, and his speech was humbled and funny and charming and reminded you why we like him? Yeah ... Quentin Tarantino went in another direction with his screen time. Starting his screenplay acceptance speech, QT got in the weeds talking film screenwriter history – weird, usually that topic's always a hit at the open mic – and then humbly joked that he didn't need to particularly thank anyone else because he wrote the script by himself.
Things did not improve when he took the stage for its Best Comedy/Musical win, and he seemed to abandon a confused and unprepared producer to do the speech, which went as well as can be expected. These are all small shallow things, but this is awards season, the epitome of shallow, and people want to vote not only for movies they like but for people they like. And, well, I sure hope people really like "Once Upon a Time" if this keeps up! (Spoiler alert: They do. It's a nostalgic movie about Hollywood about older actors still having worth – a pitch right across Oscar voters' plate if there ever was one.)
Winner: Taron Egerton
Even if you only vaguely follow movie news and awards season, you know "Rocketman" star Taron Egerton has been hitting the campaign trail hard. Paramount has no other skin in the game this year (cowards; "Crawl" for Best Picture!), so they've put all their parties and resources into the Elton John musical biopic – and Sunday night, it worked as its star pulled a mild upset, winning Best Actor - Musical/Comedy over starry competition like Eddie Murphy and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Egerton is still by no means in competition for the win come Oscar night – Joaquin Phoenix can awkwardly ramble all he wants, but Best Actor is his no matter what – but with this buzz-gathering victory, he may have just landed himself at least a place at the show next month. After all, the Globes and the Oscars went nuts for Rami Malek in "Bohemian Rhapsody" last year, so it only seems fair to at least nominate the good version of that performance.
The Golden Globes mean more as an Oscars ramp-up than a TV award – but boy, did it feel like it last night. The entire schedule of the awards was already odd – why were both Best TV Drama and Best TV Comedy given lower-profile spots in the night than Best Supporting Actress in a Mini-Series or TV Movie? – but at least there was one string of logic throughout it all: The Hollywood Foreign Press Association wanted to blast through the television categories as quickly as possible. Maybe next year we don't make half of the people in the crowd feel like nothing more than the film industry's plus-one?
It's now time for awards show fashion analysis from a guy with no sense of it whatsoever: Sleeves seemed to be very popular on Sunday night!
Golden globe sleeves. Giving Ann Walker a run for her sleeves. pic.twitter.com/qIXkwMw4F0— Clare #E4L 🎩🌡️ (@chaitehlatte) January 6, 2020
And this has been awards show fashion analysis from a guy currently wearing athletic shorts, a hoodie and a high school prom shirt that somehow still fits.
Loser: "West Side Story"
With star Ansel Elgort's introduction to the Globes stage with Dakota Fanning, Sunday night marked the first time many people heard about Steven Spielberg's upcoming remake of "West Side Story." Then Elgort decided to sing, and most people likely began wishing that they hadn't – not a good sign for a musical!
It's OK; "Cats" has put the bar for movie musicals so low, it's neighbors with the planet's molten core, so Elgort and "West Side Story" just need to finish the movie on time and not draw comparisons to Lovecraftian horrors, and they'll be fine.
Winner: This proposed idea
A radical proposal:— Matt Singer (@mattsinger) January 6, 2020
Have no one host the Oscars this year.
But have Will Ferrell present every award with a different co-presenter.
But seriously, it can't be any worse than the Anne Hathaway/James Franco year.
Loser: Me, predicting things
After getting only six out of 14 predictions right on the night, I should probably just take a page from the HFPA and make all my picks drunk next year. But it's OK; much like Netflix, I'll do better at the Oscars ... mainly because we both can't do much worse than we did Sunday night.
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