Perhaps the most stunning sight at the Golden Globes: George Clooney wearing a wedding ring.
Clooney has been nominated in more categories than anyone in the history of the Golden Globes, so even though he’s just 53, it didn’t seem premature for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to give him the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award. The montage of movies Clooney has directed, produced and/or starred in was a reminder of one of the most remarkable careers of the last 20 years.
In addition to Clooney’s pre-ordained award, the Globes offered the usual mix of sure things and surprises.
The best picture/drama win for “Boyhood” confirmed that Richard Linklater’s unique film about a dozen years in the life of an American boy touched on universal truths. Given that the HFPA membership includes entertainment journalists from Germany, Denmark, New Zealand, Mexico and more than a dozen other foreign countries, it’s clear “Boyhood” has an appeal beyond our borders.
As for the Golden Globes as a television show, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey killed it in their opening monologue, delivering smart, slightly edgy one-liners that poked fun at the audience and the silliness of show business while clearly enjoying what they said will be their last time co-hosting.
Yes, they went after Bill Cosby, trading bad imitations of Cosby as the audience laughed uncomfortably, if there’s such a thing as laughing uncomfortably. Tina Fey cited Amal Clooney’s amazing accomplishments as a lawyer, human rights activist and author and cracked, “So tonight her husband is getting a lifetime achievement award.”
Other highlights of the show included a surprise appearance by Prince, who sported sunglasses and a walking stick and appeared to be blind, but was just being his usual crazy fantastic self; Ricky Gervais spraying a number of shots at the Hollywood elite while cradling a glass of ale; and “the newest member of HFPA,” a North Korean “journalist” (Margaret Cho) taking a photo with Meryl Streep as Benedict Cumberbatch photo-bombed with perfect timing.
There were a few big surprises, including:
• “How to Train Your Dragon 2” winning best animated feature over the superior “Lego Movie” and “Big Hero 6.”• Amy Adams winning best actress in a musical or comedy for “Big Eyes,” which I thought was a drama when I saw it. Emily Blunt was the favorite for “Into the Woods,” but I agree with the Hollywood Foreign Press on this one. Adams said she couldn’t have been less prepared — and she went on to prove it in a sincere but nearly incoherent speech.
• “The Affair,” a classic example of a hate-watching TV show, winning best drama series over “Downton Abbey,” “Game of Thrones,” “The Good Wife,” “House of Cards.” And Ruth Wilson from “The Affair” beating out Claire Danes, Viola Davis, Robin Wright and Julianna Margulies for best actress.
• The terrific “Fargo” besting “The Normal Heart” and “True Detective,” among others, for best miniseries or TV movie.
A number of favorites did take home the Globe, including J.K. Simmons for “Whiplash,” Patricia Arquette for “Boyhood,” Michael Keaton for “Birdman” and Julianne Moore for “Still Alice.” In this case, the Globes really are a harbinger of the Oscars. It would be a pretty big upset if any of these four doesn’t win an Academy Award as well.
The pre-game festivities on the red carpet were entertaining as always. NBC morning stars Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie seemed uncomfortable interviewing Matthew McConaughey et al. Also, why bring a date when you work in a plug for your movie or your TV show? From “The Boy Next Door” to “Girls” to “House of Cards,” co-stars appeared together on the red carpet to chat up their latest projects.
The lovely but low-key Amal Clooney looked like she wished her husband had brought along a co-star —especially when Giuliana Rancic whipped out a bottle of Clooney’s Casamigos Tequilia and tried to get George and Amal to join her in a shot.
Amal was having none of it. George said he’d be at the bar after the show, but he said he was speaking at the awards and it wouldn’t be a good idea for him to drink beforehand, given what’s happened in the past when he tried that combo.
A game Giuliana downed a shot and said it was smooth.
George and Amal smiled. Awkwardness prevailed.