The Golden Globes Awards (2010). Host: Ricky Gervais.

The annual dinner party thrown by the Foreign Press Association, began with a steady downpour of rain that provided an entertaining red carpet experience. Working under umbrellas and limited visibility, Hollywood’s hot list dealt with the rain with a fluff of pink and an attempt at humility.

Ricky Gervais handled this 67th annual event by sipping a pint of beer throughout the show, and giving his audience, both at home and in front of him, a couple of silly laughs. Gervais started out the night summing up the true value of stardom. Declaring that “actors are loved because they are recognizable,” he actually taps into modern notions of celebrity and an age of new media that over-satiates actors importance in modern society and culture. Although, odds are this was not his attention, Gervais humorous comments highlights his insight and true talent as a comedian. And amidst the roses and the chandeliers Gervais would go on to say some rather funny jokes, but never completely look in command of his role as host.

Of course this could have been due to the immediate and constant reminders of George Clooney’s upcoming telethon ‘Hope for Haiti’ and the need for donations for the wrecked country. A somber note, but one that felt sincere, even if a bit pseudo at points.

Starting out the evening on an emotional and significant note was a win for the film Precious with Mo’nique picking up a globe for best supporting actress in a drama. A raw speech made her moment memorable and helped to start out the evening on a nice beat. Beginning the television wins was Toni Collette winning best actress for a a television series (comedy or musical) for HBO’s The United States of Tara. John Lithgow went on to win a globe for Showtime’s Dexter for best supporting actor in a series, mini-series or motion picture made for television.

The night continued with a nice pace with Paul McCartney announcing that animated films are not just for children, but also for “adults who take drugs.” Pixar’s UP went on to take the award for best motion picture (animated). Following that was the normal speech by the president as Philip Berk, president of the Foreign Press Association ‘said some brief sentences’ about his organization.

Continuing with television, Michael C. Hall (Showtime’s Dexter) accepted his globe for best actor in a series, mini-series or motion picture made for television, which marks his fourth nomination. The awards kept rolling with Juliana Margulies winning for CBS’s  The Good Wife in the best actress in a television series drama category. Breaking from television, best original song (motion picture) went to The Weary Heart from Crazy Heart (Ryan Bingham & T-bone Burnett). A movie with very fine original music and score, Crazy Heart was the only in its category really worth the notice. And although best original score (motion picture) went to Michael Giachinno  for UP, by the end of the night the music awards seemed one of the categories the foreign press association got right.

FPA went on with the evening to give their best mini-series or motion picture made for television golden globe to HBO’s Grey Gardens. An obvious choice given the nominees, but the next one proved to be even more obvious. Competing against herself, Meryl Streep accepted the best actress (comedy or musical) golden globe for Julie & Julia. Beginning her speech saying that she wants to change her name to T-bone, could mark the actress’ desire for anonymity or her exhaustion in competing with herself. A heart felt and wandering speech about her mother, Streep can of course do no wrong and does Julia Child justice off and on screen.

The awards switched back to television as the best actor for a mini-series or motion picture made for television was given to Kevin Bacon for HBO’s Taking Chance. Out shining him in his speech and glow was Miss Drew Barrymore who was next to win best actress for a mini-series or motion picture made for television for her role in HBO’s Grey Gardens. Flustered, sincere, and beaming Barrymore thanked everyone in the room as she grew up in the limelight of Hollywood’s 1980s scene. Reminding everyone of the luck of opportunity, Barrymore set a nice tone for a night that lacked laughter.

Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner went on to win the globe for best screen play (motion picture) for their collaboration on Up in the Air. Not the choice I would make, but as their film has proved to be topical and popular, it was not a surprising win. Alec Baldwin was announced as a winner for NBC’s 30 Rock for best actor in a television series comedy. Thankfully he wasn’t present to accept and the audience could happily move on to the best foreign language film, Germany’s The White Ribbon. However, no one could escape the constant reminders of the tragic situation in Haiti and the contributions that are in dire need. Never ending through out the night, various actors took the stage and reminded audience members at home and out that night to donate.

At moments, the night was able to escape the shadow of Haiti. One moment, was the the cast of AMC’s Mad Men’s win for best television series (drama) with creator Matthew Wiener at the helm for the speech. The first series to win this award twice, no one will argue of the quality of Mad Men‘s characters, costumes and story. Following, well, ripping her dress on those footsteps was Chloe Sevigny winning the globe for best supporting actress in a series, mini-series or motion picture made for television for her role on HBO’s Big Love. Following her dress debacle was Christoph Waltz and his circumventing speech while accepting the globe for the best supporting actor in a motion picture for his part in Inglorious Basterds.

However, the most impression speech of the night was Martin Scorsese’s for his Cecil B. DeMille award. Flanked by Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert DeNiro, Scorsese seemed humbled, happy, and articulate in his passion for film preservation. Although there are surely many of his predecessors, filmmakers who influenced him who deserve this award, it’s hard to deny his significance in the modern age of cinema. Yet although he was eloquent, the next director up on stage was not. James Cameron’s  best director acceptance speech for Avatar was the underwhelming moment of the night. Not only did he tell millions of viewers and the people in the room that he needed to hit the men’s room, but he proceeded to somehow remind people how brilliant he is at doing things that don’t involve public speaking.

Rounding out the television awards, was a nice fresh win in the best series (comedy or musical) category. An exuberant cast and creator accepted the globe for Fox’s newest success, Glee. Missing out on it’s acting awards, Glee‘s win was joyous, well deserving, and revived the lackluster tone of the evening. Some might view the win as a surprise, but not as much of one as the win for best film (comedy or musical) that went to The Hangover. The FPA sadly looked over the delightful (500) Days of Summer, and gave the award to a crass comedy that will only receive attention tonight.

And tonight was also all about Sandra Bullock. Winning the best actress in a motion picture (drama)for The Blind Side, Bullock was emotional and grateful for the spotlight. She beat out two British actresses and two newcomers who represented independent filmmaking, whereas Bullock’s was obviously studio funded. She’s had an amazing year and one can only hope that this pushes her career in new directions and challenges.

But. sporting the most entertaining acceptance speech of the night, Robert Downey Jr. surprising ran off with the best actor in a motion picture (comedy or musical )for his role in Sherlock Holmes. It is difficult not to like Downey Jr. as he yaps about who he doesn’t want to thank, but there is no hiding that the Hollywood Foreign Press missed a beat here. Not only were the other roles far more captivating, but the films themselves of better quality.

And quality of performance was definitely on their minds as the foreign press awarded the best actor in a motion picture (drama) to Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart. Thanking both his entertainment business parents, Bridges was humble enough and, of course, has begun the buzz of Oscar speculation. Falling in lie with that buzz is the win for team Avatar as they also walked away with the globe for best motion picture (drama). With an equally underwhelming speech, Cameron rounded out the night on a rather blah and brisk moment that reminded audiences of the shadow over the event and the lack of palpable enjoyment and excitement.

And as the award season continues, it will be a fascinating time to watch this business be self-conscious and self-aware of it’s role in our modern society. So stay tuned…

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