Sunday night's Golden Globe Awards show was pretty much everything viewers want the Golden Globes to be — from its humorous informalities down to some of the inexplicable winners (we'll get to Jacqueline Bisset in a sec) of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's nearly meaningless film and television awards.
Nobody had an acceptance speech ready. Nobody could get to the stage in a timely manner. The red carpet was accidentally soaked before the show in dirty drain water. Men showed up with fancier hairdos than the women. The Breathalyzer results were just north of handcuffable. This is all we ever really ask for from any awards show — something to look at and laugh off.
Big winners included “American Hustle” (for best comedy or musical film and for actresses Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence); AMC's “Breaking Bad” (for best TV drama and for lead actor Bryan Cranston); and Fox's comedy “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (for best TV comedy and lead actor Andy Samberg).
“Twelve Years a Slave” won best film in the drama category; Cate Blanchett won best actress (drama) for her work in “Blue Jasmine”; Matthew McConaughey won best actor (drama) for “Dallas Buyers Club.”
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler delivered even better co-hosting work than they did last year; the great jab of the evening came in their opening monologue when Fey, referring to the astronauts-in-peril movie “Gravity,” said: “George Clooney would rather float away and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age.”
They also had great fun ribbing Julia Louis-Dreyfus about her snooty film-acting nomination for “Enough Said,” and ribbing her again after she lost that one for slithering “back over to the television section,” where she was nominated for “Veep.”
And Poehler (who won her own Golden Globe, for her starring role in NBC's “Parks and Recreation”) did a hilarious bit as “Randy,” Fey's “illegitimate son” forced to don a tuxedo and serve alongside Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick's daughter as “Mr. Golden Globes.”
The evening's oddest moment came barely 15 minutes in, when Bisset won a best actress award for Starz's little-noticed broadcast of the British Jazz Age miniseries “Dancing on the Edge.” It was the first of the evening's bizarre pauses, while the 69-year-old actress made her way to the stage from another planet.
At a loss for words, Bisset soon found some, reaching back across decades of apparent show-biz hurt and neglect, to the chagrin of the person at the control board tasked with muting out bad words. (And missed bleeping out the nefarious S-word.)
Bisset's goofiness seemed to set a tone: Say what you want, do what you want — it's the Golden Globes and nobody really cares and the award choices might not make conventional sense. Tremble and sputter your way through it. Pause. (Pause again. Pause yet again.) Climb over and past those tightly packed tables to get to the stage. Make fun of the HFPA in funny, fake foreign accents. Ignore the orchestra cue midway through your incomprehensible acceptance speech and then really ignore the orchestra cue.
Adams nearly won the award for side boob (while accepting her best actress award), only to have it taken away from her moments later by Robin Wright (accepting the best actress in a TV drama award for “House of Cards”). Emma Thompson walked out in stocking feet to present the best screenplay award (Spike Jonze won it for “Her”) and pointed to the red-soled bottoms of the Christian Louboutin heels in her hand: “This is my blood,” she faux-complained.
The only place the Golden Globes show ever stumbles (besides those years when the host bombs) is when some of its participants and recipients attempt to momentarily steer it in a serious direction, confusing it with fancier events: Steve Coogan brought the real “Philomena” onstage to briefly remind us of the Irish women who were forced to give up their children for adoption; U2's Bono accepted the award for best original song (from the movie “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”) and hectored us about still not having seen it.
One of the night's more memorable moments was serious and touching, as Diane Keaton accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award for her lifelong (and awards-show averse) friend Woody Allen. She took the opportunity to salute how he writes characters for women. “Woody's women [characters] can't be compartmentalized,” she said. “They are in fact the hallmark of Woody's work, but what's even more remarkable is absolutely nothing links these unforgettable characters — except the fact that they came from Woody's mind. And there you have it.”
Which is about all the genuine sentimentality a decent Golden Globes telecast can bear. Before long, it was time for Fey to bring that crowded Beverly Hilton ballroom back down to an appropriately tart level with the last great joke of the night: “And now, like a supermodel's vagina, let us give a warm welcome to Leonardo DiCaprio.”
Soon enough, the Golden Globe Awards show did something it does every year, something I love most in any awards show: It not only ended on time; it also ended one minute early. When it comes to Golden Globes, sloppy gets it done.