For a second year running, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosted NBC’s Golden Globes telecast in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Sunday, and Fey, droll as ever, laid out the brutal essence of their return engagement: “This is Hollywood,” she said, “and if something kind of works, they’ll just keep doing it.”
Their presence was a tonic to the earnestness of the night’s early winners, letting the good-natured barbs fly. Taking in the array of assembled movie stars, including The Wolf of Wall Street winner Leonardo DiCaprio, Poehler nodded in the direction of Matt Damon: “On any other night, in any other room, you would be a big deal, but tonight — and don’t take this the wrong way — you’re basically a garbage person.”
That helped set the tone for what was a typically loose, fairly boozy affair, even when the slate of movies nominated were as serious as they come, including 12 Years a Slave, which won for best drama, and Dallas Buyers Club, which landed star Matthew McConaughey the lead acting prize. American Hustle nabbed the movie comedy Globe, as did stars Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams.
But an abundance of sputtering speeches (hello, Jacqueline Bisset, who won for the little-seen Starz series Dancing on the Edge) and long, long walks to the stage by winners didn’t help.
“Everybody just keep drinking,” presenter Sean “Diddy” Combs said an hour into the broadcast. “It’ll be over soon.”
It’s advice many in the audience probably should have heeded from the start, because Fey and Poehler’s light touch promised a spunkier tone for the night. Hitting closest to the bone was Fey’s assessment of Gravity: “It’s the story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age.” (Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón won for Gravity, jokingly apologizing for his accent, which he said made his instruction “I’m going to give you an earpiece” sound like “I’m going to give you herpes.”)
Poehler and Fey also touched on the former’s nomination for her NBC comedy Parks and Recreation, with a request to one of the camera operators to “get a shot” of Poehler in the audience, only to have the camera fix on Jennifer Lawrence. “Wow, radiant!” Poehler deadpanned. “It is hard to believe she’s a 42-year-old mother of two.” (Poehler ultimately won the award, a much-deserved nod.)
On the TV front, Breaking Bad garnered wins for star Bryan Cranston, as well as a Globe for the show itself in the drama category. And though his name was never mentioned, Saturday Night Live executive producer Lorne Michaels all but notched an award for himself as the man behind most of the talent onstage, including the two hosts, presenters Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers, and Globe winner Andy Samberg, who won for his role on Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine (which also won for best comedy).
Amid the sincere speeches and tepid mishaps, at least presenter Jim Carrey got in a dig at recent “retiree” from public life Shia LaBeouf and his plagiaristic tendencies. And Poehler and Fey brought the comedy back in full force when Poehler dressed in tuxedo drag, pretending to be a petulant teenage “Mr. Golden Globes” and wondering if any of the men in the audience could be “his” long-lost father. Poehler sidled up to movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, asking: “Is it him?”
At the end of the night, it was Fey who signed off: “Thank you, everyone. This was the beautiful mess we hoped it would be.”