Last night's Golden Globes were a combination of moving speeches, hit-and-miss humor, and winners that mostly solidified the frontrunners in the Oscar race. It was far from the best Golden Globes ceremony — especially when compared to the prior two hosting jobs by the evening's emcees, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler — but it also could have been so much worse. In short, it was a lot like the evening's list of winners.
Here's everything you need to know. If you just want a rundown of the winners, you can go here.
Who was the big winner?
Richard Linklater's Boyhood, the rare indie film epic that was filmed over 12 years and spans much of young star Ellar Coltrane's childhood, was the only movie to win more than two awards, and it picked up just three. Yet by winning three big prizes — Best Picture, Drama; Best Director for Linklater; and Best Supporting Actress for Patricia Arquette (who plays the protagonist's mother) — the film solidified its position as the frontrunner to win Best Picture at the Oscars. It also put Linklater and Arquette comfortably in the pole positions for their categories.
But the evening also saw the films The Theory of Everything and Birdman and the TV shows Transparent, Fargo, and The Affair all win two prizes a piece. In particular, Transparent and The Affair, both little watched shows in their first seasons, boosted their chances for viewers to check them out, with Best Series trophies, as well as wins for their respective leads, Jeffrey Tambor and Ruth Wilson.
If there's a "loser" of the big winners, it's Birdman, which managed wins for Best Screenplay and Best Actor, Musical or Comedy, for Michael Keaton, but missed an expected prize for Best Picture, Musical or Comedy, to The Grand Budapest Hotel, which is, oddly enough, from the same studio, Fox Searchlight.
How were Tina Fey and Amy Poehler?
The best way to describe the comedians might have been "largely absent." Their monologue was a bit shakier than the past two, but it hit its stride around the midpoint as it ripped through some of Hollywood's most tired and sexist behavior. (In particular, a joke pointing out all of Amal Clooney's accomplishments in her work for human rights, concluding with the punchline that her husband, George, was receiving a "lifetime achievement award," killed.)
But then the two largely disappeared from the show. They popped up a couple of times with Margaret Cho, as a North Korean Hollywood Foreign Press Association member unhappy with the evening, but the bit never took off like the two clearly hoped it would, leaving their primary contribution to the program's latter half being an unfunny running joke. Then they didn't appear at all until the very end of the program, as they sent the evening off.
This is actually common for the Globes, which don't really need a host but continue to keep one around for the opening monologue anyway. The reason is simple. The odds of the monologue making headlines are usually better than any of the award winners. But the problem is that every year, the Globes turn into a sprint for the finish line in their final hour, and this year was no different.
What was the biggest surprise?
Unquestionably the win by Grand Budapest Hotel. Though it was perceived as being in second place to Birdman, it was thought to be in a distant second. That it was able to win the award — complete with a charming speech by director Wes Anderson — suggests its place in the Oscar Best Picture race is solidified, and Anderson might actually crack the director lineup. At the very least, he has to be a threat for a Best Original Screenplay win.
Were there any nice speeches?
And how! This year's ceremony was filled with great speeches, good speeches, and speeches that felt over-rehearsed but still possessed some charm. Our friends over at Hitfix saw this year's crop as an over-abundance of seriousness, but we sort of liked that about it.
Yes, some of that pomposity fell flat — Drama Series Actor winner Kevin Spacey's salute to Stanley Kramer, of all people, felt like a buildup to something far more weighty than what he offered — but many of the others touched on important issues in the world, like the Charlie Hebdo shootings, transgender representation, or the legacy of race in the US. And if you just wanted something terse and amusing, well, Billy Bob Thornton (winning for Fargo) had you covered.
Perhaps the most prevalent theme of the evening was the idea of how Hollywood does — or doesn't — embrace the many great women carving out careers in it. For the first time in the HFPA's history, both the Best Comedy Series and Best Drama Series were created by women in the same year (Jill Soloway for Transparent and Sarah Treem, co-creator of The Affair). And Maggie Gyllenhaal, winning an acting prize for the miniseries The Honorable Woman, praised strong women and, by implication, the rise of roles for those strong women.
But for women in the film industry, the speeches took on a slightly different tone. Julianne Moore (winning for Still Alice) offhandedly mentioned how it was hard to get a movie about a middle-aged woman made, for instance.
You know who else gave a good speech? George Clooney. But that's not unexpected.
What else did this say about the Oscars?
Well, Linklater, Arquette, Moore, and Supporting Actor winner J.K. Simmons all seem to be frontrunners in their respective categories, while you have to assume the Birdman writing team also has a shot at the Original Screenplay category. Furthermore, Boyhood now seems the frontrunner for Best Picture going away. There's simply no other film close enough to catch it, barring some unforeseen shift in the race (which could happen).
The most interesting category at this point is Best Actor, where the slate is unusually deep, with several actors jockeying to get into a field that can only hold five men, and no clear indication who the frontrunner for the win is. The two big winners were Keaton and Eddie Redmayne, who was named the Best Actor in a Drama for his work in The Theory of Everything. But there's still every chance in the world Benedict Cumberbatch or David Oyelowo could win, given the right circumstances. The safest bet at this point might be Keaton, who has a heck of a comeback story, but it's really anybody's category.
Was anybody's Oscar momentum hurt?
Last month, Selma seemed like the late-breaking challenger that would threaten Boyhood and Birdman's dominance. And though Birdman has evidently fallen off, Selma hasn't really risen to take its place, thanks to a combination of questionable campaign decisions and a questions about the film's historical accuracy.
The thing that made Selma feel so exciting in December — the fact that it came out of nowhere to amazing reviews — is also what ultimately hurt it. Boyhood has had since the summer to shake off any controversy surrounding it. Whatever problems hit Selma were necessarily going to hit it right in the heat of awards season, slowing whatever momentum it had. A very similar thing happened to Zero Dark Thirty a couple of years ago, when it went from frontrunner to also-ran over concerns that the film supported terrorism.
What was the worst moment of the ceremony?
There were any number of questionable gags here and there, by far the one that people seemed most upset about was Jeremy Renner telling Jennifer Lopez that she had "the globes" in reference to her breasts.
It was an dumb, dumb joke, delivered lecherously. Twitter wasn't happy. But also had its own jokes to make.
Jeremy Renner rushes back to his table. "You guys hear that? That globes joke I made? Not too bad, right? Guys?" No one makes eye contact.
— Anne T. Donahue (@annetdonahue) January 12, 2015
Seth McFarlane is writing Jeremy Renner's material. #GoldenGlobes
— rachelsklar (@rachelsklar) January 12, 2015
"Women have breasts." - men
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) January 12, 2015
Who was that charming woman who won the TV Comedy Actress award?
Why, that was Gina Rodriguez of Jane the Virgin, which is reairing its first two episodes on The CW tonight. She already gives a good speech, and she brought her A game to the Globes. And if you were charmed by her, well, you've only begun to know of her powers. Check the show out to learn even more.
Can you sum up your general feelings for the program in a single image, ideally one that moves?
Correction: An earlier version of this post misidentified the actress whose breasts Jeremy Renner joked about. We regret the error.