As Golden Globe ceremonies go, the 74th was disappointingly tame. Yes, some of the celebrities in the crowd had obviously taken one too many trips to the bar. And, yes, there were some amusing bits. (Our favorite? Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig introducing the Best Animated Movie category.)
But for the most part, the ceremony took on the personality of its host, Jimmy Fallon. It was basically fine, but distinctly unmemorable. Even the winners were a little bland — which isn’t a very harsh thing to say when one movie (La La Land) wins seven out of 14 possible movie prizes.
In fact, the ceremony’s most buzzed-about moments tended to come from the winners’ speeches.
Meryl Streep laid into president-elect Donald Trump while accepting her Cecil B. DeMille award for lifetime achievement. Viola Davis struck just the right tone in honoring her late father after winning for Fences. And Donald Glover, a winner two times over for his FX series Atlanta, talked about how entertainment was a lifeline for him growing up.
Still, while there have been more immediately memorable Golden Globes ceremonies, here are a few of the most notable bits from this one.
Winner: La La Land
La La Land was the night’s huge winner, breaking Golden Globe records with seven total wins: Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy), Best Actor (Ryan Gosling), Best Actress (Emma Stone), Best Screenplay and Best Director (Damien Chazelle), Best Score (Justin Hurwitz), and Best Original Song (“City of Stars”).
Not only that, but the Globes’ opening number was an affectionate parody of La La Land’s big opening number, “Another Day of Sun,” with nominees from Nicole Kidman to the Stranger Things cast participating along with the show’s host, Jimmy Fallon, and even his bosom buddy Justin Timberlake.
La La Land’s sweep isn’t unexpected; the movie has been garnering comparisons to The Artist (2011), which won three Golden Globes and was nominated for three more. Both are stylized nostalgic films about Hollywood’s history. La La Land has been a hit with audiences as well, and its big night at the Globes is a huge boon, especially going into the Oscars next month. It might help keep ticket sales strong, too.
Loser: James “Jimmy” Fallon
In any normal year, Jimmy Fallon would probably be a perfectly adequate Golden Globes host. He would show up, crack a few jokes about all of the actors with beards, pretend he was in love with a handsome man, then exit stage right. It wouldn’t be great, but you’d forget about his appearance almost immediately — the awards show equivalent of a mildly upset stomach.
However, Jimmy Fallon hosted the Golden Globes in 2017, just 12 days before Donald Trump is inaugurated as president, on an occasion when all jokes get sucked into the President-elect’s gravitational pull. And if there’s one thing Fallon isn’t terribly good at joking about, it’s politics.
The comedian’s desire to have all of America like him means he never feels more ill at ease than when he’s trying to execute pointed political gags. (At times, he sounds like the joke-telling computer from The Simpsons: “Did you hear about those clowns in Congress? What a bunch of clowns!”)
After the opening monologue, which Vox’s Caroline Framke dissected here, Fallon mostly disappeared. Yeah, he popped up for a quick gag here or there, but it’s telling that it’s hard to remember any of them, except for the one featuring musical accompaniment — when he set the names “Redmayne” and “Chastain” to the beat of “Insane in the Membrane.”
That goofy dad joke was the one time during the evening that he seemed entirely at ease. However, it also left us thankful that ABC will never let the Oscars slip from its grasp and, thus, NBC loyalist Fallon will never host them.
Moonlight did win, of course — our pick for the best film of 2016 took home the trophy for Best Motion Picture (Drama). That’s a huge achievement for the movie, a relatively low-budget arthouse picture about a young gay black man growing up in Miami; it isn’t necessarily your typical awards bait.
But the film was also nominated in two categories it was expected to win: Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali, who was favored by critics’ groups, and Best Screenplay. Instead, Aaron Taylor-Johnson won the former for his performance in Tom Ford’s sleek thriller Nocturnal Animals, an upset win. And Best Screenplay went to La La Land, the night’s big winner.
Will this hurt Moonlight? Probably not at the box office: The movie’s single Golden Globes win is the big one, and may help it draw an even bigger audience. Whether it makes a difference for the Oscars is an open question. The Globes have historically been good at predicting Best Screenplay winner, but at the Oscars, where there are two categories for screenplays, Moonlight will compete in the Best Adapted Screenplay category against Arrival and Fences, while La La Land will compete for Best Original Screenplay against films like Manchester By the Sea. And while the Globes often predict winners in the Oscars’ acting categories, Taylor-Johnson is an unlikely choice for Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars.
Winner: streaming television
The Golden Globes — always fond of shiny new baubles — have generally been friendlier to streaming networks than the Emmys. The Globes are where Amazon won two consecutive trophies for Best TV Series — Musical or Comedy. They’re where Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright won for Netflix’s House of Cards. They’re where Hulu, long an Emmy afterthought, pulled off a Comedy Series nomination for Casual.
But the 2017 awards saw all three Drama Series trophies go to streaming networks — the first time streaming networks had won all three in the same year. Billy Bob Thornton won Lead Actor for Amazon’s Goliath. Claire Foy won Lead Actress for Netflix’s The Crown. And The Crown took home the Series prize, the first time a streaming series had ever won in this category.
Yes, Amazon lost some ground in the comedy categories (where it’s won in the past for Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle) and the streaming networks don’t even compete in the miniseries categories. But the Drama categories are big, big prizes — and they were swept by the streaming networks, with The Crown seeming likely to become an awards perennial, which brings us to our next winner.
Winner: British people on TV
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association loves British people — as you’d probably expect. But in the 2017 TV categories, they really, really loved them. Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, and Olivia Colman won for The Night Manager, AMC’s veddy British adaptation of John le Carre’s spy novel. Foy and The Crown won, for perhaps the most British thing possible: dissecting the life of Queen Elizabeth II.
All of those Night Manager wins got in the way of a presumed People v O.J. Simpson sweep. (It had to settle for “merely” winning Lead Actress in a Limited Series, which went to Sarah Paulson, as well as Best Limited Series or Made for TV Movie.) And The Crown beat out a hugely competitive slate of new dramas, including Westworld, This Is Us, and Stranger Things. (The fifth nominee was HBO’s Game of Thrones, which has won but a single Golden Globe in its lifetime, for Peter Dinklage’s performance in 2012. Huh.)
The Night Manager’s awards run essentially ends here, but The Crown gets a bit of a boost as it heads to the Emmys in September.
The last time HBO didn’t win a single Golden Globe was in 2007, in the dark days after The Sopranos ended. The last time before that was in 1991, when the network barely had an original programming department.
And yet despite lots of nominations for programs like Westworld, The Night Of, Game of Thrones, and others, HBO came up blank at the 2017 awards. Yeah, that reflects a more competitive TV landscape, where networks like FX and AMC have come on strong, and where streaming competitors like Netflix and Amazon have grown substantially in recent years.
But still! It’s HBO. You’d think it would win at least one.
Winner: actresses over age 40
For all of Hollywood’s worship of youth — the average age of Best Actress nominees at the Oscars is much lower than the equivalent award for men. Emma Stone (28) and Claire Foy (32) were the lone outliers this year when it came to the Globes’ top honors. Every other winning actress is over 40: Sarah Paulson (42), Olivia Colman (42), Tracee Ellis Ross (44), Viola Davis (51), and Isabelle Huppert (63) all took home trophies.
Additionally, Meryl Streep (67) received the Cecil B. DeMille Award, the lifetime achievement honor that recognizes “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.” And a special In Memoriam tribute featured Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, who passed away within a day of one another in late December at the ages of 60 and 84, respectively.
Ageism in Hollywood hasn’t suddenly been conquered, of course. But it’s heartening to see so many women with years of hard work and experience under their belts being recognized for their performances in a variety of fields and genres.
FX’s comedy was one of the big critical sensations of the fall, and its star, creator, and sometimes director Donald Glover marked himself as a major creative voice to watch in the world of TV. But the show is also idiosyncratic to a fault, with whole episodes given over to a fake panel discussion program or supporting characters or whatever else it can think of. It does not scream “awards bait.”
Yet both the show and Glover won big at the 2017 awards, taking home the Best Musical or Comedy Series and Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy prizes. That’s could be due to the Globes’ bias toward new programming (of the 11 TV prizes, only one went to a program not in its first season), but maybe the wins also reflect Atlanta’s unexpected strength as an awards player. (This year also marked the best Golden Globes ceremony yet for FX, which won two more prizes for The People v O.J. Simpson.)
The history of the Emmys is littered with series that did well at the Globes, then bombed at the Emmys, and while the Emmys have occasionally embraced dramedies like Atlanta, they tend to hold them at arm’s length when compared to the Globes, which love dramedies. Here’s hoping Atlanta’s Globes wins will give the show some momentum as it heads into the TV awards season this summer.
Loser: every movie that wasn’t La La Land, even the winners
Other movies had to win at the Globes — La La Land by definition couldn’t be nominated in every category — but some films still fell short of expectations. Critical darling Manchester By the Sea only took home an acting award for Casey Affleck, and Moonlight only won for Best Picture, while Hacksaw Ridge and Hell or High Water, both with three nominations, were shut out entirely. Moana was a contender for both Best Animated Film and Best Original Song (which, incidentally, would have gone to Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda), but it was edged out by Zootopia and La La Land.
While most of the film winners aren’t exactly surprising (Taylor-Johnson’s win for Nocturnal Animals being the exception), a win at the Globes can help a smaller film gain some traction at the box office, even if it doesn’t affect its Oscar chances. So getting shut out of the Globes can be a bit of a blow.
Of course, in theory a snub could help a film, if the post-awards outcry is loud enough and Academy voters or moviegoers take note. Who knows if Spotlight’s failure to win any Golden Globes in 2016 helped propel the film toward its eventual Oscars for Best Picture and Screenplay? Whether that will happen with any of these snubs, though, is doubtful: Hacksaw Ridge has already left most theaters, as has Hell or High Water, and Moana already has a built-in audience of Disney lovers. Moonlight and Manchester By the Sea are still riding on the accolades they’ve received thus far. The Academy Awards are still very much up in the air.
Correction: In an earlier version of this story, we omitted Claire Foy from our list of winning actresses. We have updated it to include her.