Thoughts on the telecast: After three years of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, I was amazed that NBC decided to switch back to Ricky Gervais as host for this year’s Golden Globe Awards. Not only did some people, most notably the former Hollywood Foreign Press president, think Gervais crossed some lines in the past, but Gervais himself vowed to never host the show again. But here we are, with Ricky doing what he does best: making sardonic jokes about everyone else in the room and the business.
I was most impressed on how quickly he bit the hand that feeds him by pointing out that NBC had no nominations this year, as well as how he tied in his jabs at Jennifer Lawrence’s call for equal pay for women in entertainment to his own reprisal as host. Still, his most biting quips came later; his remark about Ben Affleck as he was introducing Matt Damon was just a cheap shot (but hilarious nonetheless). Gervais’ bit with Mel Gibson, however, has to be one of the most intentionally awkward things I’ve ever seen. I am little disappointed though that as the night dragged on, the running joke was that Gervais was tired and didn’t want to be there. It didn’t work entirely. The rest of the comedy, which rested on the shoulders of the presenters, fortunately did work, for the most part. The best moment was probably the bear from The Revenant presenting an award. Andy Samberg also stood out, and it’s clear why he was the host of the Emmys this past year.
There were some notable hiccups in the actual ceremony, including a couple missed cues by the technical director during the naming of nominees and some sort of teleprompter error, though it seemed like Jamie Alexander might have had too much to drink before going on stage. The biggest issue, however, was definitely how many things were bleeped out. Come on, people. Keep it kind of, sort of clean. The viewers at home want to hear what you’re saying.
Of course, I’d say the real highlights were the awards themselves. I’ve broken down my thoughts for each category below.
Best Television Series, Drama: Empire (FOX), Game of Thrones (HBO), Narcos (Netflix), Mr. Robot (USA), Outlander (Starz)
Winner: Mr. Robot
Reaction: We’re starting with a shocker, at least for me. I had it in my mind with Game of Thrones winning the Emmy last year for the first time that it would win here too. Perhaps we have the somewhat mixed reaction to Season 5 to thank for this not being the case. This is really huge though, as USA Network had never even had a show nominated for a Best Drama Golden Globe until this year. Not to discredit Mr. Robot, which I hear is a fantastic show. With success so early in its life, there’s mounting pressure for Season 2 to deliver when it drops. Who knows, we may see it nominated next year too.
Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy: Casual (Hulu), Mozart in the Jungle (Amazon Video), Silicon Valley (HBO), Transparent (Amazon Video), Orange Is the New Black (Netflix), Veep (HBO)
Winner: Mozart in the Jungle
Reaction: I kind of thought that this would be another case of a first timer winning and Casual would take the prize for Hulu. Alas, that was not the case. It’s got to feel good working for Amazon Video right now. With this win it has two back-to-back wins in this category, last year’s being for Transparent. Amazon Video has come into its own as the streaming rival of Netflix. Hulu definitely needs to step it up when it comes to original content.
Best TV Movie or Limited Series: American Crime (ABC), American Horror Story: Hotel (FX), Fargo (FX), Flesh and Bone (Starz), Wolf Hall (PBS)
Winner: Wolf Hall
Reaction: This was probably the most surprising winner of the night, as I thought Fargo would surely win for its acclaimed second season. I’m willing to bet there are a lot of people out there who will flat out say that Wolf Hall stole this award from Fargo. Damian Lewis must know what he’s doing when he picks series to act in. Homeland, Band of Brothers, and now Wolf Hall are all Golden Globe winners.
Best Actress in a Television Series, Drama: Caitriona Balfe, Outlander (Starz), Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder (ABC), Eva Green, Penny Dreadful (Showtime), Robin Wright, House of Cards (Netflix)
Winner: Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Reaction: Empire fans love Henson’s Cookie and so does the HFPA. Now that Empire has an award to its name, I have a feeling that it’s nowhere but up from here. Let it be known that this the only winner of tonight from one of the big four broadcast networks. With cable and streaming snatching away so many of the nominations, the networks have to take anything they can get.
Best Actor in a Television Series, Drama: Jon Hamm, Mad Men (AMC), Rami Malek, Mr. Robot (USA), Wagner Moura, Narcos (Netflix), Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul (AMC), Liv Schreiber, Ray Donovan (Showtime)
Winner: Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Reaction: It just felt right that this is how Jon Hamm says goodbye to Don Draper, with an Emmy and a Golden Globe. And now that he’s 2 for 2 he can ride off into the sunset. I would have been alright with Bob Odenkirk as well, but this was for the best. Who knows? Maybe next year will his year.
Best Actress in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy: Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (The CW), Jamie Lee Curtis, Scream Queens (FOX), Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep (HBO), Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin, (The CW), Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie (Netflix)
Winner: Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Reaction: Wow. This girl came out of nowhere and just beat industry veteran Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Talk about an upset. I remember seeing a commercial for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and thinking, “Yeah, sure. That’ll last.” Furthermore, this is from The CW, the junior varsity of the broadcast networks. We’re talking about the channel known for shows about superheroes (not to knock the channel; I loved seeing Grant Gustin present an award). Like with Amazon Prime, it must be awesome to have a winner in the same category two years in a row, with Gina Rodriguez winning last year. Honestly, I thought she would win again.
Best Actor in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy: Aziz Ansari, Master of None (Netflix), Gael Garcia Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle (Amazon Video), Rob Lowe, The Grinder (FOX), Patrick Stewart, Blunt Talk (Starz), Jeffery Tambor, Transparent (Amazon Video)
Winner: Gael Garcia Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle
Reaction: I can think of no better feeling during an award show than winning all of the categories you were nominated for. Admitted, the show was only nominated for two, but it sends a pretty clear message about the quality of your show when the lead actor and the series itself both win. Making classical music entertaining to people is pretty special. Do you know how many people Mozart would put to sleep?
Best Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie: Kirsten Dunst, Fargo (FX), Lady Gaga, American Horror Story: Hotel (FX), Sarah Hay, Flesh and Bone (Starz), Felicity Huffman, American Crime (ABC), Queen Latifah, Bessie (HBO)
Winner: Lady Gaga, American Horror Story: Hotel
Reaction: Lady Gaga the actress has arrived. I imagine a lot of people were scratching their heads when she was cast in the latest iteration of American Horror Story, but I thought it made sense, given how weird her persona is. Does that mean I didn’t think it was gimmicky? Absolutely not, because it was and still kind of is. But with this award, Lady Gaga justified her casting in a supreme way. It was nice to see how much it meant to her. And this is coming from someone who isn’t gaga for Gaga. I never knew she originally wanted to be an actress. I thought she was going to completely break down into tears. It would have been cool to see Kirsten Dunst win, considering all the flack she’s gotten for the Spider-Man films for some reason, but Gaga’s acceptance speech makes this just about as good.
Best Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie: Idris Elba, Luther (BBC America), Oscar Isaac, Show Me a Hero (HBO), David Oyelowo, Nightingale (HBO), Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall (PBS), Patrick Wilson, Fargo (FX)
Winner: Oscar Isaac, Show Me a Hero
Reaction: I’m not going to lie. I cheered when I heard the winner for this one. Over the past year, Oscar Isaac has become one of my new favorite actors in the business. And after having as stellar a 2015 as he had, this was just the icing on the cake. And with X-Men: Apocalypse coming out later this year, things are only looking sweeter for him. All of this solidifies Oscar Isaac as a new Hollywood A-lister in my mind.
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited Series, or TV Movie: Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black (Netflix), Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey (PBS), Regina King, American Crime (ABC), Judith Light, Transparent (Amazon Video), Maura Tierney, The Affair (Showtime)
Winner: Maura Tierney, The Affair
Reaction: I have to say that I find it odd that the HFPA squeezes Best Supporting Actress/Actor for a Series (Both Drama and Musical/Comedy) in with Limited Series or TV Movie. It kind of seems like an effort just to make the ceremony a tiny bit shorter. Anyway, The Affair was the winner for Best Drama and Best Actress last year and yet this year it’s relegated to this obscure little category. Well, at least with this win, the show went home with something. I’m sure Maura Tierney is ecstatic. Better luck next year when it comes to getting more nominations.
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited Series, or TV Movie: Alan Cumming, The Good Wife (CBS), Damian Lewis, Wolf Hall (PBS), Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline (Netflix), Tobias Menzies, Outlander (Starz), Christian Slater, Mr. Robot (USA)
Winner: Christian Slater, Mr. Robot
Reaction: This was the other big win for USA Network. More importantly, it was a big win for Christian Slater. He’s gone through a handful of failed TV shows in the past (My Own Worst Enemy, Breaking In, The Forgotten, Mind Games). This award is redemption for those missteps, at least to some degree. Maybe he’ll have some better luck in the future now that he has this award to his name
In conclusion: And there you have it. Despite some issues, I’d say this was a pretty good Golden Globes. The winners kept my interest, though I sometimes forgot that this is only television’s second biggest night (see you at the Emmys.). I’d say Ricky Gervais did a nice job, overall. In fact, I’d be quite happy to see come back next year. But we’ll just have to wait and see about that.
Aaron Sarnecky is Pop-Break.com’s television editor and covers Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, among other things. He is a graduate of Rowan University with a degree in Television and Film. He probably remembers that show you forgot existed. Follow him on Twitter: @AaronSarnecky