Tina Fey, Amy Poehler solid in otherwise forgettable Golden Globes telecast

After their successful first Golden Globes hosting stint last year, expectations were high for Tina Fey and Amy Poehler‘s return, and they mostly met those expectations. They didn’t top last year’s performance, but they were the highlights of a generally unremarkable telecast full of standard presenter patter; flustered speeches; long, long walks to the stage; and a Cecil B. DeMille Award winner in absentia. Unlike recent ceremonies that delivered a combative Ricky Gervais and a defiant Jodie Foster, this year’s Globes didn’t give us much to talk about.

Fey and Poehler opened with a strong monologue, delivering the best line of the night right out of the gate when they described George Clooney‘s role in “Gravity”: “[He] would rather float in space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age.” If you tuned out after that moment you saw the best of what the Globes had to offer.

The hosts had other good moments: rattling off the names of fictitious Hollywood Foreign Press members, introducing Poehler in costume as the love child of Fey and Harvey Weinstein, and TV Musical/Comedy Actress nominee Poehler being massaged by Bono as that category was announced — she was the winner and celebrated by making out with the Irish rocker.

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Otherwise, memorable moments were few and far between. At one point, presenter Melissa McCarthy attempted a promising bit in which she sustained a head injury and believed she was Matt Damon, but when presenting the nominees for TV Movie/Miniseries Actor — which included “Behind the Candelabra” co-stars Damon and Michael Douglas — she passed up countless opportunities to follow through on the joke.

Maybe McCarthy had more material prepared but was pressed for time. We saw a lot of that in the latter half of the ceremony, where presenters barely had time to walk on stage before getting down to business and announcing the nominees. Even the winners were forced to rush; most were played off mid-speech.

It’s possible any extra time was swallowed up early on by Jacqueline Bisset, who received the second award of the night (TV Supporting Actress for “Dancing on the Edge“) and stayed on stage struggling for words as the music loudly insisted that she leave the stage. It’s understandable, though: this was Bisset’s first Globe win after five nominations spanning 45 years, so she had almost five decades of grateful thoughts to sort through.

Her speech was memorable, at least, and heartfelt, which I appreciated. I prefer a deer in headlights to some awards winners who seem overly practiced. I remember back in 2004 Jamie Foxx delivered the same speech, almost verbatim, every time he won new hardware for “Ray.”

American Hustle” winners Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence delivered two of my favorite speeches — warm and gracious. “The Wolf of Wall Street” champ Leonardo DiCaprio was poised. Poehler was a delight, but then it’s a delight to finally see her win anything after years of repeatedly losing almost every showbiz award for “Parks and Recreation.”

Diane Keaton paying tribute to Woody Allen during the Cecil B. DeMille Award presentation was touching, but that was destined to be an anticlimax after Allen decided not to show up.

That’s well describes the ceremony as a whole: an anticlimax, which did nothing especially wrong but not much especially right either. But if these awards will be remembered more for the winners than the presentation — “Breaking Bad“! Elisabeth Moss! “12 Years a Slave“! — I suppose there are worse things. Better that than to be remembered for all the wrong reasons.


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