Jimmy Fallon may have been the host of the 2017 Golden Globes, but the “Tonight Show” star wasn’t the most memorable aspect of a show that provided more than its share of unforgettable moments, thanks to some moving speeches, particularly by the newly elected President of Hollywood, Meryl Streep. (Check out all the winners here.)
Fallon began the show with a dazzling opener that recreated several moments from Oscar frontrunner “La La Land,” beginning with a take on the musical’s knockout opening number in a traffic jam of limousines, with appearances from Nicole Kidman, Amy Adams, Sarah Paulson, Kit Harrington, and featuring a rap from the juvenile cast of “Stranger Things” led by Millie Bobby Brown. Then Fallon teamed with Justin Timberlake to recreate another of the film’s most romantic moments by dancing among the clouds. You’d think that such a dynamite opener would be a harbinger of what the audience could expect from the eager-to-please host.
But alas, it was not to be. Things took a sharp downturn during Fallon’s monologue, which was slightly delayed due to a faulty teleprompter. Perhaps that was a sign of things to come. Fallon relied on excessive fawning interspersed with the occasional Donald Trump joke. Many other jokes fell flat, from an awkward pun regarding Ryan Gosling’s genitals to a Chris Rock-impression that was apropos of nothing.
The low point came later when Fallon introduced presenters Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne by rapping their names to the tune of Cypress Hill’s “Insane in the Brain.” Suddenly David Letterman‘s much-maligned “Uma and Oprah” routine from the 1994 Oscars doesn’t look so bad, does it?
When Julia Louis-Dreyfus pretending to be a DJ for 30 seconds lands better than the monologue, you know you’re going to have to find laughs elsewhere. So thank goodness for Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig, whose morbid memories of their first experiences watching classic animated films made one wish they would just take over as hosts, perhaps of everything in the future of everything.
Speeches ran the gamut from strangely moving to just downright strange. Accepting his Best TV Drama Actor prize for Amazon’s “Goliath,” Billy Bob Thornton jokingly claimed that he had a feud with fellow nominee Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”) that dated back to the 1940s, but someone apparently forgot to inform Odenkirk, who seemed visibly confused. And Aaron Taylor-Johnson, a surprise Best Film Supporting Actor winner for “Nocturnal Animals,” may have simply been too shocked to show any emotion at all.
But several winners made the most of their moments at the podium. Tracee Ellis Ross, while accepting her Best TV Comedy Actress award for “Black-ish,” gave a heartfelt speech recognizing all people of color for their artistic value. And after some gracious and lighthearted comments to fellow nominee Ryan Reynolds, Best Film Comedy/Musical Actor winner Gosling (“La La Land”) paid tribute to girlfriend Eva Mendes for raising their daughters while caring for her brother, who died last April of cancer and to whom Gosling dedicated his award. And Best TV Movie/Limited Actor champ Tom Hiddleston (“The Night Manager”) shared a moving story about relief workers who had watched the AMC/BBC production and had thanked him for bringing them some entertainment amid the horrors of the Sudan.
A usual problem with the Globes once again reared its head: the producers need to do a better job of settling the audience down when coming back from commercial breaks. The audience was quite loud, forcing several presenters to wait until the room settled down to continue with the awards. Even Matt Damon called out to “the people back at the bar,” telling them that the show was back on.
Yet nothing in the show could match the power and emotion of Meryl Streep’s Cecil B. DeMille Award. The segment started with an emotional presentation by Streep’s “Doubt” co-star Viola Davis, who more than passed her own Oscar audition upon winning Best Film Supporting Actress earlier in the night for “Fences.” That was followed by a tremendous film reel highlighting the all-time record Globe-winner’s 40-year career in film and television. But it was Streep’s speech that will be the talk of Hollywood. The Oscar-winner took direct aim at President-elect Trump, particularly for his mocking of a disabled reporter, and called on the Hollywood community to protect the integrity of the press during the upcoming presidential administration. She closed her speech by quoting her friend, the late Carrie Fisher (who wrote Streep’s Oscar nominated role in “Postcards from the Edge”), saying, “Take your broken heart, and turn it into art.”
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