A Kinder, Gentler Gervais Hosts Golden Globes
January 16, 2012

If you are a fan of awards shows, you have probably become a fan of two people. You want Billy Crystal to host the Oscars, and Ricky Gervais to emcee the Golden Globes. For different reasons, of course. Crystal is witty, charming, and endearing, while Gervais takes more of a scathing tone, although in a witty, charming, and even endearing way.

This was the third straight year that Gervais has hosted the Golden Globes on NBC. After creating some controversy last year, but still being invited back anyway, I thought Gervais was going to push the envelope (so to speak) even farther, but he really didn't.

After hosting the show the previous two seasons, he opened this year's broadcast with, “so where was I...”. He did get in a couple of shots at the Golden Globes and NBC, saying, “Tonight you get Britain's biggest comedian, hosting the world's second biggest awards show, on America's third biggest network.” In comparing the Globes to the Oscars, Gervais said it was like comparing Kim Kardashian to Kate Middleton. “A bit louder, a bit trashier, a bit drunker, and more easily bought.”

Gervais did have to be bleeped once. When introducing presenters Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek, Gervais said he was so excited to meet them because they were such “gorgeous specimens.” He went on to say, “I'm sure they are quite interesting too. I don't know really because I can't...”, and then the audio was cut out for several seconds.

But while there was no Charlie Sheen story this year, Gervais didn't rip on any of the nominated movies like he did with The Tourist last time (Angelina Jolie was clearly not amused but there were several shots of her this year laughing it up). Last year, Gervais made fun of Hollywood Foreign Press Association President Philip Berk. Gervais said he “had to help (Berk) off the toilet and pop in his teeth” before Berk came out on stage. This year's President is a woman, and Gervais didn't even introduce her (although I am sure that was by design).

Other Gervais Moments: In his monologue, he did get in the obligatory Kardashian divorce joke, “A marriage that lasted 72 days. I've sat through longer James Cameron acceptance speeches.”... Gervais, in his first on camera since the show open, told the crowd that this was fun, and that last year's crowd “had a stick up their ass”...About an hour or so into the show, Gervais said they were running about five minutes behind, and urged the winners to just thank God, and their agent. Gervais (who concluded last year's show by thanking God for making him an atheist), said those two had about the same input in his career.

Best Non-Gervais Moments: Morgan Freeman was this year's winner of the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award. Freeman was presented the award by Sidney Poitier and Hellen Mirren. The crowd fell completely hushed when the 84 year-old Poitier gave his dramatic introduction...Best presenters were husband-and-wife actors William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman. Presenting for Best Supporting Actress in Television Mini-Series or Movie (won by Jessica Lange for American Horror Story on FX), the duo sung a sarcastic little ditty about it being an honor just to be nominated...Gervais wasn't the only one bleeped. Meryl Streep slipped an “S-bomb” on stage when she realized she forgot her glasses. She had to improvise her acceptance speech but did a great job. Streep won for Best Movie Actress for The Iron Lady (They couldn't get any British actresses to play Margaret Thatcher? Really?).

Awards: The top movie awards went to The Descendants for Best Dramatic Film, with star George Clooney getting the Best Actor nod. Streep won Best Dramatic Actress and Michelle Williams was Best Comedy Actress for My Life With Marilyn. The Artist was the winner for Best Comedy Film and star Jean Dujardin was Best Comedy Actor. Moneyball, which had a few nominations including stars Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, didn't win any awards. On the television side, Showtime's Homeland was Best Drama, ABC's Modern Family won for Best Comedy, and PBS' Downton Abbey won for Best Miniseries. Most of the individual awards went to shows I've never heard of. Kelsey Grammer won Best Actor in a Drama Series for the Starz show Boss. Matt LeBlanc won Best Comedy Series Actor for playing a version of himself (kind of like Seinfeld?) in Episodes on Showtime. Claire Danes won Best Drama Actress in Homeland, and Laura Dern won for Best Comedy Actress in HBO's Enlightened. Although I don't watch HBO's Game of Thrones, I recognized Peter Dinklage from one of the American Pie movies. The diminutive actor won for Best Supporting Actor in a TV Miniseries or Film.

Fashion (Yes, because I'm the expert): I'm definitely not the fashion critic, but there are certain things I notice. When did the mermaid look become popular? Reese Witherspoon, Tina Fey, and a few others looked like they just came back from the premiere of Splash II. Sarah Michelle Gellar's dress not only had the mermaid tail, but the blue and white looked like something from a Sea World exhibit... I hate it when beautiful women show up to these things looking all frumpy. See Jessica Biel...Michelle Pfeiffer looked like she safety-pinned a satin table cloth around her...Is it my imagination or does Tilda Swinton look like Martin Short's Ed Grimley? I must say.

Nothing to do with the Globes: Betty White Birthday Week kicked off Wednesday night when she and the cast of Hot in Cleveland won the People's Choice Award for Best Comedy with an Old Woman In It (just kidding—we love Betty. The award was actually for Favorite TV Comedy). White turns 90 on Tuesday. She received a standing ovation, then modestly told the crowd, “Thank you with all my heart but you don't really accomplish anything. 90 just happens.” White also appeared on the Tonight Show Friday and NBC is running a birthday special tonight. Neither White nor her show received any Golden Globe nominations...While tomorrow is White's 90th birthday, today would have been my Aunt Judy's 80th. She passed away over eight years ago, and was four months younger than my dad. So many sad anniversaries. I miss her.

Photos: More than a few people have told my Mom that she looks like Betty White, although Mom is younger. I can see it a little, although I think it's mostly the hair. You be the judge (Mom is on the left)...

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