Monday, January 16, 2012

Red Carpet Manners - Ratings Trump Risqué at the 69th Golden Globe Awards

The decision to invite Ricky Gervais back as host of the Golden Globes was a calculated one.  His over-the-top, borderline offensive banter brought in record ratings last year and that’s all it took for NBC to welcome the risqué host back for repeat duties.  This time, however, the network took painstaking measures to make sure the humor did not cross FCC boundaries and avoided any extra hiccups by instituting a whopping 7-second delay just in case.  With the recent Supreme Court debate over cursing and nudity on broadcast television still fresh in our minds, I suppose this was a good thing.  The network wasn’t the only one prepared for Mr. Gervais’ barbs, the celebs were also put on high alert preparing mentally to receive the jabs and blows and perhaps it was all for naught.

As the saying goes, the third time’s a charm and I suppose we found Ricky Gervais to be, surprisingly, rather charming tonight.  Yes, the controversy surrounding the hosting gig was all anyone could talk about for weeks and the stakes were quite high, but much like the weather forecasts here in Los Angeles, there was a lot of hype over nothing.  

Mr. Gervais took the stage in his burgundy and black ensemble and launched into his monologue at the podium complete with a requisite glass of ale. The first shots were thrown at NBC itself referring to it as “America’s 3rd biggest network” which garnered many laughs.  Second came the obligatory hit to the Kardashians as Gervais made an analogy comparing Kim Kardashian and the Globes to Kate Middleton and the Oscars claiming that the former were “louder, trashier, drunker and more easily bought.” Next he recited the long list of rules proposed by the Hollywood Foreign Press including no profanity, no smut or innuendo and most importantly no mention of Mel Gibson or Jodie Foster’s ahem (rhymes with cleaver and was the title of their most recent film together).  High profile celebrity divorces got their mention, as did teen heartthrob, Justin Beiber, and prolific female writers for writing raunchy material that rivals the men. The monologue ended with one more tease at the HFPA for succumbing to bribery and corruption much like the characters in the popular TV series “Boardwalk Empire.” Throughout the night, Ricky Gervais continued to sprinkle humorous cracks like the one to Natalie Portman, whom he advised to “never put family first” after she missed out on this year’s nominations to focus on being a mom. All in all, we’d say Mr. Gervais did a pretty good job of avoiding major insults and minding his P’s & Q’s.  As for the other red carpet manners moments, let’s take a look at some of the night’s hits and misses.

Presentation. Let’s start with the night’s style which seemed to pay homage to old Hollywood and some of the dress designs of the forties. Colors were subdued with many neutrals, a majority of blush tones, blacks and shades of blue domineering. Waist lines were cinched tight with belts, sleeves were capped and fishtail hems ruled the red carpet.  Celeb standouts for us were Julie Bowen, Sofia Vergara, Angelina Jolie and Jessica Alba. 

Questionable Sportsmanship.  Sir Elton John gets the top nod here as he was overheard snubbing Madonna under his breath during a red carpet interview with Ryan Seacrest. For someone who has been anointed the highest honor in England, he certainly wasn’t acting very knightly when he said that Madonna didn’t stand a chance to win for Best Original Song.  Little did he know he’d be eating his words as she later accepted the award for her song “Masterpiece.”  On a more lighthearted note, Jesse Tyler Ferguson gave us a good chuckle as the camera flashed on his homemade sign saying “Whatever” during Eric Stonestreet’s nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Gracious Acceptance Speeches.  There were a number of gracious and memorable acceptance speeches from the evening. Christopher Plummer thanked his wife for her bravery and beauty, Kate Winslet thanked her cast for their team effort, Michelle Williams thanked her daughter for letting her read bedtime stories in the voice of Marilyn Monroe, Claire Danes thanked her parents for their love and encouragement and Octavia Spencer thanked Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for his speech on labor.

Noticeable No Show.  Should the HFPA have been offended that Woody Allen did not fly to Los Angeles to personally accept his award for Best Screenplay “Midnight in Paris?”  It’s no secret that the actor loves his home city of New York, but does he still feel like a fish out of water in Los Angeles so much so that he would purposefully avoid flying to the City of Angels?  One wonders.

Off-Color Comment. The talented Seth Rogen went down a notch in our book with the ridiculous and totally unnecessary comment he made about masking an erection while co-presenting an award with the beautiful Kate Beckinsale.  Apparently, the 7-second delay didn’t catch that one and the cameras then made it worse by panning in on Jodie Foster and her two young sons who were in attendance.   

Stand Up Moment. After accepting his award for Best Supporting TV Actor for “Game of Thrones,” with a lighthearted comment about mothers, Peter Dinklage turned a serious note making mention of a fellow vertically challenged actor in the UK named Martin Henderson who suffered irreversible injuries at the hands of a drunken stranger. Rather than elaborating with the full story during his acceptance speech and hoping to shed light on the subject, the actor told viewers to just “Google Him.”

Highest Honors. The greatest applause was reserved for industry veterans Martin Scorsese, Sidney Poitier, Morgan Freeman and Meryl Streep who each received standing ovations as they each took to the stage to either present or receive their award.

Brain Lapse. The typically poised Meryl Streep had a momentary lapse and accidentally slipped out a word of profanity as she realized that she forgot her speech and glasses when she accepted her award for “The Iron Lady.” Much to the dismay of the audience, the actress attempted to make it up by droning on with a laundry list of thanks. 

The evening concluded with a sincere nod of appreciation along with a sarcastic wish to enjoy the goodie bags, champagne and gold to help take their minds off the recession. The jury’s out as to whether Ricky Gervais will be invited back for round 4 next year. The HFPA warned that if the insults, offenses and controversy were large enough, he would.  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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