It’s kind of the weirdest award show around. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is basically 90 people (compared to the Academy’s 8,200) who, with varying frequencies, write about movies and then once a year cast ballots to choose their collective favourites in movies and television. Then, about 19 million of us watch the broadcast from our couches while those in attentence at the Beverly Hilton hotel eat dinner and get drunk.
So, here we are.
There were plenty of celebratory moments last night. Like Carol Burnett winning an award named in her honour. In her speech she dished out harsh reality—TV shows like her variety show wouldn’t be made today. The cost would be too great—and a touching one: “I’m just happy our show happened when it did and I can look back and say once more, I’m so glad we had this time together” she said.
There was Sandra Oh’s win and subsequent sweet speech directed to her adoring (and adorable) parents.
There were surprises, which upset nearly every critics predictions. Did anyone see Bohemian Rhapsody winning over A Star Is Born for best drama?
And there were just gem-like bits like Olivia Coleman’s “Cor, blimey,” seeing Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys come back from the washroom together, Maya Rudolph doing anything and every time the camerca cut to Hugh Grant because I. Love. Hugh. Grant.
But the following five moments stood out the most for me:
1. Let’s start at the very beginning
A favourite pasttime is to complain about award shows. They are boring. They are too long. The hosts aren’t funny enough. They’re too political. They’re not political enough. Plenty of people will complain about Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh’s performances as hosts. I will not. Because they entertained me with good, old-fashioned humour. It was like a 10-minute reprieve from reality.
2. Jeff Bridges, man!
The 69-year-old actor took home the Cecil B. DeMille Award for his film achievemwents. There was a beautiful montage, narrated by Sam Elliott, showcasing his work from, obviously, The Big Lebowski to his sci-fi roles in Tron and Starman, and Western-flavoured turns in Crazy Heart, True Grit and Hell or High Water. Bridges speech rambled, but it was really quite touching. He thanked his family. He thanked Peter Bogdanovich, the director who “kicked the whole party off,” as Bridges put it (in a way only he can), with The Last Picture Show. And he thanked “Bucky Fuller”—yes, that’s Buckminster Fuller, the futurist/intventor/writer/architect who dreamed of a “spaceship earth” in which leaders can act as trim tabs—the little rudders on ocean tankers that help out the big rudders. “All of us are trim tabs,” Bridges told the crowd. “We may seem like we’re not up to the task, but we are, man. We’re alive! We can make a difference. We can turn this ship in the way we want to go, man.”
3. Thank you, Satan
Christian Bale won Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for his performance as Dick Cheney in Vice. The actor is a wild card in interviews, which he hates, but his acceptance speech was like a splash of cold water. Basically, I woke up. He thanked Satan “for givin me inspiration for playing this role”. He thanked director Adam McKay and joked that he must’ve thought “I have to find somebody that can be absolutely charisma free and reviled by everybody so we wanted Christian Bale.” And he thanked his wife, “who told me less is more…she knows the dumb crap that can come out of my mouth at times. I can sink and ruin a perfectly good movie and so-so career in one speech. So thank you for that advice, my love.” It was especially funny this morning to wake up and read that people were accusing Bale of faking a Cockney accent. But Bale is British, Welsh specifically. (Remember him as the little boy in Empire of the Sun?) But I guess he spents so much time morphing into other people, the public forget who he himself is, which is basically him putting the A in ACTING.
4. Hide the rabbits
If you bother to read award show predictions then you would’ve known that Lady Gaga was taking home Best Actress for her performance in A Star Is Born. Only she didn’t. Everyone was wrong. Glenn Close won for her performance in The Wife. Rest assured, Gaga hasn’t called the rabbit wrangler from Fatal Attraction…yet. But despite having an excellent poker face, I bet she was as suprised as we were.
5. Speaking of surprised
Glenn Close, who seemed more shocked than any of us when her name was announced as winner, gave a beautiful and poignant speech, perhaps the best of the night. She spoke of her mother, “who really sublimated herself to my father her whole life. And, in her eighties, she said to me, ‘I feel I haven’t accomplished anything.’” Close, whose career has spanned 45 years, continued: “Women, we’re nurturers. That’s what’s expected of us. We have our children. We have our husbands, if we’re lucky enough, and our partners, whoever. But we have to find personal fulfillment. We have to follow our dreams. We have to say, ‘I can do that, and I should be allowed to do that.’ ”
“The crowd rose to its feet, because Close had finally given the show what it needed: an appeal to change that was less about optics than about how deeply our lives are felt and how often they go unrewarded,” the New Yorker wrote this morning. “She was a trim tab, man, and the moment was real.”