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The Winners and Losers of the Golden Globes

Ricky Gervais made some strange hosting decisions, ‘Succession’ won big, and Netflix did not. Also, for reasons unexplained, Pierce Brosnan’s sons spent a lot of time on camera.

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

With Sunday night’s Golden Globes, we officially reached the beginning of the end of awards season. And while the Globes are perhaps the buzziest precursor to next month’s Oscars, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association rarely sticks to conventional awards-season wisdom. Historically, this booze-filled ceremony often has chaotic energy—and the 2020 edition, hosted by Ricky Gervais, was no exception. Below, we hand out our own awards for the biggest winners and losers of the night. (You can check out the full list of actual Globes winners here.)


Unclear: Ricky Gervais

The acerbic British comedian has assured us that this, his fifth hosting gig at the Globes, would be his last. Considering how Gervais’s comedic baseline is usually that of an out-of-touch, try-hard provocateur—just look at his tweets—you’d be forgiven for expecting the worst. And, well, maybe it happened?

Gervais’s opening monologue veered all over the place, touching on Jeffrey Epstein, Felicity Huffman’s prison stint, Leonardo DiCaprio’s propensity to date young women, Apple’s usage of sweatshops, and Martin Scorsese’s height, among other things. He did this all while nursing a beer. (The Globes is known for its messy vibe, certainly aided by free-flowing booze.) But I’ll be honest, for as much as moments like calling James Corden, who also starred in Cats, a “fat pussy” made me grimace, it was refreshing to see Gervais once again gleefully mock Hollywood’s elite with an air of cynicism for the whole enterprise. Is it all performative nihilism? Probably. Then again, this is the same awards body that nominated Joker, so maybe we shouldn’t blame him too much.

Winner: Succession

This win made sense for two reasons. First—and this should matter most of all—Succession was, with all due respect to The Crown, easily the best nominated TV drama in its category, if not the single best series of the year. It’s nice when the best thing in a category actually wins! (And if you don’t agree, [Logan Roy voice] fuck off!) The Globes has historically jumped at the opportunity to award a series before the Emmys is able to—and the timing of Succession’s second season, arriving after the 2019 Emmys’ May cutoff point, allowed the HFPA to beat them to the punch. We’ll see how well Succession fares at the Emmys in September, but this is a very promising start for the Roy clan.

What else do we get out of it? Cousin Greg dancing like a dweeb, and kisses from daddy for everyone.

Winner: Brian Cox

Speaking of kisses from daddy: I want Brian Cox to be my father.

Winner: Jason Momoa

Whether Jason Momoa is playing a blind king or king of the ocean, wearing a tank top to the Golden Globes is a boss move we have to respect.

Loser: All the Random Pans to Pierce Brosnan’s Sons

Celebrity nepotism is fun and all, but it’s genuinely distracting when the Globes keeps panning to their nonplussed reactions when actual winners are giving their speeches on stage. This is provided to you on account of one of Pierce Brosnan’s sons looking like Phoebe Waller Bridge’s Fleabag had personally done him harm by winning Best Comedy Series.

Also, you don’t lead Brad Pitt; Brad Pitt leads you.

Winner: Tom Hanks

The second recipient of a lifetime achievement award on the evening, Tom Hanks fought through tears (and an apparent cold, per the man himself) to deliver a quintessentially wholesome, somewhat rambling speech after an incredibly moving montage from some of his best films. (A handy reminder that there have been so many of them, and also The Terminal.)

It’s weird to think of Tom Hanks reaching the “lifetime achievement at awards shows” stage of his life, but at 63, I guess we’re going to have to start getting used to it. Hopefully, though, there are a few more Oscar nominations in his future, too.

Winner: Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood’s Oscars Momentum

Because the Globes split up films between drama and musical/comedy categories—not to mention entirely excluding a buzzy foreign film, like Parasite—they are an inconsistent bellwether for Oscars success. (Not to mention the Globes’ choices are sometimes arbitrary and strange as shit—see: Sam Mendes winning Best Director for 1917.) Nevertheless, it would’ve been concerning had Once Upon in Time … in Hollywood stalled its Oscars momentum at the Globes, especially since it didn’t have to compete in several categories alongside other presumptive front-runners like The Irishman, Joker, and 1917.

But Quentin Tarantino’s film got the plaudits you’d expect—winning the slightly less competitive Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy category, while Brad Pitt captured Best Supporting Actor—as well as a win for Best Screenplay, a stacked category that included The Irishman, The Two Popes, Marriage Story, and Parasite. Don’t be surprised if you hear its name get called up a few more times come February.

Winner: Joaquin Phoenix

Joker’s best chance at Oscars glory rests on Phoenix’s unpredictable shoulders—and a Globes win solidified his status as a Best Actor front-runner. It was also a delectable preview of what might be an all-time wild Oscars acceptance speech, seeing as Phoenix’s Globes moment was cut off by censors while he seemed to telepathically communicate with his fiancée Rooney Mara and generally behave like someone who’d accidentally added a substantial helping of CBD oil to his last three cocktails.

While Joker is empty, provocative trash, Phoenix gives a legitimately impressive performance—and he’s near the top of the “best actors who’ve never won an Oscar” shortlist. It’d be nice to finally cross him off that list as a celebration for his entire body of work. Come on, Academy, send in the clowns.

Loser: Netflix (and The Irishman and Marriage Story)

Netflix went into the Globes with 34 nominations—even if you were to include only the streamer’s 17 film-related nods, it’d still double that of its closest competitor, Sony Pictures, which had eight. But despite all the hype that Netflix’s biggest Oscar front-runners (Marriage Story and The Irishman) brought to the Globes, the company left with surprisingly little hardware.

Between the two aforementioned films, only Laura Dern received a win, for her supporting turn in Noah Baumbach’s movie. The other Netflix films with some Globes attention, Dolemite Is My Name and The Two Popes, also came away empty. Now, it’s entirely possible this is a blip on the way to more success in February—the Academy’s voting body is in the thousands, while the HFPA has fewer than 100 members—but the streamer enters the tail end of awards season with a little less luster than it did for Roma in 2019. And we know how that went.

Winner: 1917

It’s hard to consider 1917 on its merits, seeing as Sam Mendes’s film hasn’t even been released nationwide yet; its praises have mostly been sung by critics. (Full disclosure: Between Christmas and a New Year’s vacation, I still haven’t seen the movie.) But 1917 made arguably the best headway of any film at the Globes, winning two of the ceremony’s most prestigious awards: a Best Director win for Mendes, and a win for Best Motion Picture–Drama, where it beat out The Irishman and Joker.

That’s a serious statement for the Oscars, and a race that’s already got a few legit front-runners—and a serious dark horse in Parasite—just got another wrinkle. It’s truly Peak Globes levels of chaos, so for the time being I’ll have to agree with the Joker: We do, in fact, live in a society.