77th Golden Globes Sees Upsets and Firsts

by The Cowl Editor on January 16, 2020

Arts & Entertainment

While Ricky Gervais Stirs up Controversy as Returning Host

by: Julia Vaccarella ’20 A&E Staff


The Golden Globe Awards returned for a 77th time on Jan. 5, as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association honored some of the most profound names in television and film throughout the past year. To the surprise of many, Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood triumphed over Martin Scorsese’s acclaimed Netflix film, The Irishman, for Best Motion Picture for a musical or comedy. Additionally, the actress and rapper known as Awkwafina also made history with her work in The Farewell. She is the first woman of Asian descent to win a Golden Globe in the musical or comedy category. Bong Joon-Ho’s critically acclaimed Parasite also took home the Golden Globe for the Best Motion Picture for a foreign language film. 

Ellen DeGeneres and Tom Hanks were both selected to receive special honors at this year’s show. DeGeneres, who was the recipient of the Carol Burnett Award for excellence in television, touched upon the joy she has experienced thanks to the viewers of her talk show and her supporters. Tom Hanks also spoke with gratitude in acceptance of the Cecil B. DeMile award for lifetime achievements in film. 

Nonetheless, the most buzz and controversy from the evening comes from none other than the show’s host, British comedian, Ricky Gervais. New York Post writer Michael Starr writes, “Ricky Gervais did what he was hired to do in returning to host Sunday night’s Golden Globe Awards: waltz in—open-collared tux telegraphing his studied disdain—and fire off a string of one-line stingers targeting Hollywood’s pomposity, hypocrisy, and its talent pool (some would say they’re one and the same).” 

Much of the criticism regarding Gervais has stemmed from the fact that many of his words were intended to target the very audience that was present. With the 77th Golden Globe Awards allowing Gervais to host for the fifth time, many individuals were more than familiar with his blatant and direct style of humor going into the night. However, some critics have speculated that his jokes went a little too far this time. 

In his opening monologue, Gervais called for the evening to be free of political rhetoric in a direct statement to the show’s winners. “If you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech. You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world,” said Gervais. As a juxtaposition to Gervais’ words, Golden Globe winner Patricia Arquette called out the audience to vote in the 2020 presidential election. The host has also garnered criticism for calling out Apple and its new streaming service. Gervais alluded to the fact that it is commonplace to outsource cheap labor overseas while the company is promoting shows about positivity and doing the right thing. 

Beyond politics, he touched upon other current topics, such as Felicity Huffman’s brief time in jail and the lack of diversity within the nominees selected by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Gervais also ultimately urged the audience to donate to disaster relief causes for the wildfires currently occurring in Australia. Although Gervais’s jokes have caused somewhat of an uproar in the days since, these wildfires are certainly being discussed, especially throughout social media.