For the first time in the recent history of awards shows, Lena Dunham didn’t win anything, but in a way she won everything, because last night’s Golden Globes broadcast might as well have been called “Girls.”
With its strenuously chummy hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, its saccharine-bordering-on-absurd acceptance speeches and its deluge of tearjerking “inspirational” commercials that sought to forge a hitherto unsuspected link between Golden Globes and Humanity’s Greatest Achievements, the night was a deep dive into a pool of estrogen.
Fey and Poehler, in accordance with the tiresome defense mechanism of female nightclub comics to make it all about gender before their hecklers can, lobbed a few feminist joke-bombs, the best of which was the smash hit of the night.
Said Fey: “‘Gravity’ is nominated for best film. It’s the story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age.”
Pretty funny, given Clooney’s history, if not the movie in question: Bullock had ten times as much screen time as her costar, Clooney being reduced to playing her coach.
But Poehler’s gag about how “Masters of Sex” defined her college years, wrapped up with a high-five to Fey, made even less sense (it isn’t challenging for a woman to find someone willing to sleep with her), while Fey sounded forced in her attempt to be naughty by hinting about how she liked sex with black guys (she told us her gentlemen callers were also known as “the Blacklist,” then called out black “Captain Phillips” actor Barkhad Abdi).
Later in the show Fey made the wince-inducingly awful remark, “And now, like a supermodel’s vagina, let’s all give a warm welcome to Leonardo DiCaprio.” Hey, women can be as tasteless as Seth MacFarlane! There hasn’t been this great a victory for feminism since Virginia Slims.
When the jokes weren’t about actresses being forced to lose weight for movies or the dearth of roles for women over 60 who aren’t Meryl Streep, they creaked like Bruce Dern’s knees in “Nebraska.” (Hey, tell Bruce how easy it is for old men to find work).
Noting that “Wolf of Wall Street” racked up the record for F-words in a movie led Fey only to the 1952-ready joke about how it was topped by her dad swearing when hanging curtain rods.
And believe it or not, Fey and Poehler even riffed on “funny names of foreigners” with a long series of supposed correspondents from the hosting Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Jurgen Funderfinger! Lupe Paralos Lupes! “Lukasz via Wachowski, from the free magazine they give out on Polish buses!” Ha ha. Foreigners.
When Fey and Poehler departed, the show was overtaken by strange, mainly feminine attempts to elevate this putt-putt golf-level diversion to a level of sanctity totally at odds with its larkish, winkingly corrupt self-image.
Jacqueline Bisset, a (69-year-old!) actress best known for the 1977 Jaws followup “The Deep,” who won Best Supporting Actress for the Starz TV show “Dancing on the Edge,” was disoriented and overcome by emotion, getting trapped in long pauses and nonsequiturs and ignoring orchestral urgings to exit.
Somewhere along the line she got bleeped, as did Diane Keaton in her equally rambling tribute to Woody Allen, who won the Cecil B. DeMille career award but didn’t show up to accept the silly thing, as per usual. Her focus on Allen’s writing for women (instead of his, you know, writing) summed up the evening but her weird lapse into the Girl Scouts theme song seemed explicable only if she meant to pay sly tribute to Woody’s dating pool.
Keaton’s successor as an Allen star, the tautly wound control freak Cate Blanchett, made it clear how grimly serious she is about winning the Oscar, with her talk about how “extraordinary,” “amazing” and “incredible” everything was, even though she attempted a clunky bit of levity that wound up mocking the barbiturate addiction that killed Judy Garland.
Only reigning dude Matthew McConaughey saved the evening, with his laidback call to good times “All right, all right, all right” and his self-deprecating admission that he never would have gotten to star in “Dallas Buyers Club” if it hadn’t been turned down by other actors. But in true girly tradition, like a mom squad making sure every Little Leaguer gets a trophy, the Globes spread its honors around so many movies and TV shows that everyone walked away feeling special. What fun is that? Bring back Ricky Gervais to remind us that showbiz, like life, is mainly a tale of losers.