Last night’s Golden Globes—which we covered live!—were notable for yet more star worship than even the perpetually star-worshipping Globes usually get up to, and most of the stars were of a somewhat aging vintage. Awards went to practically anyone who might have been on People’s Most Intriguing People of 1998 list: Steven Spielberg for Tintin over the makers of Rango, Madonna over Mary J. Blige, Meryl Streep over Viola Davis, Jessica Lange over Evan Rachel Wood, Matt LeBlanc over Johnny Galecki, Laura Dern over Zooey Deschanel, George Clooney uber alles. If this show was too self-consciously snarky to be a tribute to so-called “Old Hollywood,” it was at least a tribute to the period about fifteen years ago when the stars were bigger and shined brighter.
Host Ricky Gervais, who spent more time recounting his past comedic triumphs at this awards show than engaging in anything risky or new, joked about Johnny Depp’s career failures—then welcomed Mr. Depp to the stage, giving the show a feel less of a no-holds-barred slugfest that had been advertised and more of the world’s most loving Comedy Central roasts. Of all that could be said about winner/presenter/synecdoche of the evening’s nostalgic feeling Madonna, Mr. Gervais went with a “Like a Virgin” joke. She countered with a joke about her 2003 kiss with Britney Spears. The past, ladies and gentleman! Mr. Gervais saved his meanest material for Kim Kardashian, who’s an easy target for a roomful of movie stars trying to shore up their shrinking claim on cultural currency.
The evening’s big winners stuck close to the theme of navel-gazing, with George Clooney presenting a tribute to Brad Pitt and Brad Pitt presenting a tribute to George Clooney, Madonna citing Fellini and Godard as seminal influences, and Meryl Streep shouting the names of actresses she liked in lieu of a traditional speech. The evening’s big winner, the French film The Artist, gave the game away, dragging the film’s canine star onstage with the rest of the cast in an antic attempt to entertain, to make some statement about “movie magic.”
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