Just about everyone took home something from last night's 69th annual Golden Globes awards ceremony, where the awards were spread around like party favors and “The Artist” emerged as a clear winner by racking up only three statues.
Martin Scorsese's “Hugo,” a dark horse in the race, won for best director. Meryl Streep won best actress in a drama for “The Iron Lady,” the film's only nomination. Even Madonna's critically trashed “W.E.” won an award, for best original song.
Equally diplomatic was host Ricky Gervais, who seemed relatively low-key compared to his insult-driven performance last year. Instead of pointed jabs about Mel Gibson's drinking and Robert Downey Jr.'s arrest-record, Gervais lobbed gentle jokes at easy targets like Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian. His edgiest line came when he described the Globes broadcast as “Britain's biggest comedian hosting America's second biggest awards show on America's third biggest network.”
“The Artist” won for best comedy and best score, and its star, Jean Dujardin, won best actor in a comedy. But these categories aren't usually seen as accurate Oscar predictors. What's more, despite Scorsese's win for “Hugo,” it was a different film, “The Descendants,” that won for best drama, the Globes award most often equated to the Oscar for best picture.
Among the other highlights:
COMPARATIVELY SPEAKING “The Golden Globes are just like the Oscars, but without all that esteem,” Gervais said in his opening monologue. “The Golden Globes are to the Oscars what Kim Kardashian is to Kate Middleton. A bit louder, a bit trashier, a bit drunker and more easily bought. Allegedly. Nothing's been proved.”
SIZING UP THE COMPETITION On Eddie Murphy, would-be host of the Oscars who recently bowed out, Gervais observed: “When the man who said yes to 'Norbit' says no to you, you know you're in trouble.”
HISTORY REPEATS Michelle Williams, accepting her acting award for playing Marilyn Monroe in “My Week With Marilyn,” thanks the Globes “for putting in my hands the same award that Marilyn Monroe herself won more than 50 years ago." (She won for 1959's “Some Like It Hot.”)
JUST WHAT WE WERE THINKING “This is a surprise,” said Madonna, accepting the best song award for her critically drubbed movie “W.E.”
MADONNA VS. RICKY But the Material Girl managed to one-up the host: “If I'm still just like a virgin, Ricky, then why don't you get over here and do something about it?” she said, presenting best foreign language film, after Gervais made a quip about her that incorporated several of her song titles.
WORKING IT Octavia Spencer, who played a maid confronting racism in the Deep South in “The Help,” accepts her supporting actress award by quoting Martin Luther King: “With regard to domestics in this country, now and then, I think Dr. King said it best: 'All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance.' And I thank you for recognizing that with our film.”
ARMED AND HILARIOUS Accepting his Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award, Morgan Freeman told Helen Mirren, who had introduced the actor “working with you on 'Red' was great fun, but watching you handle a gun makes me know I never want to ---- you off.”