In case anyone missed this when it aired live — and why would anyone watch the Golden Globes? — spend 450 seconds on its opening monologue from Ricky Gervais. “Let’s have a laugh at your expense,” Gervais said, and then delivered in “savage” manner, as Caleb Hull says. Gervais kicks it off with a Felicity Huffman joke, but then cuts a lot closer to the bone when it comes to Hollywood political hypocrisy.
But even before that — which comes at the very end — Gervais spent nearly seven minutes declaring American cinema dead. “No one goes to the theater any more,” Gervais remarked, and then gave a pretty compelling reason why:
Absolutely savage. pic.twitter.com/xxk3LgQou3
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) January 6, 2020
Gervais tore into Apple, which recently started a streaming service with original content, for employing “sweatshops in China” while producing a series that lectures people on doing the right thing. Gervais then took aim at everyone else in the room:
You say you’re woke, but the companies you work for — I mean, unbelievable. Apple, Amazon, Disney — if ISIS started a streaming service, you’d call your agent, wouldn’t you? So if you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech, all right? You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. So if you win, all right, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent and your God, and [expletive deleted].
I could have done without the Judi Dench imagery, but otherwise this is a nearly perfect opening speech to the opening event in the Hollywood self-promotion season. The audience even reacted reasonably well to it, although the reaction shots show plenty of discomfort as Gervais hits a little too close to home. After all, it’s not too often that this group of people show up dressed to the nines and hear that they’re all just hypocritical corporate whores. Or worse, perhaps, in the case of Leonardo DiCaprio.
Speaking of savage, Gervais kept it up to the bitter end. In introducing Sandra Bullock as the presenter for the final award, Gervais reminded Hollywood of its complicity in Harvey Weinstein’s predatory behavior (via The Federalist):
— Manny Alicandro (@Manny_Alicandro) January 6, 2020
At least they could tell themselves that Gervais was doing a comic bit. Joaquin Phoenix did it straight … well, kinda. Phoenix offered a trippy and bizarre speech in which he ripped the awards show as a mechanism to “sell advertising,” but when he started to lecture his colleagues on using private jets for their climate-change activism, the orchestra took that as its cue:
It’s great to vote, but sometimes we have to take that responsibility on ourselves and make changes and sacrifices in our own lives. I hope that we can do that. We don’t have to take private jets to Palm Springs for the awards, sometimes, or back, please?
Sounds as if the producers wished Phoenix had taken Gervais’ advice and [expletive] right off the stage. Now, if we could just get the rest of Hollywood to follow it as well …