Essays · Movies

The Best and Worst of the 2017 Golden Globes

By  · Published on January 9th, 2017

All the highlights, for better or worse.

The Golden Globes are always a hoot. They really have got a little something for everyone to enjoy. Your favorite television stars are mingling with your favorite movie stars, the attendees are drinking and taking selfies, and everyone just seems so much more relaxed than they are at the Oscars. But, like all awards ceremonies, they always have highs and lows. While not a comprehensive list of all the memorable moments, these moments definitely made a significant impression.

The Best

POC showing up and showing off in the television categories

The drama categories are nice and all, but Donald Glover, his brilliant new series Atlanta, and Tracee Ellis Ross owned the television awards. Since its premiere, critics and audiences have been raving about Donald Glover’s boundary pushing and distinctive comedy Atlanta. And, Tracee Ellis Ross’ win gave us a historic and great moment. Ross’s win marked the first time, since 1983, that an African-American woman picked up the award for best actress in a TV comedy.

DJ Julia Louis-Dreyfus

She is the queen of winning Emmy awards, but has not won a Golden Globe since 1994. But, even when she is not winning, she steals the scene and proves why she is one of the funniest people alive. This year, during a commercial break, she briefly replaced Questlove as the DJ of the evening. It was easily one of the most hilarious and most gif-able moments of the night and it only lasted a few seconds.

Viola Davis in general

What did we do to deserve Viola Davis? Her acceptance speech for supporting actress in Fences was funny, beautiful, humble, and eloquent. It was the moment we thought we had all been waiting for. And then she did the introduction for Meryl Streep’s lifetime achievement award. I know I cannot be the only one who is now trying out her recipes for apple pie and collard greens. Viola Davis is a gift to us all.

Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig

Just when the night was beginning to sag, Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig came out to announce the award for best animated film. From Carell’s first line of “good evening, peers and regular people” to Wiig laughing and breaking character, it was all just golden. Their bit about the “tragic” circumstances under which they saw their first animated movies went on for just the right amount of time and left me in tears from laughter. Please, HFPA, can they host next year?

The Worst

That win for Aaron Taylor-Johnson

Listen, I loved Nocturnal Animals. I thought it was smart, thrilling, and full of great performances from the whole cast, Taylor-Johnson included. But, this was Mahershala Ali’s award. He has been sweeping up awards for Moonlight left and right. His performance in Moonlight is next level, sensitive, and nuanced work that a lesser actor would have succumbed to stereotyping. This was a win that no one saw coming.

Jimmy Fallon

Being host of an awards show is a difficult and thankless job. Everyone knows it. Since the Golden Globes have such a party atmosphere, the host is usually a little more of a tongue in cheek comedian, rather than someone like Jimmy Fallon. For someone who hosts a talk show nightly, a teleprompter malfunction should not have derailed his entire opening monologue. When he has someone to play off of, Fallon can be great (like in the first musical number), but left on his own, his jokes fell flat.

Hidden Fences

In what we can assume and hope was just a slip-up, Jenna Bush-Hager asked Pharrell about his nomination for “Hidden Fences” instead of Hidden Figures. Okay, it happens. But then Michael Keaton announced Octavia Spencer’s nomination for “Hidden Fences” when he was reading the names for best supporting actress. I would not put it past Keaton to have seen that trending on social media and then ironically say it, but come on. It was not that funny.

La La Land’s screenplay win

La La Land made history last night by becoming the most awarded film in Golden Globes history with winning all seven of the awards it was nominated for. It was undoubtedly the rightful winner in all of the musical/comedy categories, but the win for screenplay is one award where there was clearly a better alternative. Most pundits saw this award going to Manchester by the Sea or Moonlight for their effortless and personal screenplays. And I have to agree with them.

Simultaneously The Best and The Worst

The La La Land Opening number

That opening number was electric and energetic… if you have seen La La Land. Jimmy Fallon may not have the best singing voice, but who can complain when former musical stars Amy Adams, Nicole Kidman, and Sarah Paulson come and join him. But then it kept going. And going. It started to feel like the Hollywood Foreign Press Association did not really care about the other films that were nominated. And to the folks at home who have not yet seen the film, it likely did not click with them. It was definitely a great way to start out the night… if you were La La Land.

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