TV review: Golden Globes - bring us the head of Ricky Gervais

The celebrities were out in full force to celebrate the best in television and film at the 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 17, 2011; 10:55 AM

"The Social Network" won a lot of Golden Globes on Sunday night (best picture, director, screenplay, musical score), while most of Hollywood considered unfriending the award show's bombardier host, Ricky Gervais.

Are we at war with England? If not, then why have we been subjected to two years of Gervais hosting the Golden Globe Awards, witnessing a growing hostility between the British comedian and a resentful audience of celebs? (Colin Firth, best actor winner for "The King's Speech," with your sophisticated and magnanimously eloquent acceptance speech - do something!)

"I warned 'em," Gervais said at one point in the lazy and perfunctorily smarmy show. He meant he warned the producers, but it seems we've all been warned now.

Gervais proved last year that he wasn't the right bloke for the job. From his lame jokes about Charlie Sheen, "The Tourist" and Scientology to the uncomfy bit of open warfare between the host and the press association that puts on Tinseltown's schlockiest award show, you kept hoping the crowd would rise up and pummel Gervais.

Somehow Gervais has lost some of his ability to be funny about being true. But why not let Robert Downey Jr. review the show, as Downey took the stage after Gervais introduced him with references to porn movies and stays at the Betty Ford Center: "Aside from the fact that it's been hugely mean-spirited with mildly sinister undertones, I'd say the vibe of the show has been pretty good so far, wouldn't you?"

(Audience coughs, laughs nervously, checks watches. Home viewers watch listlessly.)

As Gervais would say, Shall we git on wid-it? Please do - this year's show felt like duty, leavened by only a handful of highlights, which included:

Best supporting actress winner Melissa Leo, recognized at last, this time for her work in "The Fighter." ("All that and kissed by Jeremy Irons too?" she effused.) One of the "Glee" writers thanking public school teachers, in a bit of contra-"Waiting for 'Superman' " appreciation. And a best actress win for pregnant Natalie Portman for "Black Swan."

Also: Aaron Sorkin accepting the best screenplay award for "The Social Network" by apologizing, sort of, to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (about that cutting line delivered early in the movie when a girlfriend dumps Zuckerberg and tells him what a horrible man he'll always be); and Jane Lynch's razor-sharp acceptance speech ("I am nothing if not falsely humble") for best supporting actress for her role as the villainous Sue Sylvester in the popular Fox series "Glee."

The Globes are the one night a year where we don't officially care that our TV peas are touching our movie mashed potatoes: Annette Bening, in horn rims and Al Pacino's hairdo, won best actress in a comedy film for her role as one half of a lesbian couple (the other half played by fellow nominee Julianne Moore) raising two teens in "The Kids Are All Right," which also took the prize for best comedy film; the deserving Jim Parsons, of CBS sitcom "The Big Bang Theory," won his first Globe for best actor in a comedy series.

HBO's "Boardwalk Empire," a lavishly crafted saga of Prohibition-era Atlantic City, won best TV drama series. The show's star, Steve Buscemi, won best actor in a TV drama for his energetic portrayal of the city's corrupt treasurer. Everyone involved with the show had a "well, of course" look on their faces - and well, of course. After all that money HBO spent making it!

Christian Bale, appearing ready to headline a community theater's production of "Jesus Christ Superstar," won best supporting actor for his role as a drug-addicted former boxing champ in "The Fighter," but he lost the round with Globe telecast producers who cut him off just as he began giving some sort of honorary shout-out to Robert De Niro, the night's special honoree.

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