BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — The Golden Globes worked hard on Sunday to live up to its reputation as the most unserious of Hollywood’s major awards stops, as stars spewed profanity from the stage, the host swigged beer, many presenters appeared discombobulated and A-list dinner guests disengaged early on.
Oh, and some trophies were given out.
In an upset, “The Revenant,” a frontier-era revenge thriller, was the night’s big winner, taking Globes for best drama, best actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and best direction (Alejandro G. Iñárritu). “I cannot say how surprised I am,” Mr. Iñárritu said in collecting the night’s top prize, which most handicappers had going to the newspaper film “Spotlight.” Addressing the harrowing shoot endured by his cast and crew, Mr. Iñárritu said: “Pain is temporary, but a film is forever. So who cares.”
“The Martian” won two Globes, including the prize for best comedy or musical, a category that was somewhat confounding, since the film is neither a comedy nor a musical. “Comedy? But anyway,” Ridley Scott, the film’s director, said in accepting the trophy. “You’ve got to stay hungry and keep bouncing the ball,” the 78-year-old filmmaker added, as the orchestra interrupted.
But Ricky Gervais, returning as host for the 73rd Globes, set the tone for the night in his monologue, which mocked Caitlyn Jenner, included a crude joke about Jeffrey Tambor’s genitalia and called the Globe a “worthless” prize.
“It’s a bit of metal that some nice, old, confused journalists wanted to give you in person so they could meet you and have a selfie with you,” he said, admonishing winners not to grow emotional. The Globes are given by the 83-member Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a group of mostly freelance journalists.
An apparently gobsmacked Lady Gaga, winning best actress in a limited series or TV movie for the latest incarnation of FX’s “American Horror Story,” didn’t get the message. “I feel like Cher in that John Patrick Shanley film ‘Moonstruck’ right now,” she said. “It’s one of the greatest moments of my life.” She added, “I wanted to be an actress before I wanted to be a singer.”
As ever, Hollywood will pay as much attention to the snubs as to the winners. Leaving with nothing on Sunday were “Spotlight,” “The Big Short,” “The Danish Girl” and “Carol,” which led the field going into the ceremony, with five nominations. But, then again, the Globes are the Globes; in particular “Spotlight” and “The Big Short” cannot be written off for the Oscars. (Nominations will be announced Thursday; voting closed last week.)
Interactive Feature | Golden Globes 2016: Highlights and Analysis
Television losers included HBO, which was nominated for seven awards but only managed to take home one — Oscar Isaac won for “Show Me a Hero” — and the streaming services Netflix (eight nominations, zero wins) and Amazon, which saw “Transparent” blanked.
Amazon’s “Mozart in the Jungle,” however, about a charming New York conductor, did find surprisingly strong support among voters, who have a history of backing shows that have yet to pop. The series won best comedy — dethroning “Transparent” — and Gael García Bernal won best comedic actor. He was one of the (very) few minority winners on Sunday.
Television awards consumed most of the first half of the ceremony, with USA’s fledgling “Mr. Robot” winning the Globe for best drama, beating the HBO juggernaut “Game of Thrones.” Christian Slater won best supporting actor for the series, which peers into the dark corners of the Internet.
On the film side, “Steve Jobs,” which flopped at the box office, was a repeat winner. Kate Winslet won supporting actress for her portrayal of an Apple marketing executive, while Aaron Sorkin collected the Globe for best screenplay.
Unlike last year’s Globes, when stars and filmmakers made a grand show of their support for free speech and civil rights, winners for the most part kept things light. “Cookies for everyone tonight!” shouted Taraji P. Henson, a winner for best actress in a television drama. (She plays Cookie on Fox’s “Empire.”) Jon Hamm won best actor for “Mad Men,” which concluded its celebrated run last year.
Jennifer Lawrence, thanking her “Joy” director David O. Russell, swiftly collected a Globe — her third, at the age of 25 — for best comedic actress. Matt Damon, in a widely expected win, was named best actor in a film comedy or musical for “The Martian.” “I know how lucky I am to do this for a living,” said a smiling Mr. Damon, whom Mr. Gervais had introduced earlier in the show as ”the only person Ben Affleck hasn’t been unfaithful to.”
Spreading their prizes around, as is their custom, the press association gave Brie Larson best actress in a drama for playing a mother and kidnapping victim in “Room.”
With his supporting actor win for “Creed,” Sylvester Stallone appeared on his way to a trip to the Oscars for playing an aging Rocky. He thanked the producers who first took a chance on “a mumbling actor” back in 1976 and a cavalcade of Warner Bros. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer executives. (In a faux pas, Mr. Stallone forgot to thank his director, Ryan Coogler; he returned to the stage during a commercial break to add Mr. Coogler to the list, but Twitter was still incensed.)
Hungary’s “Son of Saul,” set at a Nazi death camp, was awarded best foreign film, as expected. “The Hateful Eight” took the Globe for best score; Quentin Tarantino, the film’s director, accepted the award on behalf of the composer Ennio Morricone. The best song Globe went to Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes for “Writing’s on the Wall,” from the latest James Bond movie.
Denzel Washington, winning the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement prize, took the stage saying that he had lost his speech. He finally found it, thanking the press association, his wife and his agents, past and present, before becoming unable to read his notes and trying (unsuccessfully) to borrow a pair of glasses.
“God bless you all,” he said, hurrying off the stage.
Sunday’s ceremony, broadcast on NBC from the ballroom of the Beverly Hilton hotel, will be scrutinized for clues about the Oscar race, but the truth is that the Globes are often predictive of little.
Last year, “Boyhood” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” took the top Golden Globes. Oscar voters selected “Birdman” as best picture. Globe voters are also notoriously quirky; this year, for instance, they rather bizarrely classified “The Martian” as a comedy.
Globe nominations were announced before “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was screened, so that blockbuster’s absence on Sunday said nothing about its Oscar prospects. A snub last Tuesday by the Producers Guild of America, which did not count “The Force Awakens” among 10 best picture nominees, was perhaps more telling. But the Producers Guild also left out the Weinstein Company’s “Carol.”
“Poetry” is not a word often associated with the Golden Globes, but there was something poetic in the surroundings this year. The ceremony celebrated an aging, uncertain Hollywood at a hotel wrapped in scaffolding — a face-lift is underway — and next to a real estate development by the Dalian Wanda Group of China. Wanda made a splash the previous week by moving to purchase Legendary Entertainment, a company that helped finance “Steve Jobs,” a film nominated for four Globes.
Behind the scenes, stylists spent last week fretting about weather. Rainstorms started pounding the Los Angeles area on Tuesday, threatening a repeat of the 2010 Globes ceremony, when the red carpet turned into a lake and golf umbrellas and bedraggled assistants became the accessories of choice. On Sunday the weather was chilly for Los Angeles (mid-50s) and overcast.
Inside the hotel, waiters scrambled to serve dinners that went largely uneaten, at least at the starrier tables. (On the menu: “salt-baked heirloom sweet potatoes with creamed corn glaze.”) Once upon a time, the Globes were a boozy spectacle, but most nominees — heeding the scolding eyes of their handlers — also avoided the plentifully available Moët & Chandon Champagne. One exception: Mr. DiCaprio, a best actor nominee, who arrived and knocked back a Ruby Red, a brightly colored mixture of Champagne and vodka.
A forgiving lot, the press association invited Mel Gibson to present an award. Mr. Gibson, who has directed his first major film in a decade, “Hacksaw Ridge,” planned for release by Lionsgate this year, is trying to finally move past the 2006 anti-Semitic outburst that made him a Hollywood pariah.
As ever, the ceremony’s success will be determined by the Nielsen ratings. Last year, about 19.3 million people watched the Globes telecast, a 7 percent decline from 2014. Among adults 18 to 49, the group that advertisers pay a premium to reach, viewership fell by 11 percent. (NBC aggressively promoted the show in recent weeks, even though it was the only broadcast network not to receive a single nomination. Awkward.)
Mr. Gervais, who hosted the Globes for three consecutive years starting in 2010, has previously said that he would like to host the Oscars. But an unwritten rule has generally kept the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from employing an M.C. who has sharpened his or her teeth at the competing Globes.
“It’s all going to be justified,” Mr. Gervais said of his hands-on humor in a preshow interview with The Hollywood Reporter. But he made it clear that the A-list and the feelings of its members were not his first priority, adding a reference to the estimated worldwide reach of the broadcast, “Do I pander to 200 fragile egos in the room or 200 million people watching at home?”
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