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Category: Ricky Gervais

Golden Globes: Was Ricky Gervais too tame?

January 16, 2012 |  8:00 am


Ricky Gervais and Jane Fallon


Perhaps the most telling moment of Ricky Gervais’ Golden Globes hosting duties Sunday came as he was finishing them.

Last year, as the assembled began filing out of the Beverly Hilton ballroom, the host made a provocative crack about atheism. This year he tried a considerably more benign joke, about the gold on the table distracting attendees from the recession, a mild dig at the one-percenters of Hollywood.

As he flashed his arsenal of one-liners Sunday night, Gervais certainly didn’t refrain from biting the hand that feeds him. "The Golden Globes are just like the Oscars but without all that esteem," he zinged, offering that the show is Kim Kardashian to the Oscars' Kate Middleton — "a bit louder, a bit trashier, a bit drunker and more easily bought. Allegedly. Nothing’s been proved."

PHOTOS: Quotes from the Golden Globes

He then knocked the group’s principles with a line that “The Hollywood Foreign Press have warned me if I insult any of you they’ll … definitely invite me back next year."

And he took a page out of the “30 Rock” playbook by getting in some shots at NBC, which broadcasts the awards.

But overall Gervais took a lot less aim at individuals, and it felt a lot less mean even when he did. A joke about Colin Firth as a huge racist, for instance, was clearly tongue-in-cheek.

 PHOTOS: Golden Globes red carpet

Last year, Johnny Depp was on the receiving end of jokes about the improbable nominations for “The Tourist.” This year, Depp was in on the joke, coming out to good-humoredly banter with Gervais about it (Host: “Have you seen ‘The Tourist?’" Depp: “No.”)

Even Robert Downey Jr., who last year called Gervais’ performance “mean-spirited and mildly sinister” and was a bellwether for Gervais’ obnoxiousness level, was a non-factor; the actor didn’t say anything about Gervais when he came out to present an award. This was a night for (relatively) good behavior.

Michael Fassbender summed up the feeling of many in the audience about Gervais when he told my colleague Nicole Sperling "He was great last year. Why is he being so tame tonight?"

PHOTOS: Golden Globes winners

Gervais’ performance — which, like last year, had him disappearing for chunks of the show — wasn’t entirely devoid of personal jokes. A dirty double entendre about “The Beaver” and Jodie Foster seemed crass if not harsh, and there was a sideways jab at Kate Winslet’s gushy acceptance speech.

But Gervais’ ironic coughing about Madonna as a virgin was about safe as you can get (though the icon didn’t seem entirely cool with it, retorting that “If I’m just like a virgin, Ricky, then why don’t you come over and do something about it. I haven’t kissed a girl in a few years — on TV.”).

In a way Gervais was in a no-win position: to try to top his act from last year was to risk people saying he went too far; to try a more generous direction was to solicit criticism that he pulled his punches. There’s no reason Gervais wouldn’t be asked back next year, though as the comedian himself might say, in the topsy-turvy world of the Golden Globes, he might not have been offensive enough to earn the invitation.


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Photo: Ricky Gervais and Jane Fallon at the Golden Globes. Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Golden Globes: Ricky Gervais takes his shots

January 15, 2012 |  5:32 pm

Ricky Gervais
Ricky Gervais wasted no time taking aim at the Golden Globes room Sunday evening, coming out in his opening monologue and firing salvos at the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. and NBC, the two principals behind the night's festivities.

"The Golden Globes are just like the Oscars but without all that esteem," he zinged, offering that the show is Kim Kardashian to the Oscars' Kate Middleton. "A bit louder, a bit trashier, a bit drunker and more easily bought. Allegedly. Nothing’s been proved," he said.

He later added that "Boardwalk Empire" featured a load of immigrants who came to this country and engaged in "bribery and corruption. But enough about the Hollywood Foreign Press."

PHOTOS: Golden Globes red carpet arrivals

He took a shot at the Oscars too, referencing the recent Eddie Murphy resignation. "When the man who said yes to 'Norbit' said no to you, you know you’re in trouble." [We'll continue our Gervais-watch through the evening.]

And he got a few off at the network telecasting the awards, saying that the HFPA do "an awful lot of for charity. And they’re a nonprofit organization. Just like NBC."

Gervais took the expected quick detours to some crasser jokes, referencing Justin Bieber's virility and Jodie Foster's "Beaver," playing off a double entendre.

Last year, of course, Gervais generated laughter and controversy when he made cracks about the evening’s backer, noting that he “had to help the HFPA president off the toilet and pop his teeth back in." He also took shots at Scientologist actors, Robert Downey Jr.’s addiction and Hugh Hefner’s age. Downey later came onstage and called the tone "mean-spirited and "mildly sinister.” He was joking. Sort of.

Gervais, making his third consecutive appearance at the annual kudos-fest, is expected to let loose this year: It’s not as if anything he can do will get him disinvited. In fact, he called out that elephant in the room with the line that  "the Hollywood Foreign Press have warned me if I insult any of you they’ll … definitely invite me back next year."


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--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Ricky Gervais and Jane Fallon at the Golden Globes. Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Golden Globes: Five meaty story lines to chew on

January 15, 2012 | 11:00 am

'The Artist'

Sure, Ricky Gervais looms large over today's Golden Globes--it's less a question of whether he'll make an HFPA joke as it is how many he’ll make.  But tucked beneath those mildly sinister undertones come a wealth of interesting  award-season questions. You've probably not thought much about them, but that's okay--we're here to think of them for you.

Herewith, then, five mini-dramas to keep an eye on as the film portion of the kudos telecast unfolds Sunday evening at the Beverly Hilton/on your NBC affiliate.

No small actors. Meryl Streep has a pretty strong hold on the actress race for her role as Margaret Thatcher in "Iron Lady"--it's hard to conceive of too many snagging the Oscar from her oft-nominated hands, though Tilda Swinton will give it a shot. The Oscar actor race, on the other hand, feels a lot more wide open. Like an early primary, there's support for many. George Clooney has built a base (for "The Descendants", his non-political pic). Dujardin speaks loudly with his silent role in "The Artist." And Brad Pitt's Billly Beane turn in "Moneyball" has its share of fans.  The Globes will clarify this picture—or, since it splits up actors between comedies and dramas, muddy it.

Wedding artistry. There aren’t many award-season square-offs that pit a black-and-white silent film against an R-rated comedy created by the likes of Kristen Wiig and Judd Apatow. But that’s pretty much what the category of best motion picture musical or comedy brings as “The Artist” competes with “Bridesmaids.” Will the HFPA go twee and prestigious or bridal-gown down-and-dirty?

Stuck in traffic. Christine Lahti was trapped in the bathroom. Ryan Bingham forgot to leave the bar. Every few years at the Globes a winner invariably ends up in the wrong place at the right time. Will someone be awkwardly far away when their name is called? Hard to know. But if you were to bet on someone missing their cue because they were doing something more fun, the smart money is on Ryan Gosling and/or Michael Fassbender.

Feeling animated. By most metrics, it's been a down year for animation. But that's actually had a weirdly drama-inducing effect on the award race. Usually Pixar can be counted on to garner a healthy share of  votes. Not so this year, with the studio's "Cars 2" a middle-of-the-pack choice. Plenty of others stand a shot of breaking free, including "Rango," "Puss in Boots" and "The Adventures of Tintin." And we'll get a good sense on Sunday of what to expect down the road: the Globes have foretold Oscar's animation winner four straight years.

Direction-less. Speaking of crystal balls, the director showdown at the Beverly Hilton is, well, not exactly predictive of what we'll see in the helmer category six weeks from now. In fact, only once in the past four years have the Globes and Oscars aligned on director. Still, the Globes race is a juicy one: will Hazanavicius get swept in on a tide of Artist-mania? Or will one of two moviedom fixtures, Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen, make a run at him? Secondary subplot: the former will certainly show up at the Globes and the Oscars. We're less sure about the latter.


Photos: Gervais' top insults from last year's Golden Globes

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--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: "The Artist." Credit: The Weinstein Co.


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