As the first gathering of Hollywood in the wake of the Sony hacking scandal and the
At the 72nd Golden Globes, awards were dedicated to the transgender community and AIDS victims, and tribute was paid to those who sacrificed their lives in the civil rights movement, survivors of rape and the many strong women whose performances serve as universal role models.
Every awards show features a speech by the institutional leader. It is usually a snooze. This one got a standing ovation.
The telecast was also the last in a hosting trilogy by
To be sure, Fey greeted her audience as a group of "despicable, spoiled, minimally talented brats," a reference to some of the emails made public after the hacking of Sony studios, and said she looked forward to honoring "all the movies North Korea was OK with."
North Korea became a running joke throughout the show, with
But there was no freedom-of-expression speechifying from Fey and Poehler, who trained themselves instead on their colleagues, taking light shots at attendees, including
Sleeping Beauty was described as someone who "just thought she was having coffee with Bill Cosby," and the hosts also offered competing impersonations of the embattled comic saying "I put the pills in the people."
The two then went on to play a light, bright and utterly hilarious version of "Would You Rather," which produced, among many great lines, Poehler's admission that "I like it Ruffalo."
Following such a fast and funny opener, the emotional and even inspirational moments that followed felt more powerful and more organic. As with most awards shows, there were many surprises, but the tone of the broadcast was the biggest.
Far from the profane free-for-all it once was, this Golden Globes was so mature that a joke by
Joanne Froggatt, winning a best supporting award for her role in "Downton Abbey," spoke directly to the rape survivors who wrote her after her character suffered an attack; Gina Rodriguez, winning best performance by an actress in a television series comedy or musical, said her award represents "a culture that wants to see itself as heroes."
Accepting the award for best TV series, comedy or musical, "Transparent" creator Jill Soloway thanked her "moppa" — her own transgender parent — "for telling your truth and helping me tell mine." That sentiment was echoed later in the show by
Winning best song for "Glory" along with John Legend, Common called his experience with the film "Selma" "an awakening of my humanity," and reminded the world that "Selma is now." Matt Bomer, winning for his supporting performance in "The Normal Heart," dedicated his award to "the generation we lost and continue to lose" and thanked HBO for making films on topics that need to be heard.
The tone of tolerance and creative activism culminated with Clooney's acceptance of the Cecil B. DeMille Award. Well known for his humanitarian philanthropy, Clooney spent much of his speech expressing gratitude for his success and acknowledging his new marriage to international human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin.
But at the end, he paid tribute to those killed in the Paris attacks, and those who marched Sunday in a massive show of unity.
"They were Christians and Jews and Muslims," he said. "They were leaders of countries all over the world. And they didn't march in protest; they marched in support of the idea that we will not walk in fear. We won't do it. So: Je suis Charlie."