There was the awkward Ricky Gervais-Mel Gibson moment, Jonah Hill in a bear costume and Denzel Washington belatedly realizing he had to give a speech. But beyond those viral, tweetable, Instagrammable incidents, there was also a fair amount to take away from the Golden Globes, about both the ongoing awards season and larger Hollywood culture.
Golden Globes 2016: Full Coverage | Complete list | Red carpet | Highlights | Fashion | Backstage | Behind-the-scenes | Ricky Gervais insults
What stood out? Here are five takeaways from Sunday night's Beverly Hilton action:
Revered "Revenant." There are few people who've had the kind of relationship with the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. that Alejandro G. Iñarritu has had. In 2007, the Mexican-born director's third film, the globe-hopping "Babel," won best motion picture drama at the Globes. Eight years later, his more intimate backstage drama "Birdman" seemed destined to repeat the feat. It was even categorized in comedy, where it had a clearer path to the podium. And it was a burgeoning Oscar favorite that would go on to win best picture at that ceremony. But when the Globes came around, the HFPA passed — it gave up the prize to "The Grand Budapest Hotel."
That would seem to set up the director's new film, the epic revenge tale "The Revenant," for another empty-handed year — especially since the film was not favored against fellow drama contenders "Spotlight" and "Mad Max: Fury Road." So what did the HFPA do? It gave "The Revenant" its top prize of best motion picture drama, and threw in a director prize to Iñarritu for good measure. Some of it is just the mercurial choices of the HFPA, but if there is a pattern, what would it be? That it likes his bigger dramas more than his smaller ones? Or feels like it really missed the boat on "Birdman"?
Acting champions. Speaking of "The Revenant," the movie's star, Leonardo DiCaprio, was one of the most talked about personalities of the night, and not only because of his abrupt segue to the plight of indigenous people. DiCaprio, already a frontrunner, has now separated himself even further from the pack when he won lead actor for a drama for his turn as the, er, embattled, Hugh Glass in the survival epic film.
Skeptics like to point out that the Golden Globes are voted on by a group entirely separate from those who vote for the Oscars. But Oscar voters are watching, and a compelling actor speech can sway opinions. The evidence: the winners of lead actor-drama and lead actress-drama in each of the previous two years at the Globes went on to win the prize at the Oscars. That bodes well for DiCaprio, and it also bodes well for Brie Larson, whose turn in "Room" had her in a close battle with Saiorse Ronan of "Brooklyn." After Sunday night, it may not be that close.
The Jobs report. It was one of the most famous unmade movies in recent memory when the Sony hacking exposed the messy process of getting it made. Then it became one of the least seen of the hyped fall movies. Now "Steve Jobs" is … back in the limelight? And earning accolades? The movie scored two major prizes Sunday when Kate Winslet was named supporting actress and Aaron Sorkin for screenplay.
Whether it can carry momentum forward for the Oscars — Sorkin is in the competitive adapted screenplay sections — is an open question. But the film can now claim a small measure of validation — "Jobs" is now a multiple Golden Globe winner, something that neither seasonal favorites "Carol" nor "Spotlight" can claim.
Out of the spotlight? On the subject of "Spotlight," it's been one of the most embraced movies since it premiered at the fall film festivals. Tom McCarthy's story of the Boston Globe's investigation into the Catholic Church sex-abuse scandals of the early 2000s was praised as a low-key ensemble that was one of the best films of the year. So low-key, and so ensemble, that it struck out entirely at the Globes.
The low-key part may have played a role in failing to win in picture, director or screenplay categories. The ensemble part may have led to it receiving no nominations for acting. The movie — starring Michael Keaton, John Slattery, Rachel McAdams and a host of other stellar performers — is seen as such a team effort that no one is getting recognition. Though a Screen Actors Guild ensemble prize could be in the cards, the film's actors could get shut out again come Oscar night — many of the male actors will go into supporting, and that prize could well go to Sylvester Stallone (he won Sunday night). To paraphrase Yogi Berra, the movie won't win — it features too many good people.
Jennifer Lawrence. It was a strange night for Jennifer Lawrence. Really strange. The "Joy" actress continued her unlikely chumminess with Amy Schumer that began last year, even presenting and doing patter with her. (Their bit was good enough, if not Gosling-Pitt good. Then she went and surprised everyone by winning lead actress-comedy, a prize almost no experts had pegged for her. Her stock was rising. But shortly after, she went backstage and got snippy with a foreign-born reporter who was looking at his phone for a question. And a small backlash that had begun to develop in the past year, when some questioned whether she really was as spontaneous and carefree as her public persona, came back to the fore.
By now Lawrence being nominated is a given this time of year — she'll likely pick up an Oscar nomination Thursday, her fourth in six years. But her post-"Hunger Games" image is as in-flux as Katniss' romantic preferences.