At last Sunday's 68th Annual Golden Globes, Robert Downey Jr., in preparing to introduce the nominees for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, had this to say: "Aside from the fact that it has been hugely mean-spirited with mildly sinister undertones, I'd say the vibe of the show [has been] pretty good so far."
He was right.
Hosted once again by British comedian Ricky Gervais, the awards were a strangely enjoyable romp through the world of wins and losses punctuated by surprises, flops, a tender moment or two and all wrapped up in the bitter embrace of its host's acerbic running commentary.
No one was safe as Gervais relentlessly poked fun at celebrities like Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Hugh Hefner and Philip Berk, head of the Globes' parent organization, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association
Gervais is known for taking an axe to Hollywood's pedestal. Racking on everything from Charlie Sheen to the alleged bribery some say prompted The Tourist's unexpected and perhaps undeserved Globe nominations, everyone and everything got a taste of Gervais. Offensive and potentially inappropriate? Maybe. Gervais managed to occasionally be laugh-out-loud funny and, if nothing else, provided a needed break between the quick-fire deliverance of awards.
The majority of those awards only had one recipient: The Social Network. The critically acclaimed film, which dramatized Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and the creation of Facebook, walked away with most of the night's largest awards including Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director and Best Screenplay.
Its closest competition, The King's Speech, a movie about the unlikely friendship between England's King George VI and his speech therapist, came into the evening with seven nominations; Colin Firth won a Globe for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama.
Christian Bale and Melissa Leo from The Fighter knocked their opposition down by claiming Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Drama. Natalie Portman won Best Actress – Motion Picture -- Drama for her role in the psychological-thriller Black Swan and Annette Benning took home a Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for her part in the indie comedy The Kids are All Right.
From the silver screen to the tube, unexpected wins abounded. Underdog Katey Sagal from "Sons of Anarchy," Jim Parsons from "The Big Bang Theory" and the new HBO drama "Boardwalk Empire" now boast Globes in addition to their critical accolades.
But it was "Glee" that caused significant ripples throughout the night. The FOX dramedy about a bunch of high school outcasts and their glee club has received a lot of attention for its gay bullying storyline. The show took home a bushel of major awards including Best Supporting Performance in a Series, Miniseries or Television Film for Chris Colfer (actor) and Jane Lynch (actress) and Best Series – Musical or Comedy.
The evening was capped off with a Robert De Niro tribute and a touching standing ovation for cancer survivor Michael Douglas.
Though not quite "Hollywood's best party," as the Golden Globes are often called, the show proved a pleasurable and telling opening to this year's awards season.