Though the Golden Globes have grown in prestige in recent years, they remain the Oscar’s goofy cousin — the breeziest of awards show where television and films commingle and everyone gets drunk. As a result, it features some of the weirder moments among award shows, like when Christine Lahti was in the bathroom when her win was announced or when Ving Rhames gave away his award. In fact, the show has only celebrity presenters thanks to members of the Rat Pack staging a coup at the 1958 ceremony. There’s been scathing monologues, inebriated speeches and a great deal of cursing. Historically, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has been vulnerable to the influence of gifts, which is how the awards have featured odd winners like Pia Zadora as New Star of the Year and Best Comedy nominations for non-comedies like "The Tourist" and "The Martian." But in the age where awards shows primarily exist for people to tweet about them, the unpredictability and possibly rigged nature of the Globes makes them a fun part of the deadly serious awards season marathon.
In 1998, a tearful Ving Rhames won Best Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for TV for “Don King: Only In America.” “Stanislavsky said ‘Love the art in yourself, not yourself in the art,’ began Rhames, before calling fellow nominee Jack Lemmon to the stage. Rhames explained that being an artist was about giving and then said, “I’d like to give this award to you, Mr. Jack Lemmon.” When Lemmon won two years later for “Inherit The Wind,” he said, “In the spirit of Ving Rhames, I’m going to give this to Jack Lemmon.”
When Michael J. Fox announced Christine Lahti won Best Actress for “Chicago Hope,” she wasn’t in her seat. As everyone stalled for time, America found out she was in the bathroom. Then Robin Williams grabbed the microphone and started to improvise, doing a joke about cloning for some reason. Finally Lahti made it to the stage, theatrically wiping her hands with a towel. Later a gum-chomping Jack Nicholson won, and said, “For those of you wondering, it was No. 2.”
When Jack Nicholson won Best Actor in a Drama in 2003, he gave a breezy speech. He talked about his old softball teams, called Kathy Bates “the Bates Motel” and told the crowd he was confused because he thought "About Schmidt" was a comedy. Why was he so breezy? It's because he was on Valium, which you might have been able to tell from his wearing glasses.
In 1982 it was widely expected that Best New Star of the Year would go to Kathleen Turner for "Body Heat." Instead it went to the relatively unknown Pia Zadora, who'd appeared in the little-seen movie "Butterfly." Her performance was bad enough to earn a Razzie for Worst Actress. (She'd repeat the next year for "The Lonely Lady.") How did she win? Her 30-years-older husband, Wall Street tycoon and casino owner Meshulam Riklis, flew voters to the Riviera for a screening and wined and dined voters in Los Angeles as well. The general perception was that Riklis had bought the award, which led to CBS canceling its contract with the Globes. It wasn't until Dick Clark took over production of the show that it returned to semi-respectability, but it didn't get back to network television for 13 years.
Up until 1958, the foreign press didn't just vote on the Golden Globes: It presented them. That changed when some members of the Rat Pack — Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr. — decided that was boring, and they'd host the show themselves. The group, along with their cigarettes and booze, took over the stage and gave out the awards, including a Best Actor trophy for Sinatra himself. The Rat Pack hosted officially in 1959, and the show has had celebrity presenters ever since.
Emma Thompson won Best Screenplay for "Sense And Sensibility" and then delivered her acceptance speech as Jane Austen. “The gowns were middling. There was a good deal of shouting and behavior that bordered on the profligate. However, people were very free with their compliments and I made several new acquaintances.” Ten years later, she added to her legend by presenting a screenplay award barefoot and holding a martini.
In 1950, some of the journalists split from the Hollywood Foreign Correspondents Association to form the Foreign Press Association of Hollywood, which gave out "Henrietta" Awards (named after Henry Gris, the president). It held film festivals and handed out giant trophies featuring a naked woman, and in 1952 Marilyn Monroe was one of the young stars honored. The Globe Wars ended by 1954 when the two factions combined to form the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which still exists today. The Henrietta itself continued as the World Film Favorite, which was given out until 1980.
When Hugh Laurie won for "House" in 2006, he explained that he had 172 people who deserve to be thanked. So he wrote all of their names down on small scraps of paper that were in his “left-hand trouser pocket," — oh and he would randomly select three, which is how Laurie ended up thanking the show's script supervisor and hair stylist. He then thanked his agent, before rechecking the paper and announcing, “That’s not my handwriting. He’s good.”
In 1980 Bette Midler won Best New Star of the Year for her role in "The Rose," and in a homage to Joan Crawford, she grabbed her breasts and announced, “I’ll show you a pair of Golden Globes" all while insisting she was done with being dirty on stage. Midler also won Best Actress that year and repeated with "For The Boys," playing a different performer who was also pretty raunchy on stage.
The Golden Globe doesn’t contain a cash prize, but that doesn’t mean a winner can’t make a little scratch on the side. So when Mary Louise Parker won for "Angels In America," she announced she was getting a bonus from a "West Wing" castmate. “Janel Moloney just told me she would pay me $1,000 if I thanked my newborn son for my boobs looking so good in this dress. So get out your checkbook. William Atticus Parker, thank you so much from your mother.”
Was Jacqueline Bisset a little intoxicated when she won in 2014? She seemed to get lost on the way up to the stage, rambled and uttered this not-very-sober-sounding sentence: “And to the people who have given me s--- I say, like my mother, what did she say? She said “Go to hell, and don’t come back.” Later she claimed she was confused and thought her category was later in the program. Just imagine the acceptance speech if she’d had an extra hour of cocktails first.
Billy Bob Thornton thanked the Hollywood Foreign Press for choosing him over Bob Odenkirk, claiming that they’d had a feud since the 1940s, “when we did a movie with Van Johnson,” ending his speech with an emphatic “There you go, bud!” The whole thing was much more lighthearted than when he won for "Fargo" two years earlier and said, “These days you get into a lot of trouble no matter what you say … I know this for a fact, so I’m just going to say thank you.” Then he told People magazine that since he wasn’t much of a drinker, he was going to celebrate by eating seven pounds of pork.
Elizabeth Taylor was picked to give out the Best Picture - Drama Award in 2001 but opened the envelope and tried to announce the winners before reading off the nominees. “I’m not supposed to be open this?” she slurred to the crowd. Dick Clark came out to help, and eventually Taylor finally read “Billy Elliott.” She mercifully got through the six names, then said, “And the winner is … It’s flashing ‘Envelope.’”
Amy Poehler and Tina Fey have a long history of hosting the Globes together and an equally long history of roasting George Clooney in the process . In their first appearance, Fey said “'Gravity' is nominated for Best Film. It’s the story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than to spend one more minute with a woman his own age.” And then the next year, they read off a list of the accomplishments of his wife, Amal Clooney, with international law and human rights and asked why George was getting the Lifetime Achievement Award. They also warned him he might be getting pranked with a fake award or "Cecil B. De-BURNT!"
Channing Tatum went on stage with “the bear from "The Revenant” — Jonah Hill in a stupid bear hat. The bit really went nowhere, with Hill frantically dropping f-bombs as the sketch sputtered along. But the funniest thing about this bit is how much Jane Fonda just hated it. The director cut back to Fonda a second time, just to make sure that magical diss face really did happen.
In 1979 Oliver Stone won Best Screenplay for "Midnight Express," and he used his speech to rail against the USA’s drug policy. Chevy Chase yelled at him, “Just say ‘thank you’ and get off the stage.” Maybe Chevy didn’t want him to blow up their spot. Eventually Stone got dragged off the stage by security, because in those days the orchestra didn’t have the firepower. When he won in the same category at the Oscars, Stone kept the speech short and sweet, thanking the people who made "Midnight Express" and “all the people who are in prison.”
When "30 Rock" won for Best Comedy, the whole cast went on stage, and Tracy Morgan took the microphone . As he explained, “Tina Fey and I had an agreement that if Barack Obama won, I would speak for the show.” He went on to give a shoutout to the continent of Europe and announced, “I’m the face of post-racial America. Deal with it, Cate Blanchett!”
Cher won Best Supporting Actress for "Silkwood" in 1984, and she was so excited that she forgot her speech . To cover, she said, “Look at my dress until I can think of something.” Though it wasn’t a dress at all: It was a jacket over a blouse and then a tiny leather skirt and fishnets. She also called Meryl Streep her best friend and said that Kurt Russell was an idiot. Cher would win the Golden Globe and the Oscar for Best Actress four years later, when she again used her speech to thank her best friend, “Mary Louise Streep.”
Angelina Jolie said if she won a Golden Globe for “Gia,” she’d go in the pool. True to her word, after the 1999 Globes Jolie jumped into the pool at the Beverly Hilton, still wearing her dress. She won a Globe again the next year for “Girl, Interrupted” as well as the Academy Award, but she stayed dry. She did try to grope Oscar's face, however.
Given the alcohol-heavy nature of the proceedings and the track record of the winner, NBC had to be a little nervous when Mickey Rourke took the stage to give his acceptance speech for "The Wrestler." But the network couldn't have guessed that the guy who would get it an FCC fine was actually "Wrestler" director, Darren Aronofsky. Rourke gave Aronofsky a huge compliment, calling him a once-in-a-generation talent, and then Aronofsky gave him the finger, out of love, it should be stated. But the FCC got 18 complaints from 18 very sensitive viewers.
There have been some controversial nominations in the Best Musical/Comedy category over the years, considered a less competitive lane than Best Drama. "Ghost" ended up in that category in 1990, while "The Tourist" was the subject of much derision — Ricky Gervais joked that the voters didn’t nominate the film just to hang out with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie; “they also accepted bribes.” But the most egregious example came when "The Martian" took home Best Comedy/Musical, and Matt Damon got his first acting Globe for a movie that absolutely is not a comedy. It was so much not a comedy that the rules were changed the next year to ban "dramas with comedic overtones." And then "Get Out" was nominated in the same category.
Mel Gibson was a frequent target of frequent Globes host Ricky Gervais. Once, Gervais said, "I like a drink as much as the next man, unless the next man is Mel Gibson." In 2016 Gibson finally got a chance to answer back, though Gervais got to take some more shots while introducing Gibson. "I would blame NBC for this terrible situation. Mel blames...we know who Mel blames." Gibson's reply was “I like seeing Ricky every three years because it reminds me to get a colonoscopy.” The best part of that reply was he didn't use a single racial slur.
When Richard Gere won Best Actor for "Chicago," presenter Sharon Stone was more excited than he was. She kept interrupting her "Intersection" co-star's speech, telling jokes and at one point demanding that he tap dance. Maybe it was best that she interrupted because he took a long detour to thank Harvey Weinstein — “This is a good man,” he thundered — and ripped an unflattering New Yorker profile that recent history makes look like a puff piece. Stone also tried to grab U2's Golden Globe later in the show. The woman loves music!
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