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golden globes 2014

The Highs and Lows of the 2014 Golden Globes

Another Golden Globes has come and gone, and it certainly had its ups and downs: Hilarious hosting moments by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, many technical glitches, some great speeches and some where it felt like time had stopped. Let's break down the highs and lows.

HIGH (THOUGH NOT QUITE AS HIGH AS LAST YEAR): Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as hosts
They did a good job: The opening monologue started a little slowly — the "Tam Honks" joke bombed, alas — though it picked up as it went along. Meryl Streep was great in August: Osage County, they said, "proving there are still great roles for Meryl Streeps over 60." Gravity: "The story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age." And it closed with Tina Fey somehow turning Captain Phillips suggestive by leering at that film’s Barkhad Abdi and saying, “I’m the captain now.” The best bit was probably Poehler as Randy, Fey's sulky 20-year-old son, but we wish there had been more bits and shenanigans.

LOW, THEN HIGH, THEN LOW AGAIN: Jacqueline Bisset's loopy acceptance speech
For a minute, when she quoted her mother and started yelling over the music, Jacqueline Bisset's speech was weirdly fun, in that "Oh, God, she's really doing this" sort of way. But … it was also awkward, and long, and not the sort of tone that you want to set that early in the evening.

HIGH: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, game as ever
She snobbishly smoked an e-cigarette and blew off Reese Witherspoon; she actually ate something onscreen at the Golden Globes (a hot dog). Julia Louis-Dreyfus always brings it to awards shows, and tonight was no exception. She remains a national treasure.

LOW: The Nonsensical “Comedy/Musical” Category
Could anything better underscore the bizarreness of what the HFPA considered comedies this year than Leonardo DiCaprio’s victory speech in which he thanked “fellow comedians” Christian Bale, Bruce Dern, Oscar Issac, and Joaquin Phoenix. What a bunch of kooky cut-ups!

HIGH: Elisabeth Moss’s victory
After being nominated for more than half a dozen Emmys and Golden Globes, Moss finally won something, this time for her lead performance in Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake. That was wonderful and she deserved it, but let’s pay respect to her best moment of the night — when she gave the middle finger to E!’s utterly inane and childish mani-cam. Can’t wait to see what she does next year with the network’s brand-new stiletto-cam.

LOW: The seating charts
Are you really going to put Breaking Bad all the way in the back? And why was the room set up like a maze? Most of the winners spent more time walking to the stage than actually speaking on it (except for Robin Wright, who just sprinted all the way). This is not good time management!

LOWBROW HIGH: Alex Ebert’s speech closer, “Thanks for letting me try all over your movie.”
When the Best Score winner (for All Is Lost) thanked the film’s director, JC Chandor, it started out as a poetic ode to creative freedom, and ended up hilariously sounding like the punch line to a joke about Ron Jeremy and Francis Ford Coppola stuck on a deserted island.

LOW: Everyone being so incredibly nervous
And not just the first-time winners: Jennifer Lawrence, Queen of Charm, seemed to have forgotten how awards speeches work, and Amy Adams was looking a little shaky, too. Jon Voight, Elisabeth Moss, Jacqueline Bisset … yes, they all seemed grateful! But don't they know about Xanax?

HIGH: Alfonso Cuarón's Herpes Joke
Accent jokes are okay when the person with the accent is making them. Back when they were filming Gravity, Alfonso Cuarón apparently told Sandra she was getting an ear piece, but she thought he said "herpes." True story, he says.

LOW: Bing and Apple commercials
Do you like female empowerment? How about artistry and poetry? Do you have a heart? Do you think feelings are feelings, actions are actions, and our hearts are capable of mighty loves? Never say never; believe in yourself; never doubt that a small group of dedicated people can be the change they wish to see, etc etc. Holy god, folks: You're selling Bing and iPads for chrissake. We don't need to Don Draper everything.

HIGH: Emma Thompson
Heels in one hand, martini in the other. Bless this woman.

LOW: Diane Keaton's musical tribute to Woody Allen
Her speech accepting the honorary Cecil B. DeMille award for her old pal Woody started fine but ended even more quirkily than you might expect from quirky Diane Keaton: with the Annie Hall star busting into a Girl Scouts tune. “Make new friends and keep the old / One is silver and the other gold,” she sing-songed. You know, it’s best not to reference a troupe of young girls to pay tribute to Woody Allen — and Ronan Farrow would likely agree with us.

HIGH: The supermodel vagina joke and Leo’s laugh
This was the absolute best joke of the night: "And now, like a supermodel's vagina, let's all give a warm welcome to Leonardo DiCaprio." It's also a perfect awards-show joke: It's a little bawdy (thought not very), a little insulting (though not very), short, and even Leonardo DiCaprio himself chuckled.

LOW: The sloppy censors
Early in the show, when Jacqueline Bisset said “shit” in her speech, the sound dropped out only to come back right in time to let us hear the “shit.” Perhaps scarred by this mistiming, whoever was in charge of the dropout button panicked when Diane Keaton said “goddamn” and silenced her mike for what seemed like enough time for her to run through George Carlin’s entire “seven dirty words” routine. And finally, Tina Fey’s aforementioned “supermodel’s vagina” joke seemed to induce an epileptic seizure in the traumatized censor, as the time-space continuum shattered and all video and audio got de-synced and things started to look like a fever dream of Leo waving and Martin Scorsese laughing. On a show that rewarded American Hustle and Wolf of Wall Street, does it make sense to go so bananas about potential profanity?

LOW THAT BECAME A HIGH: Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s win for Best TV Comedy
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is not the best comedy on TV, and Girls or Parks and Rec probably deserved this award more. But once the visibly stunned cast got onstage, and co-creator Daniel J. Goor gave a delightful acceptance speech, suddenly this seemed like a refreshing, exciting choice! An outside-the-box vote for a wacky little show! Like the vote of confidence the series needs! Maybe Brooklyn Nine-Nine is the best?

Photo: NBC