HFPA Head On Ricky Gervais' Golden Globes Performance: 'We Liked Him'

6:56 PM PST 01/19/2012 by Alex Ben Block
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Despite receiving tepid critical reviews Aida Takia-O'Reilly tells THR the comedian's performance was funny and to "never say never" for a fourth hosting turn.

Many critics complained that Ricky Gervais wasn’t as tough on the celebrities at the Golden Globes this year as he was the year before. “The host was guilty of playing it safe and being too blah,” declared the Washington Post, echoing many of the unhappy reviewers.

However, the head of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which puts on the annual awards show, does not agree.

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“He was very good,” said HFPA president Aida Takla-O’Reilly on Thursday. “I know, I read on the Internet some people wanted him more daring. But generally he was great. He was funny. And the good thing that happened this year is he let the stars in on the joke, so they responded. We liked him very, very much. “

Gervais apparently agreed. On his blog after the show he wrote: “The crowd were great this year too. I think they finally worked out that my gags only seemed rude and nasty but were actually not too scary at all. Or they were just drunker. Either way, it was fun.”

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But will he be invited back again next year?

“You can never say never,” said Takla-O’Reilly. “It’s really a possibility. We don’t know. Maybe he doesn’t want it. It’s a very difficult question to answer right now.”

On his blog after the show Gervais wrote (with British spelling) that he hopes not to do it again, but of course he said that last year as well.

“I had a blast actually,” wrote Gervais (note the British spelling). “It was by far my favourite of the three hosting stints. I've told my agent to never let me be persuaded to do it again though. It's like a parachute jump. You can only really enjoy it in retrospect when you realise you didn't die and it was quite an amazing thing to do.”

So anything can happen.

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“You know life changes, so much changes in a year,” said Takla-O’Reilly. “But we wanted him to do it. And it was the best show anyway.”

After the Globes on Sunday night, Gervais told THR at the HBO Party in the Beverly Hilton that an NBC executive had already told him they want him to return. But he quickly added that he had yet to talk to or hear from the HFPA.

Takla-O’Reilly said the door is not closed to Gervais returning for a fourth time but there are other considerations.

“Not only is it too early,” said Takla-O’Reilly, “but we cant talk about that because it has to do with the legal matters that are coming up.

Next week the HFPA faces off with its longtime producer Dick Clark Productions in a Los Angeles courtroom in a legal battle over who controls rights to the Golden Globes telecast for the next few years. If Dick Clark Productions wins the case, the show will continue on NBC.

But if HFPA wins, they are expected to hold an auction for the rights and NBC may or may not be the winner. That will depend on who offers the most money and best terms.

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If it is NBC again, that would be fine with Takla-O’Reilly: “We got along with NBC very well. I liked the people I worked with. They were very honorable.”

And if it is Gervais again, that is also fine with her.

“We cannot muzzle the comedians because the comedian mirrors our flaws., mirrors the flaws of humanity,” said Takla-O’Reilly. “They do it in a different ways. Sometimes it’s very sharp and hurtful and sometimes it milder. But we need that in the world. We need the comedians because they tell it like it is. Most of them anyway.”

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