Golden Globes: 11 Most Memorable Moments

10:01 PM 1/5/2020

by Jillian Forstadt and Jordan Wilson

From politically-fueled speeches to some Facebook shade, here are the highlights from the 2020 telecast.

Golden Globes 2020 - Awkwafina, Sacha Baron Cohen and Michelle Williams  - Publicity - Split - H 2020

Five-time host Ricky Gervais kicked off the 77th annual Golden Globe awards show with a bombastic monologue critiquing the nominees themselves, not without some F-bombs.  

That explosive energy kicked off a night of fierce speeches on climate change and women's rights, as well as several digs at social media. Top of mind for many winners were the Australian bushfires, which have destroyed more than 2,000 homes on the continent's southeastern end. Absent from the awards ceremony, winner Russell Crowe sent a powerful message on climate change to the audience Sunday night.

Amidst the night's inspiring speeches, The Farewell star Awkwafina made history as the first woman of Asian descent to win for best actress in a comedy or musical motion picture. Bong Joon Ho's Parasite claimed his foreign language film win with a critical acceptance speech, and both Brad Pitt and Quentin Tarantino gave comical speeches for two of three wins for Sony's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Sunday night.

In television, HBO's Chernobyl picked up multiple honors, for best limited series as well as for supporting actor Stellan Skarsgard, and Amazon's Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge claimed both the best actress category and best comedy series.

Amy Poehler and Sacha Baron Cohen contributed to the night's pointed humor, which brought out the fun in Hollywood's more relaxed start to the awards season. 

The Hollywood Reporter rounded up the standouts from the Golden Globes — including every powerful moment and the night's biggest wins. 

Tune in after the show for interviews with the winners, recap and analysis at The Hollywood Reporter and Twitter's official aftershow live on Twitter. 

Dick Clark Productions, which produces the Golden Globes, shares a parent company with The Hollywood Reporter.

  • Host Ricky Gervais Delivers Acerbic Opening Monologue

    Audiences both at home and in attendance at the Beverly Hilton expected host Ricky Gervais to make some explicit comments in his monologue that opened the 77th Annual Golden Globes, but few could have been prepared for the breadth of his ire. 

    He began by claiming that this would be his last time hosting the awards show. "I don't care anymore. I'm joking; I never did." Gervais especially poked fun at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization responsible for the Golden Globes, saying he was "offered this gig by fax." 

    As he was making fun of Martin Scorsese for his small stature, he referenced The Irishman director's criticism of Marvel movies, which he said he agreed with. His comments became more pointed when he said, "James Corden (is a) fat p---, he was also in the movie Cats. No one saw that. One review said, 'this is the worst thing to happen to cats since dogs.'" 

    Gervais' strongest comments may have been his callout of corporate practices from companies like Apple, maker of The Morning Show, which Gervais said, "was made by a company who runs sweatshops in China. You say you're 'woke'..."

    The host called out Felicity Huffman, those who worked for Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein's mysterious death, people in Hollywood "terrified of Ronan Farrow" and finally, advised Globe winners to keep their speeches politics-free. “So if you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a political platform to make a political speech. You're in no position to lecture the public about anything, you know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. So, if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent and your God and fuck off. OK?”

  • Russell Crowe Delivers Climate Change Message by Proxy

    Actor Russell Crowe's absence from the ceremony was palpable when he was announced as the winner for best actor in a limited series or TV movie for his role in The Loudest Voice. Crowe won the award for portraying Fox News executive Roger Ailes. 

    Presenters Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon acknowledged his absence, and Aniston delivered Crowe's acceptance speech while the actor remained in Australia. 

    The message read: "Make no mistake. The tragedy unfolding in Australia is climate change-based. We need to act based on science, move our global workforce to renewable energy and respect our planet for the unique and amazing place it is."

    His message was the first of many during the evening that referenced the ongoing brushfires that have destroyed millions of acres and killed half a billion animals throughout the continent. Several other presenters and award recipients made similar pleas, but Crowe's was particularly noteworthy because of his choice to remain in his home country.  

  • Sacha Baron Cohen Takes Aim at "Naive, Misguided" Mark Zuckerberg

    While presenting Jojo Rabbit at the Beverly Hilton ceremony, Sacha Baron Cohen took a dig at Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

    "The hero of this next movie is a naive, misguided child who spreads naughty propaganda and only has imaginary friends. His name is Mark Zuckerberg." Following laughter, Baron Cohen added, "Sorry, sorry. This is an old intro for The Social Network."

    The Spy and Who Is America? star has voiced his opinions on major social media companies before. In a speech at the Anti-Defamation League's New York Summit that went viral in November, the star said, referring to recent hate group activity, "All this hate and violence is being facilitated by a handful of Internet companies that amount to the greatest propaganda machine in history."

  • 'Parasite' Director Encourages American Audiences to See More Foreign Film

    When director Bong Joon Ho took to the stage to accept his award for best foreign language film, he was joined by a translator, and he made a plea to audiences unwilling to watch foreign films due to their subtitles.

    “Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films," the Parasite director said.

    The nudge seems to be directed primarily at American audiences, which don't turn out to see foreign films at nearly the same rate as their domestic counterparts. But the Korean director finished his statement with a call of unity, "I think we use only just one language, the cinema." 

  • Taylor Swift and Amy Poehler Reunite On Stage After 2013 Golden Globes Shade

    Amy Poehler and Taylor Swift teamed up to present the Golden Globe for best animated motion picture, but the two haven't always been the best of friends.

    When Poehler co-hosted the Golden Globes with Tina Fey, the pair joked about the then-23-year-old singer, saying that she should “stay away from Michael J. Fox’s son,” with a suggestion that she could use “some 'me time' to learn about herself."

    Later that year, Swift said in a Vanity Fair cover interview that the duo, and other "mean girls" in general, go to hell — indirectly quoting a line from Madeleine Albright, the country's first female Secretary of State.

    This time around, the duo joked about animated movies while presenting onstage. After Swift proclaimed Poehler and her shared loved for animation, Poehler promptly suggested the pop star back off.

    "Speak for yourself, Taylor. I like movies for people, by people," Poehler said.

    The ice seemed to have melted by the time they announced the winner, both sporting smiles.

  • Kate McKinnon Nears Tears Presenting Ellen DeGeneres with Carol Burnett Award

    The Saturday Night Live comedian gave an emotional introduction before Ellen DeGeneres came onstage to accept this year's Carol Burnett Award for Achievement in Television.

    McKinnon attributed her success in comedy to DeGeneres' groundbreaking coming-out on her '90s sitcom, which she said helped her see her own place in television.

    “In 1997, when Ellen’s sitcom was at the height of its popularity, I was in my mother’s basement lifting weights in front of the mirror thinking, ‘Am I gay?’ And I was. And I still am,” McKinnon started. “But that’s a very scary thing to suddenly know about yourself. It’s sort of like doing 23andMe and discovering you have alien DNA. And the only thing that made it less scary was seeing Ellen on TV.

    “She risked her entire life and her entire career in order to tell the truth, and she suffered greatly for it,” McKinnon added. “If I hadn’t seen her on TV, I would’ve thought, ‘I could never be on TV. They don’t let LGBTQ people on TV.’ And more than that, I would’ve gone on thinking I was an alien and that I maybe didn’t even have a right to be here. So, thank you, Ellen, for giving me a shot at a good life.”

    DeGeneres accepted the award and launched into a mostly humor-laced speech that nevertheless turned emotional when she expressed her gratitude for being involved in the television business.

    "Television inspired everything that I am today," she said. "All I want ... people to do is laugh, and make people feel good, and there is no greater feeling than when people say I have helped them through a difficult time."

  • Michelle Williams Opens Up in Empowering Acceptance Speech on Women’s Rights

    Upon accepting the Golden Globe for best actress in a imited series or television movie, Williams brought up the important role women's reproductive rights have played in her career, alluding to personal choices throughout her life.

    "I wouldn't have been able to do this without employing a woman's right to choose," the Fosse/Verdon star added. "To choose when to have my children and with whom. When I felt supported and able to balance our lives, knowing as all mothers know that the scales must and will tilt towards our children."

    The actress added that her choices may be different than those of the viewers. "But thank God, or whoever you pray to, that we live in a country founded on the principle that I am free to live by my faith and you are free to live by yours," Williams said. "So women, 18 to 118, when it is time to vote, please do so in your own self-interest. It's what men have been doing for years."


  • Brad Pitt Gives a Heartfelt Shoutout to Co-Star Leonardo DiCaprio

    Brad Pitt added yet another award to his collection, this time for his work on Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood.

    In the film, Pitt plays the stuntman-turned-best friend of DiCaprio's Rick Dalton, and in his acceptance speech Sunday night, their real-life closeness was apparent.

    “Before The Revenant, I used to watch, year after year, his co-stars accept awards, get up and thank him profusely," Pitt said. "I know why; he’s an all-star, he’s a gent, and I wouldn’t be here without you.”

    Pitt also took the time to make a Titanic joke, telling the fellow actor, "I would've shared the raft."

  • Awkwafina Makes History With Best Actress Win

    Awkwafina seemed as surprised as anyone when her name was announced as the winner for best actress in a musical or comedy. She won the award for her role as Chinese American woman Billi in The Farewell.

    She is the first woman of Asian decent to win a Golden Globe for the lead role in a film; former Globes host Sandra Oh won in the television category for Killing Eve last year, making her the first woman to do so since 1980. 

    “This is great, thank you, if I fall upon hard times I can sell this, so that’s good,” Awkwafina joked after taking the stage to accept her award. She thanked her family and everyone at A24 as well as the film's director, Lulu Wang. "You gave me this chance, the chance of a lifetime."

    Turning back to her natural humor, she dedicated the award to her father, saying, “I’d like to dedicate this to my dad, Wally. I told you I’d get a job, dad.”

  • Quentin Tarantino Gives Odd, Awkward Acceptance Speech

    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood writer and director Quentin Tarantino, who won the award for best screenplay on Sunday night, is no stranger to the Globes. The filmmaker has won two other screenplay Golden Globes (for Pulp Fiction in 1994 and Django Unchained in 2013), and his latest film was seen by a wide audience. 

    But when Tarantino reached the stage and began his speech, it became clear that whatever preparation he made to accept the award was an unpolished effort. Tarantino dedicated the award to Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago screenwriter Robert Bolt, whom Tarantino called "the Dean of Screenwriting." Bolt was apparently a favorite of Tarantino's favorite screenwriter, Apocalypse Now scribe John Milius.

    Stunned silence mixed with a rumble of groans and a few laughs escaped the audience when Tarantino first congratulated himself for writing the screenplay. "You don't share the writing award with someone else when you write it yourself," he said. "I kinda don't have anybody to thank. I did it." 

    Tarantino went on to thank the cast of the film, in particular Margot Robbie, whose "goodness" he could not stop praising. He finally wrapped it up by thanking his wife, currently in Tel Aviv, Israel, whom he said is pregnant with his first child. When the film later won best motion picture comedy or musical, he was absent from the microphone, choosing to let producer David Heyman speak instead.   

  • Tom Hanks Receives Cecil B. DeMille Award to Standing Ovation

    Another lifetime award was given out at the 77th Golden Globes — the Cecil B. DeMille award for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment. This year's recipient was none other than the reputed nicest guy in Hollywood, actor Tom Hanks. 

    After an introduction from actress Charlize Theron, a rousing montage of Hanks' work was shown before he took the stage to accept his award. Fighting off a cold, Hanks spoke graciously about the people he has worked with who helped him in his career. At times choking up, Hanks blamed his illness for being off-kilter.

    "I swear to god, I'm not nearly this emotional at home," he said. "Thank you for all of your inspiration, thank you for all of your work, and all of the struggle that all you guys go through in order to hit the marks and tell the truth."