Golden Globes: Ricky Gervais Uses Vegan Menu to Take on HFPA

Best actor nominees Leonardo DiCaprio and Joaquin Phoenix praised the plant-based cuisine ahead of the awards ceremony.

While he steered clear of the vegan menu in his acidic monologue, 2020 Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais touched on the plant-based meal when he introduced the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, saying, "The meal tonight was all vegetables, as are all of the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press."

The awards show served a plant-based meal including chilled golden beet soup with locally grown chervil and amaranth, a main course of king oyster mushrooms cooked and presented to resemble scallops, with wild-mushroom risotto, roasted baby purple and green brussels sprouts, globe carrots and pea tendrils. The vegan dessert "is a take on an opera cake," according to Matthew Morgan, the executive chef at the Beverly Hilton hotel where the Golden Globes is taking place.

The sustainable selections were a last-minute change from the menu previewed in December that included fish and makes the Golden Globes likely the first major awards show to have an all-vegan menu. Beyond that, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which presents the Golden Globes, is planning to reuse the red carpet at other events and will serve Icelandic Glacial water in glass bottles.

"The climate crisis is surrounding us and we were thinking about the new year and the new decade. So we started talking between us about what we can do to send a signal," HFPA president Lorenzo Soria told The Hollywood Reporter. "We don’t think we'll change the world with one meal, but we decided to take small steps to bring awareness. The food we eat, the way it is processed and grown and disposed of, all of that contributes to the climate crisis."

Even before sitting down for dinner in the Beverly Hilton ballroom, some guests had weighed in on the vegan cuisine, including acting nominees Leonardo DiCaprio and Joaquin Phoenix, who both praised the selections on social media.

Phoenix, on his sister Rain's instagram account, said, in part, "By acknowledging animal agriculture’s role in the degradation of our planet and boldly taking measures to do its part to reduce harm, the HFPA has shown great leadership. Thank you, Mr. Soria, the brilliant chefs, and everyone working so hard to confront the environmental perils we face by supporting a plant-based 77th Golden Globes celebration.”

Phoenix echoed these remarks in comments backstage at the Globes, after winning best actor in a motion picture, drama, for his lead role in Joker.

"This is the first time I have ever eaten the food at this ceremony. I was so moved by the decision to take tonight plant-based," Phoenix said. "The SAG Awards, Critics' Choice Awards and Governors Ball and whatever else there is need to do it as well. I think consuming animal products is no longer a personal choice; it has a drastic and vast consequence on everyone. I have never been so proud to attend an awards ceremony as I have tonight."

Soria, who did a taste test earlier this week, said the Parmesan-free risotto was "delicious."

PETA was also pleased.

Still, Gervais prior to the show, quipped to Access Hollywood, "I think it is a good idea that 800 people are trying to save the planet and arriving all in separate limos to have some veg."

The National Cattleman's Beef Association, meanwhile, said the Globes ditching meat wouldn't be significant. “While the intent is good, the impact is likely to be minimal," the group said in a statement. “If all livestock in the U.S. were eliminated and every American followed a vegan diet [greenhouse gas emissions would only drop by 2.6 percent]."

Hosted by Ricky Gervais, the 77th annual Golden Globes aired live coast-to-coast on NBC from 5 to 8 p.m. PT. 
Dick Clark Productions, which produces the Golden Globes, shares a parent company with The Hollywood Reporter.