Golden Globes 2017: The Highs and Lows

The 2017 Golden Globes were watched by 20 million people — up slightly from 2016 — and the Jimmy Fallon-hosted ceremony had plenty of entertaining moments. But a three hour broadcast is bound to fall flat from time to time, too. Take a look at the highs and lows from Hollywood’s Biggest Party.

LOW: Sofia Vergara’s Inappropriate Joke

As if having Modern Family‘s famously curvaceous Sofia Vergara introduce this year’s three Miss Golden Globes — Sylvester Stallone’s daughters Sophia, 20, Sistine, 18, and Scarlet, 14 — wasn’t enough of a wink-wink joke in and of itself, Vergara was given a script that involved her having a difficult time pronouncing the term “annual tradition.” Twitter responded with dismay that once again Vergara was making fun of her own accent.

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Regardless of who wrote the bit, having an actress make an “anal” joke while she was introducing three young women, who were supposed to be honored for their role in the broadcast — and whose father had told them, “When you get onstage, take a deep breath, look at the audience, and really remember how you’re feeling at that moment” — is unnecessary and not all that funny. — Mandi Bierly

LOW: The Underwhelming Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds Tribute

Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
Debbie Reynolds and her daughter, Carrie Fisher (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

The sudden, tragic deaths of both Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds shook the entire movie industry, but the ceremony only allotted a scant minute and a half to a tribute to the great actresses, with a generic video montage. For a better memorial to the beloved mother and daughter, check out the new HBO documentary Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. — Leah Neuberth

HIGH: Meryl Streep’s Masterful Acceptance Speech

While accepting her Cecil B. De Mille Award for lifetime achievement, the much-honored acting legend gave a stemwinder of a speech, denouncing President-elect Donald Trump without ever using his name, encouraging everyone to help protect press freedom, and paying touching tribute to her “friend, the dear, departed Princess Leia,” who told her to “take your broken heart, make it into art.” — Gwynne Watkins

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HIGH: Surprise Wins

Billy Bob Thornton, Donald Glover, Isabelle Huppert, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Photo: Getty Images)
Billy Bob Thornton, Donald Glover, Isabelle Huppert, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Photo: Getty Images)

Back-to-back surprise victories for Aaron Taylor-Johnson of Nocturnal Animals and Goliath’s Billy Bob Thornton got the Globes off to a rousing start. And that surprise energy got turned up to 11 when Donald Glover’s freshman series, Atlanta, took home the award for Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy, beating out established favorites like Transparent and Veep. Later on, Glover’s surprise Best Actor win for the acclaimed FX series was followed by Isabelle Huppert’s upset Best Actress triumph for the provocative French film Elle. You know what they say about underdogs … eventually one — or in this case, five — of them will get to have their day. — Ethan Alter

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HIGH: Jimmy Fallon’s La La Land-Inspired Opening

The Golden Globes began in song-and-dance fashion on Sunday night, courtesy of Jimmy Fallon’s star-studded pretaped opener — a lively riff on La La Land’s famed in-traffic musical number. The A-list cameos came from the worlds of both movies and TV, shouting out to a variety of the year’s biggest hits, including Game of Thrones (with a resurrected Jon Snow gag from Kit Harington), Arrival (with Amy Adams crooning in front of Hazmat-suited dancers), Westworld (with Evan Rachel Wood in Dolores’s blue dress), and Stranger Things (with a rapping Eleven and the resurrection of Barb!) From the the limo-clogged red carpet to Fallon sashaying across the stars with his one true love — Justin Timberlake, of course — it was a rollicking tribute. — Nick Schager

HIGH: Presenters Kristen Wiig and Steve Carell

Tasked with presenting this year’s Globes award for Best Animated Film, Kristen Wiig and Steve Carell proceeded to leave the audience giggling with their comedy-killer memories of the first animated films they ever saw. For Carell, it was Fantasia — which he saw right before his mom told his dad that she wanted a divorce. And for Wiig, it was Bambi — viewed, unfortunately, right after her family was forced to euthanize her three dogs Jack, Janet, and Chrissy. (Bonus Three’s Company reference!) Their traumatic memories were our laughter. Should the Globes ever come calling, they’d make an inspired hosting pair. — NS

LOW: Jimmy Fallon’s Prompter Fail

After that musical showstopper (see above), Fallon found himself at a loss when he came onstage to greet the audience and discovered that his teleprompter wasn’t working. Left without his monologue material, Fallon seemed downright unmoored, nervously cracking, “I can think of something … cut to Justin Timberlake, please, and he’ll just wink at me or something … this is great. You know what, I’ll make up this monologue.” Thankfully, the teleprompter was promptly restored, but it was a rocky start to the night. — NS

HIGH: Viola Davis Makes Denzel Washington Cry

Viola Davis and Denzel Washington aren’t just co-stars in the movie version of Fences — they headlined a Tony-winning revival of August Wilson’s play together over 100 times on Broadway. Davis won her first Globe for the powerhouse film performance, and her touching speech came to a close with a couple of choice cuts of Denzel all welled up. “I’m a friend and a fan,” she told Washington. “Thank you for being an extraordinary leader. A great actor, great director.” — Kevin Polowy

LOW: Hidden Fences

(Photo: 20th Century Fox)
(Photo: 20th Century Fox)

It started on the red carpet, when NBC correspondent Jenna Bush (daughter of George W.) started a question for Hidden Figures producer and composer Pharrell Williams by saying he was nominated for Hidden Fences. Not surprisingly, Twitter exploded over her mixup of the two acclaimed period dramas focused on African-Americans. Michael Keaton must not have checked his timeline, though. When The Founder actor presented the award for Best Supporting Actress, he made the same blunder when calling out Hidden Figures co-star Octavia Spencer, who was up against Fences star and eventual winner, Viola Davis. — KP

HIGH: Ryan Gosling’s Acceptance Speech

After four previous nominations, Ryan Gosling won his first Golden Globe for La La Land — and his acceptance speech didn’t disappoint. After joking that the award had been given to the wrong Ryan (Deadpool‘s Ryan Reynolds was also nominated) and paying tribute to his co-star, Emma Stone, and director Damien Chazelle (he offered to break the statue into thirds), the usually private actor launched into a heartfelt tribute to his life partner, Eva Mendes. “While I was singing and dancing and playing piano and having one of the best experiences I’ve ever had on a film, my lady was raising our daughter, pregnant with our second, and helping her brother fight his battle with cancer,” Gosling said. He then credited Mendes for his win and dedicated his Golden Globe to her late brother. And then everybody cried. — GW

HIGH: Tracee Ellis Ross’s Acceptance Speech

The Black-ish star, who is the first black actress to win Best Actress in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy since Fame‘s Debbie Allen took home the Globe in 1983, came prepared with one of the night’s most effortlessly poignant and celebratory speeches: “This is for all of the women, women of color, and colorful people whose stories, ideas, thoughts are not always considered worthy and valid and important. But I want you to know that I see you, we see you,” she said. “It is an honor to be on this show, Black-ish, to continue expanding the way we are seen and known and to show the magic and the beauty and the sameness of a story and stories that are outside of where the industry usually looks.” She also thanked all those who got her to this point in her career: “It’s nice at 44,” she said. “I like it here.” — MB

HIGH: The Night Manager Makes an Impression

The Night Manager wasn’t exactly a ratings blockbuster for AMC, but HFPA members were clearly loyal viewers. The imported British miniseries about illegal arms traders went three for three in the acting categories for Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for TV, with stars Hugh Laurie, Olivia Colman, and Tom Hiddleston all taking home surprise wins. And Hiddleston made the most of his time on stage, paying tribute to the humanitarian workers from UNICEF and Doctors Without Borders he met while visiting the war-ravaged South Sudan. (Of course, the speech was later mocked on Twitter — because what isn’t?) — EA

HIGH: DJ Julia Louis Dreyfus

(Credit: NBC)
(Credit: NBC)

The Golden Globes prides itself on being “Hollywood’s Biggest Party,” and what’s a party without a DJ? After one commercial break, Veep star Julia Louis Dreyfus, nominated for Best Actress in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy, took over Questlove’s spot at the DJ booth. She bobbed to the beat of Bruno Mars’s “24K Magic” while sporting some signature Questlove accessories, including a comb, oversized black-rimmed glasses, and large red headphones around her neck. If she ever decides to give up acting, JLD could have a future spinning some stacks of wax. — LN

HIGH: The Unbearably Cute Lion Star Sunny Pawar

(Photo: NBC)
(Photo: NBC)

One of the single most captivating moments of the show’s first half came from a seemingly standard-issue segment: the introduction of Lion as one of the five nominees for Best Motion Picture, Drama. That’s because the presentation was handled by Dev Patel and his pint-sized, 8-year-old co-star Sunny Pawar, who stood grinning beside him. Hearts worldwide melted when Patel lifted the young boy into his arms so he could reach the microphone and finish the intro — a brief, but memorable, appearance that will bring more attention to the drama, which is based on real events. — NS