Ricky Gervais kicks off 77th Golden Globes

Entertainment

This image released by NBC shows host Ricky Gervais speaking at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020. (Paul Drinkwater/NBC via AP)

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) — True to his reputation, host Ricky Gervais opened the 77th Golden Globes with a mix of evisceration and exasperation, pretending to confuse Joe Pesci for Baby Yoda, calling the Hollywood Foreign Press Association racist and declaring Netflix’s takeover of Hollywood.

Gervais, who has a series on Netflix, said he could summarize the three-hour award show with a simple phrase: “Well done, Netflix. You win.” The streaming giant came into the Globes with a commanding 34 nods: 17 in film categories and 17 in television categories.

“If ISIS started a streaming service, you’d call your agent,” Gervais told the starry crowd Sunday at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California.

Hosting the Globes for the fifth time, Gervais did not mince words, telling attendees that Ronan Farrow was coming for them, lampooning Leonardo DiCaprio’s dating life and joking that Martin Scorsese isn’t tall enough to ride the attractions at a theme park — the metaphor the “Irishman” filmmaker has used to describe today’s Hollywood.

“It’s the last time,” sighed Gervais. “Who cares.”

The first award of the night went, fittingly to a streaming service series. Ramy Youssef won best actor in a TV series comedy or musical for his Hulu show “Ramy.” Best actor in a limited series went to Russell Crowe for the Showtime series “The Loudest Voice.” He wasn’t in attendance due to the wildfires in his native Australia.

The Golden Globes, Hollywood’s most freewheeling televised award show, could be unusually influential this year. The roughly 90 voting members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association have traditionally had little in common with the nearly 9,000 industry professionals that make up the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The HFPA is known for calculatingly packing its show with as much star power as possible, occasionally rewarding even the likes of “The Tourist” and “Burlesque.”

But the condensed time frame of this year’s award season (the Oscars are Feb. 9) brings the Globes and the Academy Awards closer. Balloting for Oscar nominations began Thursday. Voters were sure to be watching.

Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” led all movies with six nominations, including best film, drama. Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” with five, is up for the same category. The box-office smash “Joker” is a wildcard.

The path was more certain for Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” which is competing in the comedy or musical category. It could easily take home more trophies than any other movie, with possible wins for Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio — a 12-time Globes nominee and three-time winner — and Tarantino’s script. Tarantino is also up for best director, though he faces formidable competition in Scorsese and “Parasite” filmmaker Bong Joon Ho.

The dearth of nominations for female filmmakers stoked more backlash than anything else at this year’s Globes. Only men were nominated for best director (just five women have ever been nominated in the category), and none of the 10 films up for best picture was directed by a woman, either. Time’s Up, the activist group that debuted at the black-clad 2018 Globes, was highly critical of the HFPA for the omission, calling it “unacceptable.”

Last year, eventual Oscar best picture winner “Green Book” took best comedy, while “Bohemian Rhapsody” unexpectedly won best drama. This year, one of the likely best picture nominees at the Academy Awards wasn’t eligible. Despite being an organization of foreign journalists, the HFPA doesn’t include foreign films in its top categories, thus ruling out the South Korean sensation “Parasite.”

On the TV side, series like “Fleabag,” “The Crown,” “Succession” and “Chernobyl” were among the favorites. The recently launched Apple TV Plus also joins its first major awards show with “The Morning Show,” including nominations for both Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.

Last year’s telecast, hosted by Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh, held steady in TV ratings, averaging 18.6 million viewers.

Tom Hanks, also a nominee for his supporting turn as Fred Rogers in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” will receive the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award. The Carol Burnett Award, a similar honorary award given for television accomplishment, will go to Ellen DeGeneres.

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