Here were the standout moments (for me).
MOST HEARTFELT ACCEPTANCE SPEECH: Mo’Nique, winning for Precious
Given her previous appearances, I was worried she might fall into what I call her “stump speech.” She did use a bit of it – the “brilliant,” “fearless” Lee Daniels who “would not waver” has made several appearances and appeared Sunday night. But the bulk of it was very obviously spontaneous. She gave an incredibly moving tribute to her husband and his support of her, and an emotional call to action for people who have been molested to speak out. If anyone had any illusions about her being a diva who’s too good to campaign for awards, surely they think differently now.
MOST SURPRISING PRESENTER MOMENT: Robert DeNiro, paying tribute to Scorsese
I have literally never seen him so animated and relaxed at something like this. And I don’t care what anyone else thought, I cracked up at his comment about dirty YouTube videos of Scorsese having sex with film, especially when they cut to him and his “eh, can’t deny it” expression.
BEST HOST MOMENT: “Unless the next man is Mel Gibson.”
There’s not much to choose from for host moments, but that was a perfectly pitched zinger at an actor who was a pretty good sport about it.
BEST SURPRISE WIN: Glee
Not too big a surprise, as the Globes love to honor new shows, but pleasing nonetheless. I haven’t seen Modern Family, by the way, so I can’t comment on whether (since it’s also a new show) it should have won instead. There are things I don’t like about the show, but what I love is how well it taps into the frustration of being good at something, especially being good as an ensemble, and having no one outside that ensemble appreciate or respect it. High school, man.
MOST CREATIVE ACCEPTANCE SPEECH: Christoph Waltz, winning for Inglourious Basterds
If you also saw the Broadcast Film Critics Association awards, then you might have noticed an emerging pattern with the odds-on favorite in this category. At the BFCA awards, which are called the “Critics Choice” awards, Waltz talked about choices – Quentin’s choice to hire him, Brad Pitt’s choice to play Lt. Raine, and ultimately the critics’ choice to honor this film and Waltz’s performance. At the Globes, he talked astronomy – Quentin’s universe and orbit and the planets, all Globe-related imagery. I look forward to him winning the Oscar and talking about being schooled at Tarantino’s “Academy.” ;-)
BIGGEST SURPRISE: Avatar taking the two big prizes
Yes, I know these awards don’t mean jack-squat for the Oscars (though I still contend that the nominations certainly push the Oscar race in a particular direction). And yes, I’ve heard how much Hollywood in general loves Avatar, while many, many critics remain divided as to its merit. But I do think this is a movie that’s going to be in our cultural consciousness for a long time, and there’s something kind of satisfying about seeing the context of our time played out in these awards. As for Cameron speaking Na’vi, I don’t get the outrage. He was just being a dork, for crying out loud. I think he’s allowed.
BEST BEARD: William Hurt
It seemed like all the dudes in the room were growing out their beards - George Clooney, Jon Hamm, etc. But William Hurt's was by far the most impressive and perhaps frightening, approaching Ahab-ian lengths.