Ricky Gervais skewered ‘woke’ Hollywood, made jokes about Jeffrey Epstien, Harvey Weinstein and Prince Andrew, and tackled topics such as MeToo and ISIS as he left his A-list audience wincing during his opening monologue at the 77th Golden Globe awards.
Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro, and Gwyneth Paltrow were left with stunned looks on their faces as Gervais mocked Felicity Huffman over the college admission scandal, branded James Corden a ‘massive p****’ and ripped Judi Dench for ‘licking her own a***hole’ in his eight-minute speech.
In a particularly blunt moment, Gervais advised those receiving awards to avoid making political speeches because ‘you’re in no position to the public about anything’ before adding: ‘If you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent, and your God and f*** off.’
The British comic, hosting for the fifth time, underlined his point by jesting: ‘You say you’re woke but the companies you work for in China — unbelievable. Apple, Amazon, Disney. If ISIS started a streaming service you’d call your agent, wouldn’t you?’
Social media lit up with posts praising Gervais’s take-downs of the Hollywood establishment, relishing in the uncomfortable reactions from those in the room – though others found his jokes hard to stomach.
Following the controversy were the awards themselves – which saw Sam Mendes win best director for 1917, which also won best film. Renée Zellweger and Joaquin Phoenix scooped the best actress and actor awards for Judy and Joker, while Once Upon a Time in Hollywood won in the best picture – musical or comedy category.
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In one moment which shocked the stars in the crowd, Gervais makes a pointed remark about the death of pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
He said: ‘[Netflix series Afterlife] is a show about a man who wants to kill himself …. Spoiler alert, season two is on the way so he didn’t kill himself…just like Jeffrey Epstein.’
As the audience gasped, he doubled down on the remarks, saying: ‘Shut up. I know he’s your friend, but I don’t care.’
Epstein was found dead in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, New York, in August while awaiting trial on numerous sex offences. An autopsy found he had hanged himself.
Gervais also slammed hypocrite Hollywood stars for working for companies with controversial rights records while claiming to be ‘woke’, and warned winners against making political acceptance speeches.
‘So if you do win an award tonight don’t use it as a 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 then f**k off.’
He also claimed that Apple, who began their streaming site in 2019, used ‘sweatshops’ to make their products, as owner Tim Cook watched from the crowd.
Gervais, 58, also took aim at specific people including actress Felicity Huffman who was jailed over her role in the college admissions scandal this year.
‘You came here in your limos. I came in a limo tonight and the license plate was made by Felicity Huffman,’ he continued, as the cameras panned to a shocked crowd.
Huffman recently completed an 11-day stint in jail after she pleaded guilty to paying $15,000 to get one of her daughters into college.
Gervais continued: ‘It’s her daughter I feel sorry for. That must be the most embarrassing thing to happen to her, and her dad was in Wild Hogs.’
Several audience members broke out into shocked laughter, with Tom Hanks looking stunned.
Gervais, who has not hosted in the #MeToo era before, took a shot there too.
He said there was a wide variety of stars in the room, and they all have one thing in common: ‘They´re all afraid of Ronan Farrow,’ Gervais said.
New Yorker writer Farrow played a key role in outing sexual misconductin Hollywood and exposing disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein.
Later in the show, Gervais introduced a clip for the film Birdbox, describing it as ‘a movie where people survive by acting like they don’t see a thing. Sort of like working for Harvey Weinstein.’
Gervais also mocked what he described as ‘pedophile movies.’
‘Taking of all you perverts, it was a big year for pedophile movies. Surviving R Kelly, Leaving Neverland, Two Popes,’ he says, before breaking down at his own joke.
‘Shut up,’ he told the stunned crowd, ‘I don’t care.’
He said: ‘Once Upon a Time In Hollywood [is] nearly three hours long. Leonardo DiCaprio attended the premiere and by the end his date was too old for him.’
Cameras caught Leo’s reaction. It seemed the actor – who is currently dating 22-year-old Camila Morrone – was able to poke fun at himself, blushing and smiling while the rest of the room cracked up.
Amid laughter from the star-studded audience, Gervais added: ‘Even Prince Andrew is like, ”come on Leo mate, you’re nearly 50, son”.’
The Duke of York has faced intense public scrutiny over his relationship with convicted pedophile Epstein.
Andrew, 59, strenuously denies having sex with the financier’s ‘sex slave’ Virginia Roberts and claims he can’t remember meeting her despite a photograph of him with his arm around her.
Gervais set his sights on James Corden, who recently took part in the poorly reviewed movie Cats.
‘The world got to see James Corden as a fat p****. He was also in the movie Cats, but no one saw that.’
Critics and audience alike have mocked the musical-turned-movie. It has received a 21 per cent Rotten Tomato score and inspiring thousands of ridiculing memes despite the all-star cast.
Gervais continued with an expletive filled joke about Judi Dench, who also starred in the panned movie.
‘Dame Judi Dench defended the film saying it was the role she was born to play because she loves nothing better than plunking herself down on the carpet, lifting her leg and licking her a******.’
It is the fifth time Gervais has emceed the gala, after previously fronting the show from 2010 to 2012 and once again in 2016.
The 58-year-old British comedian sat down for a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter as he discussed the difficulty in balancing comedy with political correctness and Hollywood egos.
When asked if he had any particular targets for this year’s jokes, the comic insisted he wouldn’t be zeroing in on any one star.
‘I don’t think this time [any] individuals are [in the firing line],’ he said.
‘I think I’ll go after the general community.’
War epic ‘1917’ shocked the Golden Globes on Sunday by claiming the top prize for best drama film, while Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood’ won the most honors, massively boosting their prospects for next month’s Oscars.
‘Once Upon a Time…’ – an homage to 1960s Tinseltown – won three prizes including best comedy, but Martin Scorsese’s much-vaunted Netflix crime saga ‘The Irishman’ went home empty-handed.
The Globes are the first major awards gala of the year, in a packed season that ends with the Academy Awards in just over a month’s time, so Sunday’s winners will hope to capitalize on some much-needed momentum.
‘1917’ follows two British soldiers through the trenches in World War I, and is filmed to look like one continuous, two-hour-long shot.
‘Goodness me, that is a big surprise,’ said stunned filmmaker Sam Mendes, who bested Scorsese and Tarantino in the crowded best director category.
Dedicating the film to his grandfather who signed up to fight aged just 17, Mendes added: ‘I hope he’s looking down on us and I fervently hope it never happens again.’
The film’s lead actor George MacKay – a 27-year-old relative unknown in Hollywood – told AFP he was ‘just thrilled, proper thrilled’ when the announcement was made.
‘It’s a wonderful thing. It’s truly just so brilliant for the film and everyone involved. It’s the biggest team effort ever.’
Tarantino won the best screenplay award, and Brad Pitt took home best supporting actor honors for his role as a loyal stuntman to Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in ‘Once Upon a Time…’
‘I also have to thank my partner in crime, LDC,’ said Pitt.
‘I wouldn’t be here without you, man… I would have shared the raft, though,’ he added, referring to the closing scene of ‘Titanic.’
‘Rocketman,’ the Elton John musical biopic, was the other big winner on the night, scooping best actor for Taron Egerton and best original song for John, who was heavily involved in the movie.
‘I’m overjoyed – it’s incredible,’ Egerton told AFP. ‘It’s been the best experience of my life, and winning this is just such a lovely crystallization of all of that.’
The top films clearly resonated with the 90-odd members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), which doles out the prizes, but frontrunners in the acting categories also made their mark.
Joaquin Phoenix cemented his Oscar favorite status by winning the best drama actor prize for his radical turn in ‘Joker,’ a dark and controversial take on the comic book super-villain.
He thanked director Todd Phillips, saying: ‘You convinced me to do this movie and you encouraged me to give everything and to be sincere. And I’m such a pain in the ass.’
Like several A-listers, Phoenix also used his speech to address climate change and the Australian wildfires.
Renee Zellweger burnished her Oscar credentials with an expected win for biopic ‘Judy,’ portraying Judy Garland in her later years.
South Korean black comedy ‘Parasite’ bagged the award for best foreign language film, as widely expected, while Awkwafina became the first actress of Asian descent to win the best comedy actress prize for ‘The Farewell.’
Oscar nominations voting is already under way, but does not close until Tuesday – meaning the Globes results could be a factor.