As is often the case with these curious awards, tonight's Golden Globes were a peculiar mixed bag. In a movie awards season stocked with a few sure-things-Cate Blanchett and Jared Leto are pretty much guaranteed to sail through the rest of the season at this point-surprise winners like Leonardo DiCaprio and Matthew McConaughey were able to sneak in and shake things up a bit. But then 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle won Best Picture trophies, as they were expected to, and the night started to seem predictable again. But on the TV side, things were far stranger.
Who knew foreign people love Brooklyn Nine-Nine so much? Well, 80 or so foreign people anyway. Fox's charming but decidedly low-key police squad comedy has been a modest hit for the network, and has the cool-kid comedy cachet of Andy Samberg, Chelsea Peretti, Mike Schur, Dan Goor, and a slew of alt-y writers. But it hasn't stood out the way its rivals like HBO's ultra-hip Girls, NBC's adored Parks & Recreation, CBS's mondo hit The Big Bang Theory, and ABC's only-slightly-less-mondo hit Modern Family certainly have. So it was a surprise to see the show pick up not only a trophy for Samberg, but for Best Comedy too. That's a huge vote of confidence for the series. Granted, this is a small voting body of foreign press people, but the Golden Globes do still carry some weight. I'm sure Fox will try to ride this win as far as they can in the hopes of getting an Office-style second season surge.
And then there was the big win for the night's co-host Amy Poehler, a perpetual Emmys and Golden Globes (and SAGs) also-ran for her wonderful, effervescent work on Parks & Recreation. Her win tonight wasn't so much of a surprise as a relief. Poehler was overdue, and this might be one of the last chances the HFPA gets to reward her good work.
See more: The Golden Globes' Best Dressed of 2014
Over on the drama side, things were a bit more expected. Breaking Bad took a pair of victory laps for its final season, with Bryan Cranston winning Best Actor and the show nabbing Best Drama. Though, hey, there was a very pleasant surprise in Robin Wright's win for House of Cards. Her costar Kevin Spacey, who has the flashier role, gets most of the press, but her quiet, steely performance as a shrewd, strings-pulling politician's wife and lobbyist is the cold, glittering heart (if you can call it a heart) of the series. So it was nice to see her pick up a trophy, and to get an endearing, off-the-cuff speech from an actress who tends to steer clear of the public eye. It was also a treat to see Elisabeth Moss win for the miniseries Top of the Lake. That New Zealand-set mystery/memory play about gender was probably not going to win in the bigger overall TV movie/miniseries category, so Moss's win was at least a good representative nod to what was one of the more beguiling pieces of television last year.
As a show, this year's Golden Globes were a swift and chipper affair, with returning hosts Amy Poehler and Tina Fey genially emceeing while tossing a few sharp bons mots into the mix with perfect, devil-may-care timing. Especially funny was a joke about George Clooney's proclivity for younger women, which was delivered with the perfect balance of sincere, exasperated scolding and good-natured teasing. Though the true comedy highlight of the evening was Jacqueline Bisset's loopy acceptance speech for best supporting actress in a miniseries, which went from uncomfortably long moments of silence to oblivious rambling through several exit music cues. Not being someone who's been at the awards season party recently, Bisset showed admirable disregard for the current conventions of the form. Screw the play-off music! She was going to talk for as long as she damn well pleased. Frankly it would have been fun to see Bisset charmingly, oddly prattle on even longer, further consternating the producers and directors and giving everyone at home, and in the audience, more to laugh and gape at. But alas she eventually left the stage, and the show moved on.
What followed was quickly paced-the show ended at 10:59!-and without much controversy. Which is pretty much how the Golden Globes, long known as the "fun" awards, should be. Tomorrow we'll have some deeper thinking about what this all means for the Oscars-awards seasons is far from over, friends-but that's what we saw tonight. Congrats to all the winners. And Ms. Bisset? Give us a call and keep on talking whenever you want.