Golden Globes TV Review: Host Jimmy Fallon Flounders On Dull Awards Show


If anything was needed to prove that the hosting gig of the Golden Globes should permanently belong to either the acerbic Ricky Gervais or the mocking Tina Fey and Amy Poehler or someone in that vein, Jimmy Fallon’s floundering fronting of tonight’s ceremony sealed that deal.


In the first major awards show since Donald Trump was elected President, the Tonight Show host made it clear this is not a job for nice guys as the NBC broadcast started off tepid and politically tame and got colder and weaker fast – at least from Fallon himself. Maybe it was the fear of a scathing tweet from the President-elect himself, but Fallon, who has had the ex-Celebrity Apprentice host on his late night show a number of times, stayed far off the political field and opted for bad hip-hop parodies.  With remarks throughout the 3-hour show and a strident speech by Meryl Streep, it was left up to winners and presenters to remind America that Hillary Clinton-leaning Hollywood knew there had been an election last year – and that their candidate lost.

All in all, Fallon’s performance tonight and a decidedly dull show has made Jimmy Kimmel’s debut as the host of Oscars next month all the easier a hurdle to jump for the 2016 Emmy frontman.

Now, from the day Fallon’s inaugural hosting of the self-congratulatory HFPA shindig was announced, it was always a concern that the former SNLer did not have the bite required for the job. The past Primetime Emmy Awards host took little opportunity Sunday to counter that point of view as the Globes gathered the saccharine taste of a less lubricated awards show – almost from beginning to a too-long-in-coming end.

Not that Fallon was helped by the cold opening energetic red carpet star studded dance routine and musical homage to La La Land that quickly lost its appeal if you haven’t seen the Damien Chazelle-directed movie – even though it was a record breaking winner tonight. The teleprompter going down when Fallon hit the stage at the Beverly Hills Hilton, a trio of middling Trump directed quips and a Jeff Bezos shout out might have been the best indications of what type of softball show we were going to get tonight. Or maybe a hapless Al Roker best predicted the limp tone of the show. Earlier in the day, the Today weatherman seemingly forgot Mel Gibson’s entire directing career while on the red carpet with The Passion of The Christ helmer. An embarrassment that even the onstage verbal stumble of Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara of “anal” and “annual” couldn’t top.

The ratings result could be made all the harder for Fallon by the fact that the NFL Wild Card game on Fox almost stepped a toe into primetime on the East Coast. Then again, the additional fact that the Green Bay Packers wiped the field with the New York Giants 38-13 may have seen viewers clicking over to what was a real competition of sorts on NBC – even if Jon Hamm titled it a “beard parade.”

The Crown backstage at Golden Globes

Unlike the Giants, it was a good night for La La Land, The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Atlanta and The Crown with big wins in their categories plus Moonlight taking the Best Motion Picture – Drama award. With awards for Hugh Laurie, Olivia Colman and Tom Hiddleston in their acting categories, The Night Manager was an unexpected victor on a night when a lot of the favorites were winners.

With Trump’s “performance” to winning the election her primary topic of choice, Streep served up more political commentary in her 5-minutes onstage accepting the Cecil B DeMille award than the rest of the Globes had all night – which, regardless of what side of the political spectrum you are on, was remarkable on an awards show coming so soon after one of the most remarkable races for the White House in recent history.

Surprisingly, the richest moments of this year’s Golden Globes didn’t come from the host but a few of the winners and at least two sets of presenters. Teamed together in the Despicable Me films, Steve Carell and a deadpanning but devastatingly funny Kristen Wiig killed it in their intro to presenting the Best Animated movie. Like Fey and Poehler, the comedy vets certainly had chemistry galore and were a great study in contrasts – which may be enough to make them hosts next year if the HFPA and dick clark productions can’t convince Gervais or the 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation stars to return.

It goes without saying, that an equally hilarious Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn played their presenting of the Best Performance by an Actor in a motion picture, musical or comedy for every laugh and more – and would make strong hosts too with both exhibiting their equally strong raunchy and delightful skills to the room and watchers at home

Or if Carell and Wiig and Schumer and Hawn decline the offer, the HFPA could turn to Hugh Laurie, who won the Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a series, limited series or motion picture made for TV. The Nigh Manager actor effortlessly slayed the crowd and the GOP with his victory speech cutting aside about the conservative dominated Republicans finding even the word “association” a bit “sketchy”

With an unexpected Aaron Taylor-Johnson win for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role – Motion Picture for Nocturnal Animals right at the beginning and a touching speech by Billy Bob Thornton in his Best Actor TV Series – Drama award for Goliath, the 90+ members of the HFPA took that unconventional approach they are known for in part tonight at the beginning of the night before hitting a stride of foreseen wins. Though the win by Elle’s Isabelle Huppert in the Best Actress Motion Picture category surprised many.

Yet, even as the night mainly played out to a beat many envisioned, there were some glimpses through the too slick façade. Though widely expected, the best Musical or Comedy TV Series win by FX’s Atlanta saw creator and star Donald Glover brought genuine enthusiasm to the stage – something the way too cautious Jimmy Fallon just couldn’t seem to find tonight.

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