The Golden Globe Awards slogan for 2014 was “Let’s get this party started.”
It turns out that for several of the attendees it was a surprise party, as shocked winner after shocked winner took to the stage at the Beverly Hilton literally — and usually briefly — speechless.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association spread the wealth among the nominated films, TV shows, and actors for its Golden Globe Awards, seen as a bellwether for the Oscars by some awards show prognosticators.
“American Hustle” was the night’s biggest winner on the film side, scoring three awards, including best comedy film, best comedy film actress for Amy Adams, and best supporting actress for Jennifer Lawrence, who set the night’s flabbergasted tone when she noted her nerves during her acceptance speech, jokingly admonishing the HFPA, “Don’t ever do this again, this is scary!”
“Dallas Buyers Club” took a pair of awards, for best actor in a film drama Matthew McConaughey, and best supporting actor Jared Leto, while the critically acclaimed “12 Years a Slave” took the trophy for best drama.
All the other winners in the film categories were singular, from Leonardo DiCaprio copping the best actor in a film comedy trophy for Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” to Cate Blanchett winning best actress in a film drama for Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine.” Allen was lauded with the Cecil B. DeMille Award but did not attend. Frequent Allen leading lady Diane Keaton accepted on his behalf, ending her speech by singing a snippet of the Girl Scout song “Make New Friends” in tribute to the director.
While some wins on the TV side were expected, including Bryan Cranston’s for his role in “Breaking Bad,” which took the trophy for best TV drama, and the victories for HBO’s Liberace biopic “Behind the Candelabra” and Michael Douglas’s portrayal of the famous pianist in it, the HFPA also decided to make a few new friends.
New Fox comedy “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” took the top honors in the TV comedy or musical category, and its star Andy Samberg won best comedy actor. His former “Saturday Night Live” costar and the show’s cohost Amy Poehler nabbed the award for best actress in a comedy for “Parks and Recreation.”
The most stunned winner may have been Jacqueline Bisset, who was rewarded for her supporting work in the Starz miniseries “Dancing on the Edge.” The veteran actress, who noted she was nominated by the HFPA for “most promising” young star over four decades ago, needed a few moments to collect herself. But once she got rolling she kept going, talking over the music intended to play her off, eventually ending with some advice: “If you want to look good you’ve got to forgive everybody. It’s the best beauty treatment.”
In the film music awards, the members of U2 and producer Brian Burton, a.k.a. Danger Mouse, took the trophy for best song for “Ordinary Love” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.” Frontman Bono spoke of the South African leader’s impact and how personal the song was to them, saying that Mandela “turned our life upside down, right side up, a man who refused to hate, not because he didn’t have rage or anger but [because] he thought love would do a better job.”
Poehler and Tina Fey aced their second outing as cohosts of a show famous for its loose vibe, thanks to free-flowing booze and an intimate setting.
The “Saturday Night Live” alums and good buddies set the night’s irreverent tone with a monologue that poked fun at many of the stars in the ballroom, as well as the HFPA itself.
The pair noted their return and Fey cracked that this was because in Hollywood “if something kinda works they’ll just keep doing it until everyone hates it.” The room didn’t appear to be hating it, however, as they drew big laughs for good-natured teasing of everyone from Joaquin Phoenix to Meryl Streep, McConaughey, and themselves.
Talking about the high-wattage star power in the room — with the likes of Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, and Streep in attendance — Poehler teased fellow Bostonian Matt Damon. “Matt, on any other night in any other room you’d be a big deal, but tonight, don’t take this the wrong way, you’re a basically a garbage person.”
Damon picked up the joke when he came out to introduce a film clip and couldn’t read the prompter, saying, “It’s me, the garbageman — who didn’t bring his glasses. Fantastic.”
Poehler also got in a funny shout-out to her alma mater, joking that the Showtime drama “Masters of Sex” was the degree she got from Boston College.
Fey got the monologue’s biggest laugh with a zinger about “Gravity,” which she called a film about “how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age.”
Unfortunately, the pair returned only briefly throughout the night. But Poehler did manage to wedge in another good bit. When her name was called as a nominee she was seen sitting on Bono’s lap getting a neck rub, and when she won she gave him a big smooch.
Sarah Rodman can be reached at email@example.com.