The biggest stars in TV and film gathered in Beverly Hills in the hopes of kicking off the 2020 awards season with a highly coveted Golden Globe award, and notoriously controversial host Ricky Gervais wasted no time laying into the Hollywood elite vying for a big win.
Stars from films like “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Rocketman” and “The Irishman” as well as shows like "Big Little Lies," "The Crown" and "Barry" were in attendance but the comedian and host was undeterred by the many famous faces staring back at him.
He called out the many stars in the room for their relationship to large corporations like Apple, Amazon and Disney.
"Apple roared into the TV game with 'The Morning Show,' a superb drama about the importance of dignity and doing the right thing made by a company that runs sweatshops in China," he said." So you say you’re 'woke', but the companies you work for, Apple, Amazon, Disney... If ISIS had a streaming service you would be calling your agents."
Gervais then mocked the stars in attendance for their relation to the late sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein. Gervais declared that Epstein didn't kill himself, prompting groans from the crowd.
"Shut up, I know he’s your friend but I don’t care."
"You all look lovely all dolled up, you came here in your limos. I came here in a limo and the license plate was made by Felicity Huffman," he said to the crowd who cringed. "It’s her daughter I feel sorry for. That must be the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to her. And her dad was in 'Wild Hogs,' so..."
He also took a shot at Leonardo DiCaprio for his film "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" being three hours long.
"Leonardo DiCaprio attended the premiere and, by the end, his date was too old for him."
He added: "Even Prince Andrew is like, 'Come on Leo, mate. You’re nearly 50."
He also set his sights on director Martin Scorsese's comments about Marvel movies being like theme parks, joking that he doesn't understand why the director would be at a theme park.
"He's not big enough for any of the rides."
Gervais concluded his scathing monologue by warning the celebrities not to make any political or "woke" statements when accepting their awards.
"You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything," he declared. "You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg."
With that, the host quickly welcomed Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon to introduce the first win of the evening. Ramy Youssef won best actor in a TV comedy for his series “Ramy,” beating out fellow celebrities such as Michael Douglas, Bill Hader, Paul Rudd and Ben Platt. Next, Russell Crowe brought home the award for best performance by an actor in a limited series or motion picture made for television for "The Loudest Voice," but was unable to attend due to wildfires threatening his home in Australia.
HBO’s “Succession,” meanwhile, was the first series to win one of the more anticipated awards, best television drama, while the South Korean horror film "Parasite" kicked things off for the movies by winning best foreign language motion picture.
Kate McKinnon introduced the first of two special awards of the evening, honoring Ellen DeGeneres with the Carol Burnett Award for excellence in television. She spoke about the 61-year-old comedian’s struggle when she came out as a lesbian and how it risked her career in 1997 and helped contribute to attitudes about the LGBT community changing.
“Because brave people like Ellen jump into the fire to make them change,” McKinnon said through tears.
Ellen then took the stage to deliver a lengthy monologue filled with laughs and ended with a bit of heart as she explained that the power of television, to her, is having the ability to inspire people to do good in this world.
“I’m so grateful to be a part of it,” she concluded.
The next big accolade of the evening, best television series for a musical or comedy, went to Amazon Prime Video's breakout hit, "Fleabag," following a win for its creator and star, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, for best actress in a musical or comedy.
In her acceptance speech, she made sure to thank former President Barack Obama for putting the show on his list of top TV shows of the year.
Despite the host’s warning, Patricia Arquette couldn’t help but pontificate on the state of the United States in her acceptance speech after taking home the award for best performance by an actress in a supporting role.
“We're not going to look back on this night in the history books. We will see a country on the brink of war, the United States of America. A president tweeted out a threat,” she said.
The star added: “While I love my kids so much, I beg of us all to give them a better world. For our kids and their kids, we have to vote in 2020 and we have to beg and plead for everyone we know to vote in 2020.”
Charlize Theron took the stage next to follow McKinnon in awarding the second special accolade of the night, the Cecil B. DeMille award, to Tom Hanks.
The actor stood up and, after first mentioning he had a cold, got incredibly emotional thanking his wife and five kids. After taking a moment to collect himself, he launched into a lengthy monologue about what he’s learned throughout his career as an actor.
Soon after, things took a turn toward the political again when Michelle Williams accepted the award for best performance by an actress in a limited series. In a powerful memorized speech, she called on women to vote pro-choice in the upcoming election.
"Women 18 to 118, when it is time to vote, please do so in your own self-interest. It’s what men have been doing for years," she concluded. "Which is why the world looks so much like them. But don’t forget we are the largest voting body in this country, let’s make it look more like us."
As the night went on, the most highly anticipated awards started to roll in, starting with Taron Egerton beating Daniel Craig, Roman Griffin Davis, Leonardo DiCaprio and Eddie Murphy for best performance by an actor in a motion picture musical or comedy for his part in the Elton John biopic, “Rocketman.”
Awkwafina then beat out Cate Blanchett, Beanie Feldstein, Emma Thompson and Ana de Armas to win best actress in a motion picture musical or comedy for her role in "The Farewell," about a young woman in a Chinese family that is keeping their matriarch’s cancer a secret from her.
Will Ferrell and Pierce Brosnan took the stage next to reveal “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” as the best motion picture musical or comedy of the year after its director and writer, Quentin Tarantino, brought home the award for best screenplay earlier in the night.
Next, Joaquin Phoenix took home the award for best actor in a drama for his role as Arthur Fleck in “Joker.” In his acceptance speech, he made a note about Hollywood stars leading by example and not taking private jets if they can avoid it.
Renee Zellweger won the penultimate award, best actress in a motion picture drama, for her part as Judy Garland in “Judy” before the final award of the evening was announced.
Sandra Bullock closed out the evening by presenting the last award of the night, best motion picture drama, which went to “1917.” The WWI drama beat out “The Irishman,” “Joker,” “Marriage Story” and “The Two Popes.”