The 77th Golden Globe Awards opened with a typically hostile and self-righteous Ricky Gervais essentially ordering the room to have a sense of humor about themselves and roll with his (remarkably tame) punches about diversity in Hollywood and Jeffrey Epstein, but it soon became clear that the real fun was going to be had with the night's winners. Three shows dominated over half of the television categories, with the biggest, the British comedy Fleabag, taking the honors for Best Actress in a Comedy and Best Comedy Series. Both awards were accepted by star and creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who could not have been a more ready-made star for the Golden Globes.
It's just too bad the Emmys got to her first.
In one of the strangest (yet most encouraging) awards-season narratives in recent memory, Fleabag found itself first embraced by the historically stuffier Emmy Awards back in September, winning everything from Outstanding Comedy to awards for Actress, Writing, and Directing. It was a dominating showing for a small British show whose edgy, often dark comedic view of love and family and self-destruction felt several steps beyond the kinds of comedies the Emmys have always voted for as winners. Frankly, Fleabag felt far more like a Golden Globes kind of winner: something new and flashy, with the potential to launch a major new star. By a quirk of the calendar, the Emmys got to Fleabag first, leaving some to wonder if the Golden Globes would seek out something even newer when it came time for them to vote.
Turns out, Fleabag is such a Globes-y show that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association went for it despite the Emmys getting there first. Phoebe Waller Bridge took to the stage twice, the second time remembering to thank Barack Obama for putting their show on his year-end list, "because he's always been on mine." Only at the Golden Globes will the award winners blatantly hit on the former President of the United States! Oddly, the one Globe that Fleabag didn't win was one many expected them to: Andrew Scott, the so-called "Hot Priest" in Season 2, was up for Supporting Actor but got beat out by Chernobyl's Stellan Skarsgard.
It was a great night for Chernobyl overall, winning for Skarsgard — whose acceptance speech included a nod to the man who applies his eyebrows — and the Best Limited Series award, besting the likes of Fosse/Verdon, The Loudest Voice, and Unbelievable. Though the true victory of the evening was presenter Tiffany Haddish announcing Chernobyl's win like Chernobyl was the club and it was on and poppin'.
The night's third big TV winner was Succession, and unlike with Fleabag, this time the calendar cooperated and the Globes got to be the ones coronating Succession first. The HBO series won Best Drama, and star Brian Cox won Best Actor, delivering a gracious speech and participating in one of the night's more random trends: tinted sunglasses. Along with Cox, Patricia Aquette's win for Supporting Actress in Hulu's The Act also featured indoor shades.
HBO was the big winner of the night, for the second time in three years. 2018 was all Big Little Lies, but this time it was Succession and Chernobyl that won the evening. Hulu and Amazon took home two awards apiece, Hulu winning perhaps the evening's most surprising award, given to Ramy Youssef as Best Actor in a Comedy for Ramy. Youssef's speech was charming and self-effacing ("Look, I know you guys haven't seen my show…") and will hopefully give the second season a boost in visibility.
Netflix had a rather rough night all around, with only one win in the TV section — Olivia Colman winning her third Globe in three nominations for stepping into the role of Queen Elizabeth II on The Crown. The real bad news came in the film section, though, where a towering 17 nominations for their imposing slate of awards-season films resulted in only one win, Laura Dern for Best Supporting Actress in Marriage Story.
The evening's best speech may well have belonged to Michelle Williams, who took the opportunity of her victory in Best Actress in a Limited Series for Fosse/Verdon to give a poised but urgent speech on the necessity for women's reproductive rights, calling for women to take to the ballot box this fall and vote in their own interests.
All in all, it was a night of small moments over revolutionary victories on the TV side, but it extended the Fleabag victory lap for one more evening, which on its own was greatly worthwhile.
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Joe Reid is the Managing Editor at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.