With months of critics’ and regional awards preceding Oscar night, the ceremony can feel like a never-ending series of self-congratulatory montages. The guests look miserable, the hosts are sweating, and the ratings are dropping. But for lovers of the good old Oscars days, when the speeches were rambling and the montages were brief, we still have the Golden Globes. Like a beloved auntie who inevitably finds herself one drink too drunk at every family Christmas party, the Globes are perpetually sloshing their way to tomorrow morning’s hangover in style. Year in and year out, the night serves a reminder of how fun awards shows can be when everyone goes in with the understanding that all will be forgotten by tomorrow. If the seemingly endless onslaught of awards season has made the accumulation of said awards somewhat meaningless, then it’s only natural that the one awards show worth watching would be the one that never pretended to have any meaning in the first place.
Where the Oscars are respectably decided by thousands of industry professionals, Golden Globe winners are determined by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a body of just 90 entertainment journalists whose identities are mostly kept out of the public eye ... presumably so that no one can harass them for their dubious and delightful devotion to bad Kate Winslet movies. But more than anything, the Globes owe their particular messy charm to champagne and martinis: all the best of Hollywood’s booze and Hollywood’s boozers. Since 1944, it has been the one night each year when America’s corn-fed masses can peek in on the world’s biggest stars as they get completely sloshed, and the resultant spectacle is a woozy haze of inspiration and embarrassments.
The Golden Globes might not be the biggest awards show, it might not be the most prestigious, but it is, without question, the weirdest. Ahead of this weekend’s yearly bash, we’ve compiled some of the best bizarre Globes moments.
The Pia Zadora incident
Pia Zadora is hardly a household name in 2016, but in 1982 ... she was also not a household name. Which is why it came as such a shock when she beat out the likes of Kathleen Turner and Elizabeth McGovern as the New Star of the Year for her role in a poorly reviewed teen incest drama called Butterfly — no relation whatsoever to Mariah Carey. What emerged from the fallout was that Zadora’s billionaire husband had allegedly funded a massive awards campaign for Zadora that included flying HFPA members to his hotel in Vegas for a private screening of the film. As of 2015, Zadora still denies that her statue was purchased, but in a rare show of shame from the HFPA, the Globes discontinued the New Star of the Year category entirely after Zadoragate.
Colin Farrell promises his sniffle is due to a cold, not cocaine
When would you ever see an Oscar presenter bring up his former cocaine addiction on the way to presenting Best Foreign Film? Iconic.
Mickey Rourke thanks his dogs
The Globes don’t have technical categories like Best Cinematography, and unlike the Oscars, they tend to keep their montage tributes to a minimum. What is lost in cultural value is gained in airtime for meandering speeches like Jacqueline Bisset’s 2014 ramble that ended with her beauty recommendations, or this stunner from Mickey Rourke after he won Best Actor for The Wrestler. Heartfelt, true, weird, and inappropriately intimate, only to be interrupted by a celebrity shout-out, Rourke’s canine gratitude is the most perfectly Globes acceptance-speech moment. “I’d like to thank my dogs, the ones that are here and the ones that aren’t here anymore, because sometimes when a man’s alone, all you’ve got are your dogs. They meant the world to me. ... I’d also like to thank Bruce Springsteen.”
The Tourist is nominated as one of 2011’s Best Comedy Films
The Tourist was not a comedy, it was not one of 2010’s best movies in any genre, and it wasn’t really trying to be either. (The film was released in 2010 but was nominated in 2011.) But The Tourist stars Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, and by making nominees out of both the film and its stars, the HFPA wound up knocking out three birds with one stone, securing RSVPs for the ceremony from Depp, Jolie, and Jolie’s then-husband Brad Pitt, a trio of the world’s biggest movie stars.
Kate Winslet is nominated for her performance in Labor Day
When the Golden Globes love you, they love you forever, and there is arguably no one the Golden Globes love more than Kate Winslet. Defying all respectable logic, the Globes nominate from the heart, seemingly unbound by any measure of good taste or even self-interest, which is why if you are a Winslet-level Globes favorite, it doesn’t matter if you have just given birth and have no intention of even showing up to the ceremony, it doesn’t matter if you’ve avoided campaigning, and it doesn’t even matter if you’ve won an award in another category on the same night. The love of the HFPA will find a way. Kate Winslet getting a Best Actress in a Drama nomination for the warmed-up stalk of corn that is Jason Reitman’s 2013 flop Labor Day is hard proof that no matter how bad the movie, if Kate Winslet jumps, the HFPA jumps too.
Jodie Foster’s Cecil B. DeMille speech
Because the Golden Globes combine a sea of alcohol with the twin pressures of wandering cameras and surprise public speaking, sometimes the weirdness on display only becomes charming after a trial by intensely awkward fire. Visibly nervous to accept her Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, actress Jodie Foster read a prepared speech off a teleprompter, and the ensuing seven minutes were a riveting display of public vulnerability from a notoriously private celebrity. After opening with an uncomfortable gag about her age that didn’t quite land, Foster addressed her sexuality, coming out by way of declining to come out. She then paid tribute to her mother, who struggles with dementia, before ending with a promise to work more behind the camera and to pursue a life that wasn’t “so very lonely.” Unpacking Foster’s speech in real time was complicated enough, given the coded nature of her language, but the whole spectacle was compounded by the outsized reactions by the many celebrities in the room. Kate Hudson wiped away her tears, Anne Hathaway smiled unblinking through hers, Jamie Foxx’s mouth hung ajar, Jodie Foster’s personal friend Mel Gibson sent wolf whistles up from her family’s table to her place on the stage. Equal parts real and embarrassing, Foster’s speech was the Globes at their best and weirdest.
Honorable Mention for Perennial Weirdness:
Audience reaction shots
Speaking of cuts to the crowd, more than any other awards show, the Golden Globes have the art of the reaction shot down to a science. The Globes have given us Brendan Frazer’s spastic laugh, Chrissy Teigen’s grimace, Frances McDormand’s DGAF stare, Glenn Close’s ... well, whatever this was. Only at the Globes would the producers be brazen enough to train a camera on Taylor Swift after she lost Best Original Song to Adele in 2013, and only at the Globes would Leonardo DiCaprio be caught openly disdaining Lady Gaga.
The Golden Globes are our annual free-for-all, a reminder that even the most publicity trained and professionally handled among us are not immune to a good time.