Subdued Gervais leads monotonous Golden Globes

Ricky Gervais led an evening of celebrations last night for the 69th Golden Globe Awards, held at the Beverley Hilton, Los Angeles.

The British comedian returned to host the show for his third time; something of a surprise given the numerous complaints he received from celebrities he targeted last year.

However, this year’s awards saw a considerably more subdued Gervais, leaving many feeling let down after his audacious performance 12 months ago.

His attacks seemed more focused on the awards themselves which he claimed lacked the esteem of the Oscars, instead being to them, “what Kim Kardashian is to Kate Middleton – a bit louder, a bit trashier, a bit drunker.”

The overall result was a ceremony that lacked the excitement and controversial appeal that made last year so enjoyable. Instead, generally lacklustre and humdrum speeches which listed countless people that needed to be thanked made for a somewhat monotonous affair.

The awards themselves provided few surprises, with The Artist picking up best motion picture – comedy or musical, best score and best actor – comedy or musical for Jean Dujardin.

The Descendants also received notable recognition, being named best motion picture – drama and George Clooney being awarded best actor – drama.

The other major acting awards went to Meryl Streep for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in Iron Lady and Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn.

Singer Madonna was awarded best song for ‘Masterpiece’ which features in her directorial debut W.E.

Christopher Plummer won the best supporting actor award for Beginner’s and Octavia Spencer won best supporting actress for The Help.

The best director gong went to Martin Scorsese for Hugo, his first venture into the world of 3D and children’s cinema.

Best screenplay was awarded to Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris whilst Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn won best animation.

Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation continued its winning streak picking up the award for best foreign film.

Morgan Freeman was awarded the Cecil B. De Mille award, given by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for outstanding contributions in the world of entertainment.

Presented by dame Helen Mirren and the iconic Sidney Poitier, Freeman announced in his speech, “it has been said that if you do what you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. So for the past 45 years or so, I’ve never had to work. My passion has always been acting.”

Evidently moved by being handed the accolade by Poitier, he referred to him as his “guiding beacon in life,” proclaiming that in his household, it will not just be known as the Cecille B. De Mille award, but the, “Sidney Poitier award” as well.

With the awards season now in full swing, everyone is looking towards the Oscars which will take place next month. Last night’s winners provide interesting possibilities for the upcoming awards as the Oscars do not have separate categories for drama and comedy or musical. It therefore stands that both The Artist and The Descendants have considerable potential in landing the top prizes.

Taken from The Student, published online Mon Jan 16th 2012.

Stephen Merchant: Hello Ladies Review


Compared to his comedy other half Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant has generally kept himself away from the limelight, instead remaining in the background as a subsidiary to one of Britain’s highest attention seeking comics. Hello Ladies marks his debut performance in the world of stand up and illustrates a carefully calculated move that has clearly been in contention for some time. Finally venturing out of the wake of Gervais, Merchant opens his set with the amicably honest words: “finally I don’t have to share the money with ‘you-know-who’.”

Right from the get go Merchant makes it evident that he is just as comfortable on the stage as he is behind a camera or radio mic. His presence hints at an air of arrogance not too dissimilar to Gervais but one which suits him far better. As he casually plays with the idea that everyone knows who he is and of the numerous awards he has won, his inherent geeky nature and lack of concern for self-deprecation allows the audience to immediately warm to him.

As the set revolves around a general theme of his inability to find a wife, it becomes clear that being famous doesn’t automatically secure you a lifetime partner. From the troubles encountered when you are 6ft 7in and the average female is 5ft 4in, to tales of how his stingy disposition has left many a girl unimpressed, Merchant entertains through the comparisons that can be made between him and the average normal person.

For a first show, Hello Ladies is highly impressive and demonstrates that Merchant has a clear understanding of the structural form of stand up. With an excellent balance of material, he does well to keep the audience entertained for just about the whole duration of his set. Inevitably, a number of gags fall flat, but this is a minor factor in what is otherwise a terrific performance.

It is clear that the loveable Bristolian has made his mark in the stand up world, proving that he easily has what it takes to be among the best. We can only hope that this show isn’t his last.

Taken from The Student, published Tue Oct 18th 2011.