By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com January 17 2011 1:00 PM ET
Comic entertainer Ricky Gervais made a memorable Golden Globes host last night, but some feel he went too far with jokes about closeted actors and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's accepting bribes in exchange for nominations.
While many were gratified that openly gay actors such as Chris Colfer and Jane Lynch were popular winners for their performances in Glee and films with LGBT content, such as The Kids Are All Right and Black Swan, won major awards, Gervais was definitely the most polarizing element of the awards show that is frequently referred to as "the party of the year."
Gervais made light of the controversial nominations for the widely panned film The Tourist and the implication that the HFPA, which presents the Globes, accepts gifts in exchange for nominations.“I’d like to quash this ridiculous rumor going around that the only reason The Tourist was nominated was so the HFPA could hang out with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. That is rubbish. That is not the only reason. They also accepted bribes.”
The Gervais crack that caused most gasps involved the overlooked gem I Love You Phillip Morris, which the host linked to closeted actors and the Church of Scientology. Gervais joked, "Also not nominated, I Love You Phillip Morris, with Ewan McGregor and Jim Carrey, two heterosexual actors pretending to be gay — the complete opposite of some famous Scientologists, then.” He quickly added, “My lawyers helped me with the wording of that joke.”
On her website Deadline, astute Hollywood insider Nicki Finke assessed the damage at the halfway point, writing, "It's official: the room has turned against Gervais. Which is why I'm liking him more and more as the night drags on. But trust me, tomorrow the phones at NBC and Dick Clark Prods will be ringing off the hook with angry agents and managers complaining how this was the meanest awards show in Hollywood history and explaining why their clients won't attend next year's Golden Globes because of it. Maybe that will convince the powers-that-be to clean up the most corrupt awards-giving group in Hollywood history. More likely, NBC and Dick Clark Prods will follow the path of least resistance and just fire Gervais and all the writers."
The question everyone in Hollywood is asking this morning is "Did Ricky Gervais go too far?"
Monday afternoon the HFPA released a statement to Entertainment Weekly that read:
“We loved the show. It was a lot of fun and obviously has a lot of people talking. When you hire a comedian like Ricky Gervais, one expects in your face, sometimes outrageous material. Certainly, in this case, he pushed the envelope and occasionally went too far. The HFPA would never condone some of his personal remarks. Overall, however, the show was among the best we’ve ever had and we were pleased.”
Watch his opening monologue below.