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The 5 best and 5 worst moments from the 2019 Golden Globes

The Oscars are always the most anticipated and revered player in the awards season race, but the Golden Globes are supposed to be the fun, unpredictable, and occasionally even edgy cousin to the Academy's annual ceremony, and 2019's entry certainly did not disappoint on that front. The hosts were unexpected and refreshing (if at times a little confusing), the acceptance speeches were full of jokes, anecdotes, and even censored moments, and the awards themselves were, if nothing else, definitely very unpredictable. Throughout the night we got an absolute shocker of a Best Actress win, not one but two surprising Best Picture nods, a Best Comedy TV award that was almost equally surprising, and plenty more as the trophies went out. Let's look back on the big night, and talk about the five best and five worst moments from 2019's Golden Globes ceremony. 

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Best: Sandra Oh's big night

Of the two 2019 Golden Globes co-hosts, SNL vet Andy Samberg was more seasoned, having had plenty of time to hone both his live comedy chops and his awards show hosting capabilities. That meant Sandra Oh was a little bit of a wild card going into the gig, but she delivered from the opening monologue and never really stopped. Oh was game for all the jokes the show had to offer, from the zingers of the opening minutes to the weirder material delivered later in the show, but she truly shined in a moment of sincerity offered at the end of the night's intro, in which she recognized the "moment of change" in the industry and told all of the diverse gathered faces in the crowd "I see you." Then, as if that weren't endearing enough, she captured everyone's hearts again when she won Best Actress in a TV Drama Series for Killing Eve, and thanked her parents — who were beaming in the audience — in Korean.

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Worst: Production missteps

Live TV broadcasts are always going to be a bit of crap shoot in some respect or another, and it's the job of the director and the production team to simply keep the train running as smoothly as they possibly can throughout the night. For the most part, the 2019 Globes ceremony ran smoothly, but the missteps were glaring. Most noticeably, there were the sound difficulties as the crowd in the ballroom seemed jarringly loud at the end of nearly every commercial break, forcing the hosts to talk over them. Then there were the awkward pans across the winners who weren't speaking while the person at the microphone was left off camera, the odd bits of censorship that seemed to go on a bit too long, and the decision to have certain presenters walk onstage to say almost nothing. None of these elements really ruined the show, but they were noticeable enough to cause some annoyance.

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Best: Spider-Man takes home Best Animated Feature

There was a time when the Best Animated Feature trophy at any awards show almost always went to the unstoppable juggernaut that is Pixar Animation, and while Pixar is still producing great films (this year's showcase was Incredibles 2), it's always nice to see another contender emerge and remind us all that there are other great voices in the world of animation. It was particularly rewarding when this year's winner turned out to be Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, a film that's both a great work of animation and a great reminder that superhero films can still deliver something fresh to audiences of all ages. The film has been widely praised by both fans and critics for its animation style, charm, and inspirational message, but it's always hard to tell if that's going to truly translate to awards gold. After its Globes win, Into the Spider-Verse became the front-runner for the Best Animated Feature Oscar, and it's hard to think of another film that's more deserving.

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Worst: The winner is...The Kominsky Method?

The Golden Globes are often seen as a warm-up act for the Oscar in terms of their film awards, but they're also always a chance for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to be a bit whimsical with its choices and pick the unexpected. That tone was set early and often throughout the night, often in baffling ways, and in the TV category it took the form of Netflix's The Kominsky Method winning Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy. The HFPA likes to award freshman series, and Chuck Lorre's comedy about an aging acting coach certainly fits that bill, but it's simply never been as talked about or as critically lauded as the other comedies on the nominees list — all but one of which (NBC's excellent The Good Place) was also a fresh new comedy worthy of the trophy. The Good Place was the veteran of the group, and also easily one of the most inventive network comedies we've seen in ages. The Kominsky Method wasn't necessarily a safe pick, but it's also not as interesting a choice as the HFPA seemed to think.

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Best: Regina King stops the music

The slow swelling of orchestral music to play off a winner who just won't stop talking is a tried and true awards show tradition. Sometimes it's warranted (we'll get to that later), but sometimes it just needs to go away — like when the great Regina King stepped up to claim her Best Supporting Actress award for If Beale Street Could Talk, and after thanking everyone she needed to thank, decided to say a little more. King started by addressing the common criticism that celebrities are too self-important when they talk about various causes during awards shows, and addressed that criticism by noting that she and others feel a responsibility to use their platforms for something positive. To that end, as the orchestra music dropped off after it proved unable to silence her, King promised that every project she produces over the next two years will feature "50 percent women." It was a powerful moment with real follow-through, and the music couldn't stop it.

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Worst: The flu shot gag

It's sometimes tough to tell exactly which tone awards hosts are going to set, particularly if the hosts are a duo who aren't already known for working together. This was the case for Oh and Samberg, and as they took the stage it became clear that much of their comedic style for the night would be built around setting something up and then subverting it with a whimsical or even just plain odd payoff. This reached its apex midway through, when Oh and Samberg announced that they'd concocted a bit to give away free stuff to show that celebrities can be real people even amid the glamour of awards shows. The free stuff in question? Flu shots. An army of people in lab coats then came out wielding syringes, and apart from one clear joke about anti-vaxxers, not much about the bit landed. Perhaps it would have been funnier if Samberg and Oh had donned the lab coats and leaped into the crowd themselves? Whatever the case, it was a well-intentioned but ultimately limp gag.

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Best: Carol Burnett is still the queen

Lifetime achievement awards aren't exactly rare, but getting a brand-new award that's just been named after you? That's a particularly special honor, and one that the great Carol Burnett was given when she was presented with the inaugural Carol Burnett Award for a lifetime of achievement in television (the Cecil B. DeMille award handed out at the Globes every year already covers life achievement in film). Presented with the award by Steve Carell (who made it very clear that he worships Burnett), Burnett was charming as always, crossing her fingers backstage in mock anticipation, thanking God for "reruns and YouTube" as she mused about how her show could never be made today, and thanking everyone who made her lifelong TV dreams come true before signing off with her signature ear tug. It was a touching, funny, and warm moment, just as it was always destined to be.

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Worst: Green Book's win goes on too long

Green Book is a crowd-pleasing film about two guys who, despite their differences, find a way to become friends. It's also based on a true story, which is something awards shows tend to enjoy. All that said, it's a relatively straightforward exercise in filmmaking amidst more daring and inventive choices like Vice and The Favourite, and it's generated plenty of controversy since its release, so it was a bit surprising when the film took home the Best Picture – Musical or Comedy trophy. That win alone left plenty of critics and viewers a bit perplexed, but what really soured the moment was director Peter Farrelly's long-winded acceptance speech. After shouting repeatedly for the music to be turned off (Regina King simply ignored it and made her point), Farrelly went on to deliver a lengthy monologue about the film's message, which basically boiled down to "If everyone could just be nice to each other, there would be no more racism." It's an even more simplified version of the film's message, and while the intention was perhaps good, the speech itself left a sour taste.

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Best: Glenn Close's speech of the night

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama seemed practically gift-wrapped for Lady Gaga when the night began. Her biggest competition for the acting awards — Olivia Colman, who won for The Favourite — was over in the Musical or Comedy category for the night, so it seemed like Gaga's turn in A Star Is Born would earn her the Globe. Glenn Close's face when her name was called told the entire story of shock and delight, and even after Gaga personally congratulated her on her way to the stage, Close was still a bit shaken as she began her speech. She mustered her characteristic grace to comment on how her film, The Wife, perhaps took more than a decade to get made because of its title, then turned to her own mother, who admitted to her that she'd often felt like she lived in the shadow of her own husband.

"Women, we're nurturers, that's what's expected of us," said Close. "We have our children. We have our husbands if we're lucky enough, and our partners, whoever. But we have to find personal fulfillment!"

The audience rose to its feet, and Close clinched the speech of the night as well as the Best Actress award.

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Worst: Bohemian Rhapsody's uneasy victory

Bohemian Rhapsody is not a bad movie, though it was the least critically lauded of any of the films up for Best Motion Picture – Drama at the 2019 Globes. Like Green Book, it's a crowd-pleaser, the story of a beloved rock star (though it's often fuzzy on the facts) packed with the celebrated music of Queen. That said, aside from Rami Malek's Globe-winning performance as Freddie Mercury, the film is rather formulaic and safe, and it was also not without controversy thanks to the firing of its credited director, Bryan Singer. Singer, an accused sexual predator, was not mentioned in either of the film's big acceptance speeches, which created plenty of awkwardness, particularly when the film really did win Best Motion Picture – Drama, beating out more interesting choices like BlacKkKKlansman, If Beale Street Could Talk, and the still relatively safe and crowd-pleasing A Star Is Born. It was a baffling moment for many, made all the more uncomfortable by Singer's lingering presence. Sure, no one mentioned him, but if you tell someone "don't think of an elephant," you know exactly what they'll think of.