Most Shocking Golden Globes Moments In History

by : Cameron Frew on : 28 Feb 2021 17:38
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Mel Gibson, Valium, sugar t*ts: let’s look back at the most shocking Golden Globes moments in history.

As Ricky Gervais once said, the Golden Globes are just like the Oscars, ‘without all that esteem.’ It’s the rowdier, unruly, drunken sibling of the Academy Awards, conducted by the inexplicable Hollywood Foreign Press. Gary Oldman once dubbed the Hollywood Foreign Press a group of ’90 nobodies having a w*nk.’


Still, it’s a core chapter of awards season every year, with its fair share of surprising moments; some awkward, some emotional, some hilarious. Ahead of tonight’s ceremony, we’ve taken a stroll down the red carpets of evenings past.

Ving Rhames gives award to Jack Lemmon

Let’s start with something wholesome. In 1998, Rhames won Best Actor in a TV Movie for his role in Don King: Only in America. When the emotional star took to the stage, he spoke of loving the art in yourself, rather than yourself in the art, before calling Lemmon on stage to give him the award instead.


Brad Pitt thanks anti-diarrhoea medication

After winning Best Supporting Actor for 12 Monkeys in 1996, Pitt took a moment during his acceptance speech to say: ‘I’d like to thank… actually, the makers of Kaopectate. They’ve done a great service for their fellow man.’ It turns out he has a bit of a nervous tummy. After the show, he said: ‘I’ll be expecting those calls from Kaopectate any minute now.’

Elizabeth Taylor’s wacky presenting 


At the 2001 Golden Globes, Taylor was tasked with the biggest prize of the evening: Best Motion Picture Drama. However, she nearly gave away the reveal as soon as she walked on stage and ripped open the envelope. Fortunately, Dick Clark reminded her to read the nominees before shouting: ‘Gladiator!’

Jeremy Renner and Jennifer Lopez’s ‘Globes’ 


Billy Bob Thornton won Best Actor in a Mini-Series at the 2015 ceremony. Shortly after a playful quibble about who would open the envelope, Lopez said she had the nails to do it. Renner replied: ‘Yeah, get after it… you got the Globes, too,’ referring to her breasts. While some criticised the joke, the actress appears laugh it off, and Renner later urged people: ‘A reminder not to take this sh*t so serious.’

Natalie Portman on Best Directors 

Coming after Oprah Winfrey’s speech about the #MeToo movement, Portman and Ron Howard took to the stage to present the Best Director award. That year, Guillermo del Toro emerged victorious. But before he got his moment to shine, Portman cuttingly said: ‘Here are the all-male nominees.’


Seth Meyers’ opening monologue on Harvey Weinstein and more

Some opening monologues are lousy, others are ruthless. Meyers pulled no punches in 2018. ‘It’s time to address the elephant not in the room: Harvey Weinstein. But don’t worry, he’ll be back in 20 years when he becomes the first person ever booed during the In Memoriam.’ It’s one of the best speeches to come out of the Golden Globes.

Jack Nicholson and his About Schmidt Valium

Nicholson is a bit of a wildcard, always has been. Upon accepting his 2003 award for About Schmidt, he first complimented Nicole Kidman for ‘looking lovely with her old nose.’ He continued: ‘I don’t know whether to be happy or ashamed because I thought we made a comedy… Dermot Mulroney, his haircut alone should have let you know it was a comedy.’ The actor then revealed: ‘I took a Valium tonight.’

Jodie Foster’s incredible ‘coming out’ speech 

Foster won the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award in 2013. Taking to the stage, she said: ‘I guess I have a sudden urge to say something that I’ve never really been able to air in public… but I’m just going to put it out there, right? Loud and proud, right? So I’m going to need your support on this. I am single.’

Ricky Gervais and The Office win 

In 2004, the original UK version of The Office won the Golden Globe for Best Comedy Series, considered somewhat of an upset at the time, beating Sex and the City and Arrested Development. Taking to the stage for the first time before his hosting stints, Gervais said: ‘I’m not from these parts. I’m from a little place called England. We used to run the world before you.’

Ricky Gervais and Mel Gibson’s ‘sugar t*ts’

Having taken aim at Gibson in an earlier ceremony, Gervais had to introduce the Lethal Weapon star again in 2016. ‘I want to say something nice about Mel before he comes out so… I’d rather have a drink with him in his hotel room tonight than with Bill Cosby,’ he first said. After coming to the stage, the comedian returned to ask him in front of the entire audience, referencing his comment to an officer who arrested him for drink-driving: ‘What the f*ck does sugar t*ts even mean?’

Any opening monologue from Amy Poehler and Tina Fey

Similarly to Gervais, Poehler and Fey are recurring hosts at the Golden Globes. While not as nastily acerbic as their counterpart, the pair always playfully and incisively take aim at their Hollywood peers, with big laughs every single time.

For example, talking about George Clooney’s wife Amal Alamuddin, they said she’s a ‘human rights lawyer who worked on the Enron case, an adviser to Kofi Annan on Syria and was appointed to a three-person commission investigating rules of war violations in the Gaza strip. So tonight her husband is getting a lifetime achievement award’.

Any opening monologue from Ricky Gervais 

For some, he’s an abhorrent host, mining celebrities for tasteless, brutal laughs. For others, Gervais is a comedian who makes jokes at the elite’s expense because… well, who else is going to? He’s hosted the ceremony five times in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2016, and 2020. He’s said he’ll never return, but so did Fey and Poehler, and they’re back this year.

Across his opening monologues and little jabs, he’s called James Corden a ‘fat p*ssy’, said Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself, alleged that the actors would work for a streaming service if it’d been started by ISIS and lampooned pretty much everyone, whether it’s Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tim Allen or scientologists.

The 78th Golden Globes begin at 1.00am GMT on March 1. 

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Featured, Film and TV, Golden Globes, Ricky Gervais