Golden Globes' most memorable and controversial moments over the past 12 years

The blackout year, Ricky Gervais's first hosting stint and impassioned speeches by stars, here's what captivated viewers

From left, Ricky Gervais has been a regular host; Prince presented an award in 2015; Oprah Winfrey was praised for her 2018 speech. Getty Images
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Awards season begins with the Golden Globes on Tuesday. This year, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's controversial awards ceremony is marking its 80th anniversary with a televised show in Los Angeles.

Ahead of the 2023 ceremony, The National looks at the highs and lows of the Golden Globes in recent years.

2010 Golden Globes

It was a wet year at the 2010 Golden Globes and Ricky Gervais's first time as the host went down a storm, so much so that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has had him back a record five times, including for the 2020 ceremony.

67th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Host Ricky Gervais on stage during the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 17, 2010 -- Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank

TV-wise, Mad Men was named best drama and Glee best comedy; over on the big screen, Avatar and The Hangover dominated.

Stars at the ceremony clubbed together to raise money for the Haitian Relief Effort following the earthquake in January 2010; everyone from Quentin Tarantino to George Clooney and Drew Barrymore joined in.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 17: Actress Drew Barrymore signs the Chrysler 300 Eco Style car for Stars for a Cause during the 67th annual Golden Globe Awards held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 17, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California. This Chrysler 300 is one of seven in existence.   Michael Caulfield/Getty Images/AFP

2011 Golden Globes

After impressing, Gervais was back hosting for a second year in a row. He and Steve Carrell, the two Office bosses, played out a mock rivalry, much to the crowd's delight.

68th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: (l-r) Steve Carell, Ricky Gervais on stage during the 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 16, 2011  (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Gervais was a little more cut-throat with the famous crowd and not everyone knew how to take him.

When introducing Bruce Willis to the stage, the comedian said: "Please welcome Ashton Kutcher's dad, Bruce Willis,", which Willis looked less than happy about. It was a reference to the fact that, at the time, Kutcher was married to Willis's ex, Demi Moore. Now, nine years on, he is married to Mila Kunis, keep up, keep up.

The Social Network won best drama film in 2011 and The Kids Are All Right was named best comedy.

2012 Golden Globes

The 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards belonged to Meryl Streep. She became the most decorated Golden Globe actress by winning her seventh statuette for 2011's The Iron Lady. She has been nominated 32 times and has now won eight.

Actress Meryl Streep poses in the press room with the Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama award for "The Iron Lady" at the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 15, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California.   Kevin Winter/Getty Images/AFP

The Descendants and The Artist took home the major film awards; over on the small screen, it was a good night for Homeland and Modern Family.

2013 Golden Globes

Step aside Ricky Gervais, 2013 was Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's time to host. Highlights from the night included the comedy pair's incredible quips, a surprise appearance from former US president Bill Clinton and Adele winning the Best Original Song — Motion Picture for Skyfall.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 13: In this handout photo provided by NBCUniversal,  Actress Jodie Foster receives the Cecil B. Demille Award on stage during the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel International Ballroom on January 13, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

However, the real highlight of the night was Jodie Foster's honest and passionate speech about keeping her private life private when she won the Cecil B DeMille Award.

"Now apparently I'm told that every celebrity is to honour the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance and a primetime reality show," she said. "In the future people will look back and remember how beautiful it once was."

2014 Golden Globes

In 2014, Fey and Poehler were back and sent the biggest sting of the night Matt Damon's way.

"Matt, on any other night, in any other room, you would be a big deal. But tonight, and don't take this the wrong way, you're basically a garbage person," Poehler joked, provoking a laugh from Damon. He later joked: "It's me, the garbage man."

Matt Damon and his wife Luciana Barroso arrive on the red carpet for the Golden Globe awards on January 12, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California.    AFP PHOTO / Frederic J. BROWN (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP)

Winners in 2014 Breaking Bad and Brooklyn Nine-Nine on TV; in cinema 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle took home the main awards.

2015 Golden Globes

In 2015, Fey and Poehler were back once again ready to target the A-list audience.

"Welcome, you bunch of despicable, spoiled, minimally talented brats," Fey said as their opening monologue began.

But the best blow was served to George Clooney. The pair listed out the accomplishments of his wife, saying: "George Clooney married Amal Almuddin this year. Amal is a human rights lawyer who worked on the Enron case, was an adviser to Kofi Annan regarding Syria and was selected for a three-person UN commission investigating rules of war violations in the Gaza Strip. So tonight … her husband is getting a lifetime achievement award."

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 11:  In this handout photo provided by NBCUniversal, Presenter  Prince speaks onstage during the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

Another highlight had to be Prince's presence at the ceremony, on hand to present the award for Best Original Song to John Legend and Common for Glory from the film Selma.

2016 Golden Globes

In 2016, Gervais was back hosting. A fairly uneventful year, all told, but for many, the comedian was not at his best during the ceremony.

It was a year of predictable wins; The Revenant and The Martian took home the main film awards, as Leonardo DiCaprio won the best drama actor gong and director Alejandro Inarritu won best director for the former. Matt Damon also won best actor for a musical or comedy for his role in The Martian.

Brie Larson and Jennifer Lawrence won the best drama actress and best musical or comedy actress roles for Room and Joy, respectively.

Jon Hamm poses backstage with his award for Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series - Drama for his role in "Mad Men" at the 73rd Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California January 10, 2016.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

On TV, Rami Malek's Mr Robot won best drama series, Mozart in the Jungle was named best musical or comedy series and Jon Hamm took home his second (and last, to date) Golden Globe for his role as Don Draper in Mad Men.

2017 Golden Globes

Breaking from the Gervais, Fey and Poehler cycle, Jimmy Fallon was the presenter in 2017 and opened the show with a La La Land-style musical number.

It was the year that Donald Trump was president-elect in the US and Meryl Streep used her time on stage, receiving the Cecil B DeMille Award, to give a passionate speech about the media.

"We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage," she said on stage. "As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia said to me: 'Take your broken heart and turn it into art.'”

Naturally, Trump responded.

The show had a tribute to Carrie Fisher, referenced in Streep's speech. However, controversially, there was no "In Memorium" tribute, despite the deaths of Prince, Gene Wilder, Alan Rickman, Alan Thicke, Patty Duke and many more stars in the previous 12 months.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 08: Actors Sunny Pawar (L) and Dev Patel pose in the press room during the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.   Kevin Winter/Getty Images/AFP

The highlight of the night had to be adorable duo, Dev Patel and Sunny Pawar, the pair went on stage together to introduce their movie Lion as a contender for Best Drama Picture. Ultimately, the film lost to Moonlight.

2018 Golden Globes

2018 was the year of the Time's Up blackout, with almost all of the guests arriving at the ceremony in head-to-toe black attire, in support of the #MeToo movement.

Hosting duties were down to Seth Meyers, who referenced Hollywood's sexual assault allegations in his opening monologue.

"Good evening, ladies and remaining gentlemen," the Late Night host said to begin his monologue. He famously made a direct reference to Harvey Weinstein, saying: "Harvey Weinstein isn't here tonight. Because, well, I've heard rumours that he's crazy and difficult to work with. But don't worry, he'll be back in 20 years when he becomes the first person ever booed during the In Memoriam."

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 07: (Back L-R) Activist Tarana Burke, actor Michelle Williams, actor America Ferrera, actor Jessica Chastain, actor Amy Poehler, actor Meryl Streep, actor Kerry Washington (front, L-R) actor Natalie Portman, activist Ai-jen Poo, and activist Saru Jayaraman attend the 19th Annual Post-Golden Globes Party hosted by Warner Bros. Pictures and InStyle at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 7, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California.   Frazer Harrison/Getty Images/AFP

Oprah Winfrey used her time on stage, when receiving the Cecil B DeMille Award, to talk about injustices faced by women and minorities. By the end of her speech, Oprah 2020 was trending.

2019 Golden Globes

Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg successfully took over the hosting duties in 2019.

But the shock winner of the night was the Fiji Water woman, who was tasked with handing out bottles of water and seemingly photobombing every A-lister on the night. Jamie Lee Curtis was not impressed.

“I specifically moved away from the blatant promotions by Fiji and Moet where young women with their trays filled with their wares stood near a designated camera,” the American actress and author said. “I knew why there was a photographer poised there and I moved away as I said out loud that I didn’t want to be doing advertising for either.”

2020 Golden Globes

In 2020, Gervais returned as host for his fifth "and final" time.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was the big winner on the night, taking home Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy, Best Supporting Actor for Brad Pitt and Best Screenplay for Tarantino. 1917, Joker and Rocketman each won two awards and in television, Succession, Fleabag and Chernobyl took home two gongs apiece.

The awards were accused of whitewashing Hollywood, with a lack of diversity, something Gervais brought up in his opening monologue.

"Many talented people of colour were snubbed in major categories. Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do about that. Hollywood Foreign Press are all very racist," Gervais said. "We were going to do an In Memoriam this year, but when I saw the list of people who died, it wasn’t diverse enough. No, it was mostly white people and I thought, nah, not on my watch."

His monologue also referenced Hollywood hypocrisy and a number of controversial topics, including the death of Jeffrey Epstein and the college admissions scandal.

2021 Golden Globes

Delayed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 awards took place in late February.

Fey and Poehler returned as hosts with the ceremony taking place in two locations simultaneously. Fey presented from New York City, while Poehler was in Beverley Hills.

Jane Fonda and Norman Lear were announced as the recipients of the Cecil B DeMille Award and the Carol Burnett Award, respectively. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, and took home two awards each, while The Crown was the big television winner, with four awards, and Schitt's Creek and The Queen's Gambit won two awards each.

2022 Golden Globes

Snoop Dogg announcing the nominees for the 79th Golden Globe Awards. AFP

The 79th Golden Globe Awards was a ceremony like no other, held behind closed doors in support of boycotts of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, following calls to increase membership diversity within the organisation.

The nominees were announced by rapper Snoop Dogg and Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Helen Hoehne in December 2021, and the results were shared in a press release and on social media in January last year.

The Power of the Dog and Steven Spielberg's West Side Story won three awards each in film, and Succession won the most television awards, with three.

A version of this story was originally published on January 5, 2020