The 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards overflowed with shocks, surprises, new faces, and enough bad language to send the censors into an early grave.
If prognosticators and Oscar tea leaf readers were looking to the Globes to help crystaliSe a wild and wooly awards season, then their hopes for clarity may have been frustrated. "The Martian," a science fiction thriller, was honored somewhat inexplicably in the comedy category, with even its director Ridley Scott expressing shock at the designation while picking up the best picture statue. Matt Damon was also recognised, earning a Best Actor in a Comedy statue for his work as an astronaut stranded on Mars.
But Scott, who was expected to be honored for his work helming the sci-fi epic was passed over in the directing category. Instead, Alejandro G. Inarritu,who last year lost out on the Globe before going on to win an Oscar for "Birdman," was called to the stage for his work overseeing "The Revenant."
The historical drama about a fur trapper determined to exact vengeance generated headlines for a punishing shoot that led to crew defections and budget overruns. Calling the film the most difficult of his career, Inarritu said, "pain is temporary but a film is forever."
There are some performers and films that will leave the Globes with momentum heading into the Oscars. Brie Larson and Leonardo DiCaprio helped cement their front-runner statuses picking up acting honours in a drama for their work in "Room" and "The Revenant."
Jennifer Lawrence, a previous winner for "Silver Linings Playbook," was recognised again for her work as the creator of the Miracle Mop in "Joy." The film is Lawrence's third collaboration with director David O. Russell -- an intense bond that the actress alluded to by confessing, "I want us to be buried next to each other."
Most award shows feature performers feigning surprise while accepting honors for the umpteenth time. In the case of the Globes, the astonishment seemed genuine. But that's the nature of the Golden Globes, which are seen as looser, sassier, and more inebriated than the stately Oscars, and given to some head-scratching decisions.
It was also an evening of comebacks. Calling himself the "sum total of everyone I've ever met," Sylvester Stallone earned a best supporting actor award for "Creed." Noting that four decades had passed since "Rocky" put him on the map, Stallone thanked his "imaginary friend" Rocky Balboa" for being "the best friend that I ever had."
If Stallone and Damon were heavily favored to make acceptance speeches, few saw most of the television winners coming. Amazon's "Mozart in the Jungle" prevailed over better-known shows such as HBO's "Veep" and Netflix's "Orange is the New Black" to score a Best Comedy Series statue.
On the drama front, HBO's "Game of Thrones" and Fox's "Empire" may command larger audiences, but proved no match for the hacker thriller "Mr. Robot" from USA. Executive producer Sam Esmail praised the decision, noting "that took a lot of courage."
And Christian Slater ("Mr. Robot") and Maura Tierney ("The Affair") were among the victors messing up betting pools, while the CW, USA and Amazon rivaled perennial awards juggernauts such as HBO and FX.
Even Kate Winslet was stunned that she managed to beat out the likes of Alicia Vikander and Helen Mirren to score a Best Supporting Actress statue for her work as Apple founder Steve Jobs' assistant in "Steve Jobs."
"Is this really happening!," Winslet exclaimed. "What an incredible year for women in film," the actress added. "I feel prouder than ever this year to be included."
While best screenplay winner Aaron Sorkin, the man who had penned "Steve Jobs," confessed "I thought I had as much chance of winning the screenplay award as I had of winning best actress in a musical."
Gael Garcia Bernal's win for his work as a conductor on "Mozart in the Jungle" was so unexpected that it spoiled a gag by fellow nominee Aziz Ansari ("Master of None"). When the contenders were announced, Ansari was shown holding a book entitled "How to Lose to Jeffrey Tambor with Dignity." The advice proved unnecessary as Tambor didn't win a second time.
Virtual unknown Rachel Bloom, the winner of Best Actress in a TV Comedy, for her work as an obsessive former flame in "Crazy Ex Girlfriend," admitted that two years ago her work was being shown on YouTube.
"We almost didn't have a show," she gasped, admitting that six networks passed on the pilot in one day.
While Lady Gaga, best known for her chart-topping music, was singled out for her work on "American Horror Story." In her speech, she noted that she felt like Cher in "Moonstruck," but, in a sign of changing times, on social media it was not her gracious words that went viral. It was a clip of a startled Leonardo DiCaprio responding to the singer brushing his back.
There were more conventional winners, to be sure. "Inside Out," the critically adored story of a young girl's warring emotions, scored a best animated feature award, and "Son of Saul," a Holocaust drama from Hungry, captured the best foreign film statue.
Among television honorees, best mini-series winner PBS' "Wolf Hall" and "Show Me a Hero's" Oscar Isaac's best actor for a limited series or TV movie nod were among the few early victors who were heavily favored. Jon Hamm added a Golden Globe to his trophy case for his final season playing an alcoholic ad man on "Mad Men."
Calling the seven season run an "incredible ride," Hamm thanked creator Matthew Weiner for not taking his suggestion to wrap up the show with music by "Tubthumping" songsters Chumbawamba.
True to his reputation, Gervais came armed with a shiv and targeting Hollywood's top stars. It took less than a minute for the host to poke fun at Sean Penn's interview with Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman at this year's telecast.
"I'm going to do this monologue and go into hiding," said Gervais. "Not even Sean Penn will find me."
Returning as emcee for the first time since 2012, Gervais greeted the celebrity filled ballroom at the Beverly Hilton with trademark irreverence, calling them, "You disgusting, pill popping, sexual deviant scum," and telling the audience that the awards were only handed out by "confused old journalists" who wanted to take selfies with stars.
Mel Gibson, the butt of jokes by Gervais over his anti-Semetic laced tirade over his 2006 arrest for drunk driving, commented on the awkwardness of having his picadillos dredged up and lampooned in front of a national audience.
"I love seeing Ricky once every three years because it reminds me to get a colonoscopy," said Gibson.
"The Office" creator stunned viewers with his three previous stints, poking fun at stars' histories of drinking or drug abuse, rumored homosexuality, and even the loose ethical standards of the organisation's voting body. And this edition was no different with Gervais, beer by his side, sending up everything from Caitlyn Jenner's gender transition to studios' penchant for intensely lobbying voting members for awards love (a joke about purchasing Globes that drew deep laughs from Harvey Weinstein).
A rowdy atmosphere prevailed throughout the show. Jonah Hill appearing in costume as the bear from "The Revenant," at one point, while Amy Schumer listed off a series of celebrity nicknames, in heavily bleeped bits that were censored to a nearly indecipherable extent. Meanwhile actors like Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling were greeted with fevered screeching in place of staid applause, and best actress in a TV drama defied the wrap up signal, shouting, "I've waited 20 years for this. You're going to wait."