If you want to see A-list celebrities earnestly thanking their agents, you watch the Oscars. If you want to see the performance that launches a million Beyoncé GIFs, you watch the Emmys. If you want to see drunken movie stars doing completely ridiculous things while accepting trophies of dubious provenance, then you watch the Golden Globes.
It really is the Mariah Carey’s New Years Eve performance of awards shows: things could go horribly awry at any moment, they often do, and when they do you will never ever forget them. Blame it on the booze, blame it on the loose rules of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, blame it on Miss Golden Globe. This has always been, and will continue to be, the ceremony that we rubberneck hoping that there will be a NASCAR-like disaster. And so often we are rewarded.
Here is a comprehensive history of all the insane things that have happened in the ballroom of the Beverly Hilton on a Sunday night in January.
1958: The Globes started out as a boring ceremony where real journalists gave out the awards. That is, until Rat Pack members Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, and Dean Martin got blitzed and stormed the stage, injecting actual life into the affair. They were invited back as official hosts the following year, and the bawdy ceremony as we know it today was born.
1979: Accepting his Best Screenwriting award for Midnight Express, Oliver Stone railed against the United States's drug policy. The crowd reacted with violent boos, host Chevy Chase told him to leave the stage, and eventually he had to be ushered off by security guards. Guess he always believed in conspiracy theories.
1980: She wasn’t the first or the last to liken the Golden Globes to a pair of breasts, but Bette Midler sure did it the best while accepting her trophy for The Rose.
1982: The way the awards are given out by the HFPA is always a little dicey, but they were really called into question when Pia Zadora bested Kathleen Turner and Elizabeth McGovern to win Best New Star of the Year Female for her derided turn in the bomb Butterfly. It’s widely believed her rich boyfriend Meshulam Riklis bribed the judges. The category was discontinued after the following year.
1984: It’s not like the Twitter-obsessed Cher to be left speechless, but that’s just what happened when she won for Silkwood. She told the audience, “Look at my dress until I think of something.” But it wasn’t really a dress. She was wearing a jacket and blouse on top and a leather skirt and fish nets on the bottom. Cher is always best when doing Cher.
1990: There was nothing controversial about Julia Roberts winning for her juice-drinking role as Shelby in Steel Magnolias but the slouchy men’s suit she wore to the awards was what we would call a big mistake. Huge.
1998: Yes, Christine Lahti won while she was in the bathroom and had to rush up to accept her trophy. We all remember. But I’ll give you $100 if you remember what she won for. Nope, no Googling.
1998: It was an especially crazy year when Ving Rhames won for Don King: Only in America and invited fellow nominee Jack Lemmon up on stage and gave away his award to the legend. Don King never would have done that.
1999: Back in her wearing-a-vial-of-blood-around-her-neck days, Angelina Jolie said if she won for Gia she would jump in the pool at the Beverly Hilton hotel. She did just that after the ceremony, dragging an Access Hollywood correspondent in with her. Remember when Angelina Jolie was still fun?
1999: Jim Carey began his rise as a serious actor after winning for The Truman Show and making fun of his past filmography while taking the trophy. “It’s gonna be so hard to talk out of my ass after this,” he joked. Sadly his career didn’t always live up to the win, but he redeemed himself in 2016 by making fun of his two Golden Globe wins. If only there was a category for self-depreciation.
2001: Renee Zellweger also won while she was in the bathroom. She was shocked, and so was everyone who saw Nurse Betty.
2001: Almost as crazy as her photo with Michael Jackson at Liza Minnelli’s wedding was when Elizabeth Taylor presented the award for Best Drama. She was either confused or inebriated and didn’t know she had to read the nominees before the winner. Luckily Dick Clark, the show’s producer, came on stage and saved her, but even he couldn’t foresee the unhinged way she would pronounce the title of the winning film, Gladiator.
2003: Legendary Hollywood survivor Jack Nicholson was giving a bit of a rambling speech when taking the trophy for About Schmidt; it became immediately clear why when he confessed he had taken a Valium before the show. Never change, Jack.
2003: Maybe it was the Valium that kept Nicholson from telling former girlfriend Lara Flynn Boyle how ridiculous she looked when wearing a tutu on the red carpet, second only to Bjork’s swan dress on every Worst of the Red Carpet list.
2003: Wow, what a year. Sharon Stone, looking like a flapper who went through a paper shredder, wouldn’t leave Richard Gere alone after presenting his trophy for Chicago. Sharon, no one needs your advice, especially when dressed like that.
2006: The craziest thing to happen wasn’t at the ceremony itself but outside on the red carpet when E! fashion analyst Isaac Mizrahi looked down Teri Hatcher’s dress, asked Eva Longoria about her personal grooming habits, and capped off the night by grabbing Scarlett Johansson’s boob. Some things are off limits, even for a gay dude.
2007: When he won for Borat A Long Title I Don’t Feel Like Looking Up on IMDb, Sacha Baron Cohen revealed that while filming his mockumentary he saw some dark parts of America. “I refer of course to the anus and testicles of my costar Ken Davitian,” he said, then likening the actor's privates to “two wrinkled Golden Globes.” Bette Midler would be proud.
2008: The show is cancelled because of the Writer’s Guild of America strike. The winners were read in a boring hotel news conference. So, basically the same, minus all the drunk celebrities.
2009: Tina Fey used her Best Actress acceptance speech to directly confront some of the people who had said mean things about her on the internet. “Cougar Lover you can suck it,” she joked, not knowing that Cougar Lover was the Twitter handle of fellow nominee America Ferrera. Just kidding. It’s not.
2011: After wowing audiences with his “fearless” opening monologue the year before, the human embodiment of smugness Ricky Gervais bombed horribly. He managed to offend Charlie Sheen, Johnny Depp, the entire cast of Sex and the City, Hugh Hefner, and Mel Gibson. It’s one thing to be funny and mean, but Gervais forgot the funny part.
2011: Helena Bonham Carter solidified her reputation as the world’s kooky aunt by dressing in a pair of mismatched shoes and a dress that looks like a tablecloth being eaten by the alien from Aliens.
2012: Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is true: Amercia’s greatest living actress Meryl Streep is human. In fact, she forgot her glasses to accept her statue for The Iron Lady and said the word “shit” and had to be bleeped on national television. If Meryl Streep can’t be trusted, what are we going to do the next time Jennifer Lawrence wins?
2013: Accepting a lifetime achievement award, Jodie Foster gave a speech she admitted from the stage her publicist would hate. She confirmed that she has been living as a lesbian for most of her adult life while at the same time telling everyone it was none of their business. This is the first time someone has come out as a lesbian while also saying that they want to go both ways.
2013: Adding some levity to the night, hostesses with the mostestes Amy Poehler and Tina Fey posed as Darcy St. Fudge and Damian Francisco, nominees from a fictional movie called Dog President. I’d pay $15.50 to see that.
2014: Taking a trophy for the movie Dancing on the Edge, Jacqueline Bisset seemed to be going over the edge and couldn’t stick to the script. Eventually she shared her biggest Hollywood beauty tip: “If you want to look good, you have to forgive everyone. It’s the best beauty treatment,” she said. Thanks, but we’ll stick to chemical peels.
2014: Claiming that the red soles of her shows were stained with her blood, Emma Thompson arrived on stage to present an award with a martini in one hand and her heels in the other. How did she think she was going to get the envelope open?
2015: You’ve seen Chrissy Teigen’s weird crying face in your email, on your Twitter timeline, and any time someone needs just the right GIF for a cringing occasion. You may forget that it started at the Globes, in reaction to her husband John Legend winning an award.
2015: While presenting with famous butt-haver Jennifer Lopez, Jeremy Renner referred to her boobs as “Golden Globes." Bette Midler, or anyone else, did not find that amusing.
2015: During her opening monologue, Tina Fey listed off Amal Clooney’s accomplishments as a civil rights attorney and then openly questioned why her husband George would be getting a lifetime achievement award. This comes a few years after she said Gravity “is the story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age.” They’re like the Hulk Hogan and Randy Macho Man Savage of the Globes.
2016: Lady Gaga will never forgive Leonardo DiCaprio. He knows what he did.
Watch video interviews with the 2017 Golden Globes nominees here: