'The Social Network' and 'Black Swan' Win Golden Globes: The Good, the Bad, and the Puzzling

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The Social Network, The King's Speech's Colin Firth, and Black Swan's Natalie Portman were the big winners at Sunday's Golden Globe Awards, voted on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Given the Globes' unique separation of films into Comedy and Drama categories and a ... bold ... hosting stint by Ricky Gervais, what's good, bad, and puzzling about this year's ceremony and winners?

The Good:

The best part of the distinct Comedy and Drama categories was that both Natalie Portman and Annette Bening were victorious tonight. Bening got a Standing O for her win and then classed up the proceedings by giving Julianne Moore a much-deserved shout out for her underappreciated work in The Kids Are All Right in her acceptance speech. That the movie mercifully won the Best Comedy award shows that the HFPA hasn't gone completely off their rockers with that category.

A pair of wins for The Fighter's transcendent stars, Christian Bale and Melissa Leo, is hard to dispute; the two were brilliant in the film. Of all of the Globes that The Social Network picked up, perhaps most worthy was Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross's for the film's haunting, progressive, and perfectly moody score.

"There's got to be an easier way to get a standing ovation," was the show's best line, spoken by a newly cancer-free Michael Douglas after a moving round of applause. The always reliable Robert Downey, Jr. was the presenter of the night. Not only was his innuendo-laden introduction of the Best Actress-Comedy or Musical nominees the funniest bit of the ceremony, but his quick, sharp dig at Ricky Gervais's hosting was perfect. Speaking of...

The Bad:

Ricky Gervais's mean-spirited opening monologue was the worst kind of roast: unnecessary, mood-killing, and only occasionally funny. It also never ceases to be confusing why some of the best writers in the world produce such eternally trite and stilted banter for its presenters at these awards shows. It's no wonder actors like Social Network's Andrew Garfield fumble the scripted dialogue when it's so cumbersomely written. Whoever thought pairing Alec Baldwin and Jennifer Lopez for a bit on obscure movie songs was clever, or that having Matt Damon pretend not to have seen Robert DeNiro's movies was charming, was mistaken.

The night's winners were all fairly predictable and deserving, but with Dianne Warren's Best Original Song triumph, the phrase "Golden Globe-winning film, Burlesque" now exists.

The Puzzling:

The house band was quick with the play-off music at the beginning of the night, creating painfully uncomfortable moments when Christian Bale and the producer for Carlos were doling out their thanks. Why, then, the band allowed Al Pacino to ramble on (and on) was certainly puzzling. The increasingly absurd cutaways during Lee Unkrich's acceptance speech for Toy Story 3 was just plain odd: Helen Mirren, Jeremy Irons, Gabourey Sidibe, Zac Efron, and finally, a strange woman who was not a celebrity at all. For all the talk of the Globes being a star-obsessed organization, it was also slightly bizarre that we were forced to wait over an hour for the first glimpse at their highnesses Brangelina at the ceremony (who were certainly good sports after Gervais's brutal "jokes" at Angelina Jolie's expense at the top of the ceremony).

It's telling that the clip packages introducing the Best Comedy nominees garnered no laughs, which resurfaces the question as to why in the world the films were nominated in the first place. In fact, each of the clips from the nominated animated features were all significantly funnier than the dreary Best Comedy slate. Why not have nominated them in the category?

However, the night's most puzzling question: Why would Matt Damon do a Robert DeNiro impression when that was his Robert DeNiro impression?

Read The Atlantic's commentary on the Golden Globes' television awards.

Read the full list of Golden Globes winners.

Image credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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Kevin Fallon is a reporter for the Daily Beast. He's a former entertainment editor at TheWeek.com and former writer and producer for The Atlantic's entertainment channel.

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