Ricky Gervais is unlikely to be invited back as Golden Globes host after he mocked the organisers and insulted Hollywood celebrities.
His critics included Robert Downey Jr, who told the audience: “Aside from the fact that it’s been hugely mean-spirited with mildly sinister undertones, I’d say the show’s going pretty good so far, wouldn’t you?”
Referring to the film I Love You Phillip Morris, Gervais said it was about “two heterosexual actors pretending to be gay – so the complete opposite of some famous Scientologists, then.”
He also poked fun at The Tourist, the flop film starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp – both of whom were in the audience and smiled gamely.
Explaining that it had been a big year for 3D movies, Gervais quipped: “It seems like everything this year was three-dimensional except the characters in The Tourist.”
There were jokes about Charlie Sheen: “It’s going to be a night of partying and heavy drinking. Or as Charlie calls it: breakfast.” He introduced Bruce Willis as “Ashton Kutcher’s dad.”
But Gervais perhaps took a risk too far when he mocked the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the 90-strong group of international film critics who choose the Golden Globe winners.
“I’d like to quash this ridiculous rumour going around that the only reason The Tourist was nominated was so the Hollywood Foreign Press could hang out with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. That is rubbish. That is not the only reason. They also accepted bribes,” he said.
US television critics were divided over Gervais’s performance, with some applauding him for shaking up the awards show and providing laughs.
However, the Los Angeles Times noted that “a visible contingent in the glitzy crowd was palpably discomfited by the British comic’s full-frontal joke assault, which set a corrosive tone for this year’s ceremony.”