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Golden Globes: 11 Secrets From Inside the Ballroom

Variety logo Variety 1/9/2017 Ramin Setoodeh
© Provided by Variety

On TV, the 74th annual Golden Globes played like a never-ending valentine to “La La Land,” which landed seven awards — more than any other film in history. But inside the Beverly Hills ballroom, the three-hour dinner was more like a party on a cruise ship, with drinking, smoking, and lots of selfies. Here are 11 secrets from inside the Golden Globes.

1. How Jimmy Fallon lost the room

The momentum was on the “Tonight Show” host’s side — for all of five minutes. The pre-recorded introduction, which had Fallon belting his own version of a “La La Land” song, kicked off the evening on a high note. But the problem was, Fallon lost the room as soon as he went live and not just because his teleprompter failed. Presiding over the first major Hollywood gathering since Donald Trump’s election as president, Fallon’s political jokes were too soft. The laughter during the monologue was more muted than it had been during the Tina Fey and Amy Poehler years.

2. Why wasn’t anybody eating?

The reason some winners can sound a little tipsy at the Globes is that dinner — a choice between grilled filet mignon or sea bass — is served at 3 p.m., before most of the stars have arrived at their table. Without any food on the table, there’s always the option of sneaking out to the back bar during commercials, which is where many of the attendees camp out during slower parts of the night.

3. Best in show

As guests entered inside the ballroom, they were greeted by a four-legged friend: Bingo, a bomb-sniffing gray lab. He didn’t bark once, but he got petted a lot.

4. Day drinking  

Yes, booze is served on the red carpet, but Sylvester Stallone was one the only celebrity who arrived inside the ballroom still carrying his champagne.

5. The last ones in

At seven minutes before show time, an announcer begged: “Please find your seats!” The door closed promptly at 5 p.m., and the last celebrities to make it inside before the room went dark were Mel Gibson, Casey Affleck, and Tom Hiddleston.

6. The award for nicest celebrity goes to…

After winning best actor in a TV drama for “Goliath,” Billy Bob Thornton graciously took pictures with fans on the outdoor smoking balcony, as he held his new trophy.

7. The celebrity who didn’t wear socks with his tux…

“Hell or High Water” star Chris Pine proudly displayed his bare ankles, as he spent most of the evening hanging out at the bar.

8. Other bar regulars?

Before the show had even started, Joel Edgerton (“Loving”) toasted Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley on the patio. By 6 p.m., Chris Hemsworth was waiting in line for a cocktail. “This Is Us” stars Milo Ventimiglia and Justin Hartley ordered a round of drinks together mid-ceremony. After losing best song for “Trolls,” Justin Timberlake headed straight to the bar, where he hung out with Pharrell Williams, while his wife Jessica Biel chatted with other well-wishers.

9. Meryl Streep’s speech was a tearjerker

The most electrically charged moment of the night came courtesy of Meryl Streep. As the montage of all her best performances played, the room applauded the loudest during “The Devil Wears Prada.” Then, after an enthusiastic standing ovation, Streep took the stage where she delivered a speech targeted to Trump (although she never mentioned the president-elect by name). As she closed with a quote from her friend Carrie Fisher (“Take your broken heart, make it into art”), everybody in the room was in tears. Even Laverne Cox, who was watching at a viewing party, admitted later to Variety that she shed tears.

10. Best presenters

Once again, the Golden Globes outshined the Oscars when it came to their presenters. Brad Pitt made a rare public appearance after his divorce to introduce “Moonlight,” a movie that he produced. Stallone and Carl Weathers staged a surprise “Rocky” reunion. Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn had great chemistry — a good sign for their upcoming movie “Snatch.” And Kristen Wiig and Steve Carell drew the biggest chuckles of the night.

11. Party time

As the show ended, all the A-list stars fled for the Warner Bros./InStyle party. Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively greeted friends. Andrew Garfield, who is prepping for a London stage revival of “Angels in America” (“I’m really excited,” he said), gave a big hug to his pal Eddie Redmayne. Tracee Ellis Ross, celebrating her win for best actress in a TV comedy for “Black-ish,” asked a photographer to snap a shot of her with Viola Davis. Even Jon Feltheimer, the CEO of Lionsgate, was among the first through the door, instead of hosting his own party. “We’re too cheap,” he confessed with a smile. “That’s how we can make movies like ‘La La Land.’”

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