This might have been the biggest joke of the Golden Globes Sunday night, when Lady Gaga won for her performance in American Horror Story: Hotel ...over Kirsten Dunst's portrayal in Fargo (and Queen Latifah in Bessie, for that matter). Granted, I should reiterate here that Gaga pleasantly surprised me as the wicked Countess in what has become creator Ryan Murphy messiest pet project. I really do. But Kirsten Dunst's portrayal in Fargo was so functionally insane and brilliant that to lose to Gaga just seems...weird.
But like I always say, I love award show surprises (though I'm sure Dunst is decorating her house with Gaga voodoo dolls as we speak).
So instead of recounting the predictable winners of the evening (seriously, was anyone surprised that Leonardo DiCaprio won in a category that had no real competition?), let's talk about the wonderful surprises:
THE UNDER-PRAISED PERFORMANCES FROM WOMEN
Kate Winslet (Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Dramatic Film, Steve Jobs): Didn't I tell y'all months ago that Winslet had the most interesting performance in the movie? And folks just couldn't get past their tunnel vision of Michael Fassbender (understandable, but not for his performance in this film). I just never thought the Globes would actually agree with me. Mama, I made it.
Maura Tierney (Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, The Affair): Take note, show creators: nurture the female talent in the cast. In its previous season, The Affair was mostly about the perspectives told by lead actors Ruth Wilson and Dominic West. Supporting actors Maura Tierney and Joshua Jackson (who has yet to get his due), who play the spouses of the aforementioned, were really just peripheral talent--important but still a mystery. Flash forward to this season and Tierney has a fleshed-out character and has unveiled one of the best performances of her career.
THE AWESOME TALENT OF COLOR
Taraji P. Henson (Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series - Drama, Empire): Of course, I do feel a kind of way that mainstream media is finally paying attention to Henson now that she's playing a black woman ex-con after being in the business for 20 years...this is one of those characters that has been endlessly gif-able (read: a friendly pop culture magnet). Not to take away from Henson's performance, which is part scene-chewing and part low-key brilliance. Plus, anyone who was on the fence about her before has now been won over with her acceptance speech. And then there's this gift that keeps on giving:
Oscar Isaac (Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television, Show Me a Hero): I didn't see this mini-series, but Oscar Isaac (the beautiful Oscar Isaac) has finally impressed enough folks in Hollywood to start getting recognized. (I also want to add that this was the most diverse category in the entire list with two other men of color--David Oyelowo and Idris Elba--nominated).
Gael García Bernal (Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy, Mozart in the Jungle): This is another show I haven't seen yet (and I literally just heard about for the first time last week). But it's Gael, and he has been consistently ignored in Hollywood for years. Thanks for finally waking up, Hollywood Foreign Press.
Mr. Robot (Best Television Series - Drama, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television): Clearly, putting this on the lower end of my priority to-watch list was a fatal error in judgment. I still haven't gotten to it, but I am glad that the Globes are actually recognizing a genre series in categories that aren't exclusively made for genre, Still, shows like Jessica Jones and Daredevil, and Charlize's performance in Mad Max, haven't gotten their chance (though The Martian sure did break barriers in the musical/comedy category *raised eyebrow*). But this is a small but significant step for mankind.
Now let's see how the other award shows will surprise us.