Thanks to a room full of A-listers, the excitement that comes with being the first glamorous awards show of the year and — let's be honest — its legendary open bar, the Golden Globes never fail to entertain. In honor of the 78th annual ceremony airing on Feb. 28, 2021, Wonderwall.com is looking back at the Globes' most memorable moments, from the best (and worst) fashion and on-stage antics to the most talked-about speeches and other assorted shenanigans, starting with the stars of the 2015 show: newlyweds George Clooney and Amal Clooney…
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From the time they arrived on the red carpet at the 2015 Golden Globes — he in his Armani wedding tux and she in a black Dior gown curiously paired with divisive, long white gloves — all eyes were on George Clooney and his bride, Amal Clooney. The newlyweds, who made their award show debut at the star-studded affair, were the subject of co-host Tina Fey's best joke of the night: "Amal is a human rights lawyer who worked on the Enron case, was an adviser to Kofi Annan regarding Syria and was selected for a three-person U.N. commission investigating rules of war violation in the Gaza Strip, so tonight her husband is getting a lifetime achievement award." And later, while accepting his award, George melted even the iciest hearts when he gave a special shout-out to Amal: "It's a humbling thing when you find someone to love — even better if you've been waiting your whole life," he said. "Amal, whatever alchemy it is that brought us together, I couldn't be more proud to be your husband." Aww!
At the 2019 Golden Globes, an unlikely new star emerged on the red carpet — a woman serving bottled water. She was instantly dubbed "the Fiji water girl" by Twitter, as she popped up in the background of dozens of celebrity red carpet photos making eye contact with the camera in an eye-catching blue dress. Among the stars she photobombed? Richard Madden, Idris Elba, Heidi Klum, Jeff Bridges, Dakota Fanning, Jim Carrey, Judy Greer and more. Her bold posing spawned a thousand memes, with fans placing her serving water in scenes from "Bird Box," "Pulp Fiction" and "The Wolf of Wall Street," to name a few.
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosted the Globes for three consecutive — and hilarious — years between 2012 and 2015, and pretty much every single moment they were onstage counted as must-see TV. Forget the acting and prizes part of the night, the comedy stars (and real-life BFFs) were reason enough to tune in.
"Really? Are you sure?" is what designer David Cardona remembers saying to Lara Flynn Boyle when she told him she wanted to "dress up like a ballerina" for the 2003 Golden Globes, he told Yahoo! Movies. But the actress insisted on it and when she hit the red carpet in his suede, silk tulle and Swarovski crystal-studded creation accessorized with petal-pink satin heels embellished with ribbons, the late fashion critic Joan Rivers declared, "You have guts."
Debra Messing caused quite a stir at the 2018 Golden Globes when she called out E! News for denying former network host Catt Sadler pay parity with male colleague Jason Kennedy. "I was so shocked to hear that E! doesn't believe in paying their female co-hosts the same as their male co-hosts," the "Will & Grace" star told E!'s Giuliana Rancic during the red carpet preshow. Her interview quickly went viral, with numerous re-tweets and social media posts praising Debra.
Jaws dropped when Jeremy Renner memorably commented on Jennifer Lopez's famous figure while co-presenting the award for best actor in a miniseries during the 2015 telecast. "I have the nails," the Zuhair Murad clad singer-actress said after the "Hurt Locker" star told her to open the envelope containing the winner's name, to which Jeremy fired back, "You've got the globes too!"
The dark teal Gucci gown — accented with a real peacock feather — that Nicole Kidman wore to the Golden Globes in 2005 is one of the most highly praised red carpet looks in the show's history.
Before Amy Poehler and Tina Fey took over in 2013, British comedian and writer Ricky Gervais hosted the Golden Globes for three years to mixed reactions. While some people loved his reign of biting, bold comedy and scathing jokes (Sample: "It's going to be a night of partying and heavy drinking, or as Charlie Sheen calls it, breakfast"), others thought he was just downright nasty as he took aim at Robert Downey Jr. and Mel Gibson's troubled pasts, introduced Bruce Willis as "Ashton Kutcher's dad" and even accused the people who put on the show — the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — of accepting bribes in exchange for nominations. Despite the drama, he hosted the show again in 2016 and even returned in 2020 to host.
Rosamund Pike wowed on the red carpet at the 2015 Golden Globe Awards in a strappy Vera Wang gown with midriff cutouts and an open back just five weeks after giving birth to her second son, Atom. As the world stared at her remarkable post-baby body, the "Gone Girl" actress told Ryan Seacrest during a pre-show chat that her baby boy was waiting for her in a room upstairs at the Beverly Hilton hotel, where the Golden Globes are held each year, and that she planned to make a pit stop "to go give him his lunch" between the red carpet and the awards ceremony. There's truly nothing like a mother's love!
Mariska Hargitay was shocked when she won the Golden Globe for best actress in a TV drama for her role in "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" in 2005, but once she stopped shaking, she delivered an emotionally fraught speech that paid tribute to her late mother, legendary Hollywood bombshell Jayne Mansfield, and dad Mickey Hargitay, a former bodybuilder. "Forty-nine years ago, my mother accepted an award, and my father was with her," Mariska said as her dad stood crying in the audience. "And I'm lucky enough tonight to have my father here with me." She went on to call him her "hero" before leaving the podium in tears.
Four months before her hit show "Friends" aired its last episode — and just one year before she and Brad Pitt would announce they'd ended their marriage — Jennifer Aniston hit a style high at the 2004 Golden Globes. We think the sexy, buckled, black vintage Valentino gown may very well be her best award show dress ever.
In 2012, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were still together and enjoyed a rare treat: Both were nominated for Golden Globes that year — she for best foreign language film for her first directorial effort, "In the Land of Blood and Honey," and he for his performance in "Moneyball." When they stepped onto the red carpet at the Beverly Hilton hotel dressed to the nines in Atelier Versace (for her) and Ferragamo (for him), the night immediately felt bigger and brighter, as if the king and queen of Hollywood had arrived. (Brad's cane also had the world buzzing: He revealed he'd slipped and injured a knee ligament while carrying daughter Vivienne weeks earlier.)
Catfight on the red carpet? Chrissy Metz was caught calling the "GLOW" star a "bi—" on a hot mic on the 2019 Golden Globes red carpet, People magazine reported. The slam went down when Chrissy was ending her interview on the Golden Globes Facebook Live pre-show. Chrissy reportedly was asked to help introduce Alison on the other side of the carpet, but when the camera then panned to Alison, the "This Is Us" star was heard saying, "She's such a bi—." (You can listen to audio here and decide for yourself.) It seemed likely Chrissy didn't realize her mic was still on, but she later took to Twitter to refute the claims. She wrote, "It's terribly unfortunate anyone would think much less run a story that was completely fabricated! I adore Alison and would never say a bad word about her, or anyone! I sure hope she knows my heart." That pre-show's host, AJ Gibson, later came to Chrissy's defense, telling Page Six in an email, "I was standing on stage with Chrissy and thought she called Alison a babe. Chrissy is one of the kindest women in Hollywood and is so supportive of other talented women. If she did happen to use the 'other' word, I promise it was 1,000 percent a joke." For her part, Alison took to Instagram to weigh in, writing, "Nothing but love for @chrissymetz!!" and sharing a photo of herself and the NBC actress. "Rumors can't keep us down!"
Natalie Portman inspired one of the most popular memes of 2011 with the awkward mid-speech laugh she unleashed after winning a Golden Globe for her performance in "Black Swan" at the 2011 ceremony. The actress, who was at the time pregnant with son Aleph, started guffawing mid-speech after sharing a not-very-funny anecdote about how her now-husband, choreographer Benjamin Millepied, wanted to sleep with her in real life, unlike the character he played in their movie. The A-listers in the room smiled politely but it was one of the more memorably cringe-worthy moments in recent Globes history.
New celebrity besties Amy Schumer and Jennifer Lawrence lit up social media when they took the stage together at the 2016 Golden Globes. The stars were on hand to introduce each other's films — both nominated that year — and used the time to ad lib a hilarious comedy bit.
When Scarlett Johansson arrived at the 2006 Golden Globes in a va-va-voom red Valentino gown, it was hard to take your eyes off her. Designer Isaac Mizrahi, who was working as a co-host on E!'s red carpet pre-show that night, was so impressed with — and curious about — ScarJo's built-in bra that he famously groped her breast on live television, a moment E! hosts Ryan Seacrest and Debbie Matenopoulos — and the world — were talking about for days.
Kate Hudson has built a reputation as one of the best-dressed stars at the Golden Globes over the years thanks to three fashion moments in particular: Her glittering gold 2002 Atelier Versace gown; the risky (at the time) boho-influenced strapless Valentino she wore in 2003; and the ultra-flattering black keyhole Alexander McQueen look she donned a decade later in 2013.
The 2008 Golden Globes were memorable because they didn't happen — at least not with the usual pomp and circumstance. The Writers Guild of America's members were on strike that year and often supported by the actors they wrote for, including Patrick Dempsey, so in a show of solidarity, the more than 70 stars nominated that year — members of the sympathetic Screen Actors Guild — did not cross picket lines to appear on the Globes telecast. Instead, winners were announced during a televised press conference.
Helena Bonham Carter really embraced her reputation as a whimsical, wacky dresser when she hit the red carpet at the 2011 Golden Globes wearing not only an eclectic multi-hued Vivienne Westwood gown, but two different colored shoes! The talked-about fashion moment, she later revealed, was totally intentional. "Why not wear mismatching shoes? Who says we can't? I was just having fun," she told People of her unique look that night. "For me, fashion is all about fantasy and putting unlikely things together. That's what I love. I genuinely love dressing up. I feel like breaking the mold and seeing that the world won't crumble."
During her speech to accept the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement at the Golden Globes in 2013, Jodie Foster used the spotlight to come out — sort of. She teased the audience by pretending to be nervous and saying, "I'm just going to put it out there loud and proud," then instead of following it up with the expected, "I'm gay!" she instead yelled, "I'm single," eliciting laughs. Jodie went on to make a point about how much she values her privacy while still acknowledging her sexual orientation: "I hope you won't be disappointed that there won't be a big coming-out speech tonight," she said. "I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago, back in the stone age. In those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends, and family, co-workers and then gradually, proudly, to everyone who knew her. To everyone she actually met. But now, apparently I'm told that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance and a primetime reality show."
The short canary-yellow Nina Ricci dress that Reese Witherspoon wore to the 2007 Golden Globes created such a stir that year, it even has its own Wikipedia entry! At the time, it was nicknamed the "Ryan who?" dress since Reese looked so good in it when she hit the red carpet at the Globes, her first public event since her split from husband Ryan Phillippe three months earlier. InStyle also named the frock — an unusual choice for a Golden Globes dress considering its cocktail length — one of the 100 best dresses of the decade.
Cookies for everyone! At the 2016 Golden Globes, Taraji P. Henson took home an award for best actress in a TV drama series for her work on "Empire." Fittingly, she opted to take cookies from her table — in honor of her famous character's name — and pass them out to fellow celebs on her way to the stage. Though the cookie-passing took up a lot of her acceptance speech time, Taraji was not going to listen to the show's producers. "Wrap up?" she asked. "I waited 20 years for this. You can wait." And wait the show did!
Could she have been any more adorable?! Drew Barrymore was just 7 when she got dolled up to attend the 1983 Golden Globes in support of her movie "E.T. the Extra Terrestrial," which walked away with the prizes for best dramatic film and best original score at that year's ceremony.
Emma Stone made the best-dressed list in a Lanvin jumpsuit during the 2015 Golden Globe Awards. Her surprising but oh-so-chic ensemble featured a metallic bodice and floor-length belt with an oversized bow in the back. Who said gowns are the be-all and end-all when it comes to award show style?!
Christine Lahti picked a terrible time to use the ladies room during the 1998 Golden Globes: The moment she was announced as the winner in the best actress in a TV drama series category for her work on "Chicago Hope." Presenter Michael J. Fox stalled for a bit and the late, great Robin Williams hopped on stage and did a little comedy routine until Christine re-entered the ballroom at the Beverly Hilton hotel. After she finally made it to the stage, she wiped her wet hands on a linen napkin someone had handed her as the audience roared then breathlessly explained, "I was just flushing the toilet and someone said, 'you won!' and I thought they were joking!"
This one's a classic: The late Sonny Bono wore a tux while then-wife Cher — clearly one of Hollywood's original risk-takers — showed off her slim figure in a crop top and fur coat ensemble at the Golden Globes in 1973, when their show "The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour" was nominated for best comedy series (they lost to "All In the Family").
"Grey's Anatomy" was named best TV drama at the 2007 Golden Globes, but former star Isaiah Washington (far left) put a damper on the celebratory mood when he used a gay slur while being asked about reports he'd used the same word to describe co-star T.R. Knight during a heated on-set argument the previous year. "No, I did not call T.R. a f—–," Washington told reporters backstage. "Never happened, never happened." (But it was later revealed he had indeed used the word previously at work and T.R. admitted the attention surrounding the speculation about his sexual orientation led him to come out publicly). Isaiah issued a heartfelt apology but was fired from the show a few months later and in 2013 said his life "just fell apart" after the Globes incident.
On her way to an EGOT? Lady Gaga took home the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie for her work on "American Horror Story: Hotel" in 2016. The star was shocked by the win and delivered a very emotional acceptance speech in which she noted, "I wanted to be an actress before I wanted to be a singer but music worked out first."
Natalie Portman expertly shaded the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — the group behind the Golden Globes — at the 2018 ceremony while presenting the nominees for best director. She made sure to point out that no women were nominated for the prize, saying "…and here are the all-male nominees." Her savagely perfect presentation was well-received by the audience and fans alike.
When the Golden Globes started back in 1944, prizes were handed out by the journalists. But in 1958, eager to liven up the show's first telecast, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin famously jumped on stage with cigarettes and drinks in hand and took over. Their boozy hijack was such a blast that they were asked to host the following year. As legend has it, the Rat Packers' shenanigans inspired the Globes' long tradition as the most alcohol- and comedy-fueled awards show of the season.
Michael Keaton's son, music producer and songwriter Sean Douglas, became an unexpected viral star after the 2015 Golden Globes after he received a special shout out from the "Birdman" actor during Michael's acceptance speech for the best actor in a musical or comedy award. "My best friend is kind, intelligent, funny, talented, considerate, thoughtful — did I say kind? He also happens to be my son, Sean," Keaton said through tears. "I love you with all my heart, buddy." The handsome 33-year-old musician is partially responsible for a wide range of hits, from Demi Lovato's "Heart Attack" and Madonna's "Ghosttown" to Jason Derulo's singles "Wiggle" and "Talk Dirty."
Olivia Wilde wowed in a tight sequined emerald green Gucci gown at the 2014 telecast, making her one of the best-dressed pregnant stars to ever grace a Golden Globes red carpet. She and fiance Jason Sudeikis welcomed son Otis three months later.
When Sandra Bullock won the best dramatic actress Golden Globe at the 2010 ceremony for her work in "The Blind Side," her heartfelt, emotional message to husband Jesse James during her speech made the world love the burly motorcycle man as much as she did. "There's no surprise that my work got better when I met you," she said while choking up, "because I never knew what it felt like for someone to have my back. Thank you." But three months later, In Touch magazine revealed Jesse didn't have her back at all: He'd been cheating on her with tattooed mistress Michelle "Bombshell" McGee, turning Sandra's sweet speech into a humiliating moment Entertainment Weekly later dubbed the Globes' "saddest shout-out."
Keira Knightley had fashion critics bugging out at the 2015 Golden Globes when she made a rare fashion misstep in a Chanel frock featuring butterfly appliqués, an oversized lace collar and a tiered skirt. The actress, who was pregnant with first child Edie Righton at the time, told Ryan Seacrest of her divisive dress, "Apparently it took 30 people to make this in a week." Sadly, the end result wasn't worth the effort!
Hearing-impaired actress Marlee Matlin gave her acceptance speech in sign language after winning a best dramatic actress Golden Globe for her role in "Children of a Lesser God" at the 1987 ceremony. "I can't believe it. I'm shaking!" she signed while the interpreter who joined her on stage translated for the audience. Despite her nerves, she still managed to make a joke: "I'm not much of a speaker," she signed, motioning to her interpreter, "he is!" Backstage, she flashed the sign for "I love you" for photographers.
Ving Rhames surprised and touched audiences when, after winning the Golden Globe for best actor in a TV miniseries for his starring performance in HBO's "Don King: Only In America" at the 1998 ceremony, he pulled fellow nominee Jack Lemmon on stage and gave his award away. "I feel that being an artist is about giving, and I'd like to give this to you, Mr. Jack Lemmon," Ving explained to a stunned Jack, who called it "one of the nicest, sweetest moments I've ever known in my life." A standing ovation ensued, but Ving refused Jack's attempts to give back the prize.
Elizabeth Taylor was accused of being (at worst) drunk or (at best) embarrassingly daffy during the 2001 Golden Globes when she got sloppy while presenting the prize for best movie drama. Within moments of taking the stage, the Hollywood legend had opened the envelope that revealed the winner, prompting producer Dick Clark to rush on stage to explain to her that "you must read the nominees first." Elizabeth followed his instructions then drew more laughs when she looked at the teleprompter and said, "And the winner is … and it's flashing 'envelope.'" (She finally got it and revealed the winner with a high-pitched squeal: '"Gladiator!'"
There wasn't a dry eye in the house when Oprah Winfrey accepted her Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2018 Golden Globes. The media mogul delivered a riveting speech that was truly the highlight of the evening. "I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon," she said. "And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say 'Me too' again."
Despite "A Star is Born" actress Lady Gaga being the favorite to win best actress in a drama at the 2019 Golden Globes, another star took the top honor. Glenn Close snagged the award in an upset, winning for her work in "The Wife," a film about a woman who questions her life choices after spending decades with a narcissistic husband. But it wasn't just Lady Gaga fans who were shocked to hear Glenn's name called — Glenn herself was stunned! She cried during her speech, which touched on her own family life. "I'm thinking of my mom who really sublimated herself to my father her whole life and in her 80s she said to me, 'I feel like I haven't accomplished anything,' and it was so not right," Glenn shared. "I feel what I've learned through this whole experience is women, we're nurturers, that's what's expected of us. We have our children and we have our husbands, if we're lucky enough, and our partners, whoever, but we have to find personal fulfillment. We have to follow our dreams. We have to say, 'I can do that and I should be allowed to do that.'" But don't be too sad for Lady Gaga! She took home a best original song Golden Globe for "Shallow" from her film's soundtrack.
When Meryl Streep accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award during the Golden Globes in 2017, she took time during her speech to slam Donald Trump and his administration — without even naming the newly elected president. She touched on the importance of cultural and ethnic diversity and immigration during her impassioned speech and called for the protection of the press and media. With tears in her eyes, Meryl ended her speech with a special tribute to her friend, the late actress Carrie Fisher. "As my friend, the dear, departed Princess Leia, said to me once, 'Take your broken heart and make it into art.' Thank you."
One of Oliver Stone's earliest controversial moments came as he won a Golden Globe for best screenplay in 1979 for his work on "Midnight Express." Upon taking the stage, Oliver (seen here in 1987 after he won a best director Globe for "Platoon") was booed by the audience as he ripped America's drug laws, claiming that "the U.S. is putting people in jail for being high." Security eventually escorted him from the stage. Could you even imagine that happening today?!
Acting phenom Viola Davis delivered two mesmerizing speeches at the Golden Globes in 2017. Her acceptance speech after winning the award for best supporting actress for her performance in "Fences" left the audience (and viewers at home) in tears. Later that evening, Viola presented Meryl Streep with the Cecil B. DeMille Award and shared personal stories about Meryl's influence on her life and career.
Ryan Gosling had us all in our feelings when he shouted out his longtime love, Eva Mendes, during his best actor acceptance speech at the 2017 Golden Globes. The "La La Land" actor thanked Eva, saying, "There is no time to thank everyone, but I just want to try and thank one person properly and say that while I was singing and dancing and playing piano and one of the best experiences I've ever had on a film, my lady was raising our daughter, pregnant with our second and trying to help her brother fight his battle with cancer." He went on to add, "If she couldn't, hadn't taken all of that on so that I could have this experience, it surely would be somebody else up here today. So sweetheart, thank you." Swoon!
James Franco had the audience in stitches when he invited Tommy Wiseau, the man James played in "The Disaster Artist," to join him onstage during his acceptance speech for the best performance by an actor in a musical or comedy prize at the 2018 Golden Globes. The friendly moment turned hilariously awkward when Tommy attempted to take the mic from James and make his own speech. Luckily, James played it off and made sure to thank Tommy as the pair exited the stage.
Michael Keaton accidentally continued a embarrassing trend during the 2017 Golden Globes, leading to the creation of trending hashtag #HiddenFences on Twitter. The "Birdman" star misspoke while presenting the best supporting actress in a motion picture category, calling Octavia Spencer's film "Hidden Fences," instead of its actual title, "Hidden Figures." The same mistake was made earlier that evening by NBC News correspondent Jenna Bush Hager during a red carpet interview with Pharrell Williams.
Hollywood legend Jack Nicholson surprised audiences while accepting his best actor in a drama award for "About Schmidt" during the 2003 Golden Globes. He made some unexpected revelations during his speech, saying that he was shocked about winning since he thought the film was a comedy. He went on to poke fun at his co-stars in the film before admitting he had taken some Valium that evening.
Actress Renee Zellweger almost missed her winning moment at the 2001 Golden Globe awards. When Hugh Grant announced that she had won the best actress in a musical or comedy award for "Nurse Betty," Renee was in the restroom taking lipstick off her teeth. The "Bridget Jones's Diary" actress eventually rushed on stage after Hugh began accepting the award on her behalf and explained her tardiness, much to the audience's amusement.
When Ryan Gosling beat Ryan Reynolds in the best actor in a musical or comedy category during the 2017 Golden Globes, Ryan found comfort in the arms of an unexpected star: Andrew Garfield. The "Deadpool" actor began making out with Andrew while Gosling walked up to the stage to accept his award, leading to laughs throughout the audience and at home.
Hollywood hunk overload! At the 2016 Golden Globes, fans were in for a treat when Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling hit the stage together. The heartthrobs were there to introduce their flick "The Big Short," but their on-stage banter stole the show.