Cut to the inside of the International Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Actors practice their "I'm totally laughing for real and not at all upset" faces as host Ricky Gervais comes out in a red velvet evening jacket.
He takes a swig of his beer. "So, where was I?" "Nervous? Don't be, this isn't about you," he tells the room.
"Tonight you get Britain's biggest comedian hosting America's second-biggest awards show on America's third biggest network," he says.
"For those of you who don't know, the Golden Globes are like the Oscars, except without all that esteem. The Golden Globes are to the Oscars what Kim Kardashian is to Kate Middleton, but a bit louder, a bit trashier and more easily bought."
Ricky mentions Eddie Murphy passing on the Oscars. "When the man who said yes to 'Norbit', says no to you, you know you're in trouble."
Eddie Murphy loves dressing up. A bit of trivia: "Eddie Murphy and Adam Sandler played all the parts in 'The Help'."
Ricky's been warned if he insults anyone or offends anyone, he'll definitely be invited back next year.
They gave him a few rules:
"No profanity, that's fine, I've got a huge vocabulary," he says. And don't mention anything about Mel Gibson, and especially not Jodie Foster's "Beaver." (That joke was told with a lower case "b".)
"I'm speaking for a lot of guys here, they haven't seen it either, but that doesn't mean it's not any good."
He loved "Bridesmaids", with it's pooping, farting and sex acts they spent a weekend with Dame Helen Mirren for research.
He introduces the first presenter, a man who he insulted last year and whose career has fallen so far since then, he was forced to work with Ricky on his HBO show, premiering soon. Ladies and gentlemen, Johnny Depp, who will literally wear anything Tim Burton tells him.
Johnny gives a flat introduction for one of the Best Motion Picture (drama) nominees "Hugo".
Next out, Gerard Butler and Mila Kunis to present Best Supporting Actor. (Gerard stumbles through his joke: the Globes are the only award show where the only thing worse than not hearing your name called as the winner, is hearing your name said by the host. Eh.)
The winner is: Christopher Plummer for "Beginners".
"What a wonderful welcome back from the home of King Kong, Rin Tin Tin and all our youthful fantasies," Plummer says. He salutes and apologizes to his fellow nominees and acknowledges his co-star Ewan McGregor, the "scene-stealing swine" and Cosmo the Dog. To his wife Elaine, whose "beauty and bravery haunts me still."
Ashton Kutcher and Elle McPherson are out for Best Actress in a TV Series (comedy or musical). The winner is: Laura Dern for "Enlightened".
And we have our first upset of the night. She thanks the room, etc.
Rob Lowe and Julianne Moore come out hand-in-hand to introduce Miss Golden Globe, and the teleprompter stalls. Someone hands Julianne Moore an actual paper script and she introduces Andie McDowell's daughter.
"Great cold reading. When was the last time you did a cold reading in front of Steven Spielberg?" Lowe ad libs.
On to Best miniseries. Everyone marks off the sure thing from their office pool. "Downton Abbey" wins.
Julian Fellows accepts. "How fabulous this is! The whole Downton adventure has been an exciting one, like spotting a promising child and finding out they've won the Olympics," he says, then gets to the thanking.
The teleprompter is working again as Julianne Moore introduces Best Actress in a Miniseries. The winner is: Kate Winslet for "Mildred Pierce."
Her seat is so far back that she's out of breath when she gets to the stage to thank her director and praises it as a team effort. She gets played off the stage as she's thanking her children.
Frida Pinto comes out to introduces "Midnight in Paris".
Jeremy Irons escorts the President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Aida Takla-O'Reilly. (She's much shorter than him and a tiny bit unsteady, which must be why he patronizingly puts his arm around her as she talks.)
Then Jake Gyllenhaal to present "My Week with Marilyn".
Ricky Gervais comes out and scolds the audience for making them run five minutes late. "You don't need to thank members of your family who had absolutely nothing to do with this," he says.
Instead, he suggests people thank the "main two": their agents and God. "Because in my opinion I know for a fact that both god and my agent had exactly the same amount of input in my career."
He introduces a presenter who made her mark by "defecating in a sink," which is "still less demeaning than what most of you have done to make it in show business."
Melissa McCarthy (the aforementioned pooper from "Bridesmaids") and Paula Patton are up to introduces best actor in a drama. Patton pronounces "Breaking Bad" Bryan Cranston's name "Crass-tun" and she's super mega excited to introduce the winner: Kelsey Grammer from "Boss."
"Ah well, this is very nice," he says, thanking Chris Albrecht for his "balls" and insight in ordering eight episodes without a pilot. He thanks his wife Kate for "the future, and what a magnificent year it's been."
Paula Patton introduces Best TV Series Drama. She's either really nervous or on muscle relaxers.
The winner is: "Homeland."
They have a table in the way back and we get to hear some of the show's cool jazz as they make their way to the stage.
Both producers get a word in, thanking off-screen folks.
Jimmy Fallon and Adam Levine (both stars of NBC shows, hmm) come out. Jimmy does a bit on Levine's "Moves like Jagger" song, asking which moves of his he likes - the point, or the rooster. We miss the first bit of impression because the camera is focused on an un-entertained George Clooney in the audience.
They present Best Original Score - Motion Picture.
The winner is Ludovic Bource for "The Artist".
He takes out notes. "I'm sorry, I'm French," he says. If he were to write a song for this moment, it would be a tap dance number.
Then Best Original Song - Motion Picture. (Fun fact: Glenn Close wrote the lyrics for the nominated song from her film "Albert Nobbs".)
The winner is "Masterpiece" from "W.E." by Madonna.
"Hi, this is a surprise. Um. Um. I'm not French, I have no excuse," she says, collecting her thoughts before thanking her cowriters and being sure to use "whom" instead of "who" in thanking everyone. She thanks Harvey Weinstein, "the Punisher, that's his nickname."
An "international film star" from Turkey comes out and says it's an honor to be there and wishes peace everywhere. Sorry, we've got no context.
They're doing this new thing going into commercial breaks where after the announcer mentions the sponsors, we see bits of the famous people mingling. Look! There's Brad Pitt! And he's talking to someone! Oooh!
Next, Katherine McPhee and Debra Messing from "Smash" to introduce Best Actor in a Miniseries. (Fun Fact: former "Wire" costars Idris Elba, aka Stringer Bell, and Dominic West, aka Detective McNulty, are nominated against each other and are both British.)
Idris Elba wins for "Luther". He thanks his loyal fans and the show's writer and folks at BBC. He appears to be wearing Converse.
Brad Pitt comes out to introduce "The Ides of March", directed by his pal George Clooney.
Next, a smoking hot Kate Beckinsale comes out with Seth Rogen, who comments on his co-presenter. "Hello, I am Seth Rogen and I am currently trying to conceal a massive erection."
Ricky Gervais has competition for the biggest laugh of the night.
They introduce Best Actress in movie. The camera shows "Carnage" nominee Jodie Foster, whose two young sons unfortunately just heard the erection joke.
Rogen calls "My Week with Marilyn" a "hilarious comedy." Michelle Williams wins for her portrayal of Marilyn.
"I consider myself a mother first and an actress second, so the person I want to thank most is my daughter, my little girl, whose exuberance and bravery is an example I take with me in my work," she says.
She apologizes to her for six months of bed time stories where all the princesses were read in a Marilyn Monroe voice.
Sarah Michelle Gellar and Piper Perabo compete for biggest poof princess dress in announcing the nominees for Best Supporting Actor in a series or miniseries.
When they read nominee Eric Stonestreet's name from "Modern Family" and cut to him, his costar Jesse Tyler Ferguson holds up a tiny sign that says "whatever."
Peter Dinklage wins for "Game of Thrones." He says he was talking to his mother on the phone in Jersey before he came and she told him to "have fun, but have you seen Guy Pearce in 'Mildred Pierce'? He's so good, he's going to win."
"I just love our moms, because they keep us humble."
He closes by mentioning "a gentleman I'm thinking about in England, his name is Martin Henderson. Google him."
(He's a little person who was randomly attacked outside a pub in England late last year and was crippled.)
Ricky comes back.
"It's going well, isn't it? You're so much better than last year's audience, they had a right stick up their a--."
He explains the seating, TV around the edge and movie stars in the center. He introduces George Clooney, who comes out with a cane. "I have to give it back to him, he can't make it to the bar otherwise," he says.
He's there to introduce his pal Brad Pitt's movie "Moneyball". See how this works?
Next up, Channing Tatum and Jessica Alba to introduce Best Animated Feature Film. The winner is "The Adventures of Tin Tin."
Steven Spielberg accepts and thanks his cast, including Andy Serkis "the man of a thousand digital faces".
Ewan McGregor opens his presenting by addressing his "Beginners" costar. "Nice one, Christopher. Bravo, Pops." He introduces Best picture nominee "50/50".
Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman are out next to present Best Screenplay - Motion Picture. The winner is Woody Allen for "Midnight in Paris."
Woody isn't there. Nicole accepts.
Husband and wife William H Macy and Felicity Huffman give the best presentation intro of the night for Best Supporting Actress in a series, miniseries or TV movie. They sing a little ditty, with harmony, that ends with "it's a honor to be nominated, blah, blah, blah blah blah blah."
Jessica Lange wins for "American Horror Story".
She thanks the HFPA for always being generous to her (it's her fifth win out of 12 nominations). She thanks the writers, because she finds it rarer every year to find something beautifully written that gives you something to do.
Ricky is back out (with white wine instead of beer). "Our next presenter is the Queen of pop - sit down, Elton, not you."
He introduces her as always in vogue and "just like a virgin."
Madonna is up next to present.
"If I'm still like a virgin, Ricky, why don't you come over here and do something about it? I haven't kissed a girl in a few years," she zings.
She introduces the nominees for Best Foreign Language Film (which includes Angelina Jolie's "The Land of Blood and Honey").
"A Seperation" from Iran wins.
He mentions all the crew and cast he could thank, but instead says he'd like to thank the people of Iran, who he thinks are truly peace loving people.
Dustin Hoffman is up and says without the love and encouragement of his wife and his agent he wouldn't be up there. He introduces Best Actress in a TV drama. He doesn't do nominee Madeline Stowe any favors by saying she's from his generation.
Claire Danes wins for "Homeland" on Showtime. Her costar Mandy Patinkin fights back tears of pride in the audience.
She mentions the first time she won a Golden Globe was when she was 15 for "My So Called Life" and she immediately burst into tears when she got off stage because she'd forgotten to thank her parents. She thanks her mom, who is there tonight along with her husband Hugh Dancy and costars.
Emily Blunt is out next to introduce "Bridesmaids".
Next, Tina Fey and Jane Lynch. Jane notes that people often think actors on TV are like their characters, but she's not like Sue Sylvester, she's not wearing a track suit and she doesn't throw things at people.
Fey says she's nothing like Liz Lemmon, she just can't think of any examples right now to prove it.
They introduce the nominees for Best Actor in a TV Series comedy.
The winner is Matt LeBlanc for "Episodes" on Showtime, an upset over Alec Baldwin.
He thanks the people at Showtime and BBC and his mom before acknowledging how nervous he is. He thanks the writers for a "Matt LeBlanc who is way more interesting and fun than I am."
Bradley Cooper comes out to present Best Supporting Actress in a movie.
The winner is: Octavia Spencer for "The Help".
She has notes. She's flummoxed and starts out saying this is "nuts." Fellow nominee Melissa McCarthy is crying (presumably not out of jealous, because she gave a standing O). She acknowledges the work of domestics and reads a bunch of names, then saying she's trembling and is about to fall off her high heels.
Reese Witherspoon introduces "The Descendants", by her friend Alexander Payne.
Sidney Poitier ambles out to a standing ovation and begins introducing Morgan Freeman for the Cecil B. DeMille Award, he'll turn 85 next month. "In my humble opinion, sir, you are indeed a prince in the profession you have chosen," he says verrrry slowly.
Helen Mirren comes out next and says she has a bone to pick with Morgan, because he's made 50 films and she's only been in one, "RED".
She suggests Mrs. Daisy could have been British. They show a montage of Morgan movies from "Brubaker" to "Unforgiven", "Lean on Me", "Million Dollar Baby" and "The Shawshank Redemption".
Freeman comes up to hug his presenters.
He tells Helen that watching her handle the guns on "RED" taught him that he never wants to piss her off. Receiving the award from Sidney means in his house it'll be known as the Sidney Poitier award.
In his career he's gotten to solve some crimes, commit some crimes, play Nelson Mandela and God. He's gotten to appear with people he's really enjoyed and has loved his work. He's honored to be in the good company of past recipients.
Robert Downey Jr. is out next and cites Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock and his own dad, who filmed silent movies. He introduces "The Artist".
Angelina Jolie comes out (cut to Brad Pitt clapping in the audience) to introduce the nominees for Best Director. The winner is Martin Scorsese for "Hugo".
He gets a gratuitous standing ovation.
He mentions his wife recommending he make a movie their 12 year old daughter could see.
Ricky Gervais is back out to move things along. Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas are presenting next, he says they might be interesting, but he can't --...we'll never know, because he gets bleeped. But it seems to be something along the lines of not being able to understand them.
Antonio comes out and speaks a streak in Castilian Spanish to prove his point. They introduce Best TV Comedy. "Modern Family" wins.
Sofia Vergara speaks Spanish and creator Steven Levitan translates, saying that because it's an international show, they'll accept in two languages. She thanks HFPA and then we hear the names of studio heads, but Levitan translates as her thanking the funny and sexy writers.
As she goes on thanking studio people, Levitan continues his writers comments, suggesting that actresses give them their phone numbers at the parties tonight. "They may look pasty and out of shape, but they're the greatest lovers I've ever had," he says that she said.
Michelle Pfeiffer is out to introduce "War Horse".
Mark Wahlberg and Jessica Biel introduce Best Actor in a movie. The winner is Jean Dujardin for "The Artist." He reads his speech, saying that when he started out, an agent told him he'd never make it because his face was too expressive. He closes by quoting Douglas Fairbanks - silently.
Queen Latifah is out next to introduce "The Help".
Ricky is back, telling us we're nearly there. He enjoys having a job where he can get drunk and still get paid. He introduces the next presenter, saying he's won as Oscar for "The King's Speech" and is handsome and loved by critics. But what people don't know about him is that "he's really racist."
(Awkward cut to the African-American cast of "The Help".)
Ricky continues, saying he's also seen him punch a blind kitten. "Please welcome the evil Colin Firth," he says.
Colin faux-kicks Ricky in the shins as he shakes his hand on the way out. He mentions the religious protests that are apparently outside threatening fire and brimstone. "What they don't realize is that we have Ricky," Colin says.
He introduces Best Actress in a movie drama.
The winner is Meryl Streep for "The Iron Lady", who plants a good one on her husband before the camera cuts to Glenn Close, her fellow nominee.
She gets a standing ovation, because that's what you do for Meryl Streep.
"When Ricky Gervais' deal fell through and they came to me to play Margaret Thatcher...." she begins. She starts to list names and then appears to say the s-word and gets bleeped when she realizes she forgot her glasses. Harvey Weinstein sees that they are passed to the front of the room.
She mentions a lot of worthy women, butchering a lot of names. "I just want to thank my agent, Kevin Huvane, and God - Harvey Weinstein, 'the Punisher', Old Testament, I guess," she says.
She's halfway through the names when the music starts. She says they made the movie in five minutes for 25 cents and thanks the people of England for letting them butcher their history.
Jane Fonda is out to introduce Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical. "The Artist" wins. The whole cast, including the dog, takes the stage. The producer Thomas Langmann makes a lovely speech about his father winning an Oscar for best short film in 1965, but not being able to afford the plane fare over.
Ricky tells us our next presenter won the Oscar and Golden Globe last year for "Black Swan" but took some time off this year to have a baby, and consequently she's won nothing. So she's learned the valuable lesson to never put family first.
Natalie Portman introduces Best Actor in a drama. The winner is George Clooney.
He starts by saying the nice thing about awards shows is you get to see people you haven't seen in a while, like Brad Pitt. He compliments him on his two movies and the work he's doing in the world. He also calls out Michael Fassbender for taking on the frontal nudity role. "Really, Michael, you can play golf with your hands behind your back," he says. (You might have to look it up on YouTube to see the accompanying pantomime.)
He thanks his costars and director.
Harrison Ford rushes out to introduce Best Motion Picture Drama. The Golden Globe goes to "The Descendants". George Clooney stays in his seat but gets special thanks from the producer. Director Alexander Payne salutes the fellow nominees and the people of Hawaii, where it was filmed.
Ricky Gervais comes out and tells everyone good night, saying he hopes the champagne and goodie bags took people's minds off the recession. Everyone heads for the exits, feathers mostly unruffled.