Tina Fey and Amy Poehler Showed Us Why Free Speech Matters at the Golden Globes

The hosts, winners, and presenters of the 72nd annual Golden Globes Awards donned their couture gowns and designers suits and confronted a wide range of social and political issues, from racial unrest to Charlie Hebdo to the Bill Cosby rape allegations.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler kicked off their opening monologue with a nod to the Sony hacks, a recurring theme throughout the night.

“Tonight we celebrate…all the movies that North Korea was okay with,” Poehler said.

(Check out our coverage of the Sony hacks.)

Later in the show, the mention of freedom of expression from North Korea to Paris, a reference to both the Sony attacks and the recent terrorist attacks in France, received a standing ovation. George Clooney and Jared Leto expressed their solidarity with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack with the words: “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie), social media’s rallying cry of support for those affected by the tragedy.

Fey and Poehler also mentioned the lack of opportunities for older women in Hollywood, a subject the two touched upon last year. In reference to “Boyhood,” Poehler said: “'Boyhood' proves there are still great roles for women over forty, as long as you get hired when you’re under forty.” 

In her acceptance speech for Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie, Maggie Gyllenhaal had a more optimistic outlook on women in Hollywood. Gyllenhaal said that there are increasingly more roles for “real” women in Hollywood. 

“When I look around at the women who are in here and I think about the performances I’ve watched this year, I see women who are sometimes powerful and sometimes not, sometimes sexy and sometimes not, sometimes honorable and sometimes not, and what I think is new is the wealth of roles for actual women in television and film," Gyllenhaal said.

(Check out our coverage of the lack of women on screen.)

Fey mentioned Amal Clooney’s accomplishments as a human rights lawyer and then pointed out that Amal’s husband, George Clooney, is the one receiving a lifetime achievement award. Clooney won the Cecil B. DeMille Award. Woody Allen was last year’s recipient.  

Fey and Poehler didn’t shy away from other controversial subjects in this year’s monologue.

“The movie ‘Selma’ is about the American Civil Rights movement that totally worked and now everything’s fine,” Fey said, alluding to recent racial unrest after the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

Rapper Common also spoke about racial unrest in his acceptance speech for Best Original Song, for "Glory" from "Selma." Common said that his experience working on “Selma” taught him to identify with all who have worked and continue to work towards justice and equality, and with those who are victims of injustice and inequality.

"I am the unarmed black kid who maybe needed a hand but instead was given a bullet," said Common. “I am the two fallen police officers slain in the line of duty.” 

Actor Jeffrey Tambor won a Golden Globe for his role in “Transparent,” in which he plays transgender woman Maura Pfefferman.

“This is much bigger than me,” Tambor said in his acceptance speech. “I would like to dedicate my performance to the transgender community. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for your inspiration.” 

Before the ceremony, Fey told Access Hollywood that Bill Cosby jokes were not off limits. Poehler mentioned “Into the Woods,” Stephen Sondheim’s inverted fairy tale mash-up, in her opening monologue.

​“Sleeping Beauty just thought she was getting coffee with Bill Cosby,” she said.

She and Fey then took turns doing impressions of Bill Cosby talking about drugging women. 

Amy Poehler and Tina Fey hosted the Golden Globes in 2013 and 2014, but Fey told E! News recently that this year's awards ceremony will be her last.  Many fans will be sad to see the duo go, but Fey has said that it’s liberating to know that their hosting duties are coming to an end.

"Listen, it's our last time!" said Fey. "What are they going to do, fire us?! Who cares!"