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Excitement for the 74th Golden Globes kicked off a couple of months back when it was announced that popular US talk show host and comedian Jimmy Fallon would be taking over as host.

Anticipation was high, but as soon as the opening VT rolled the praise came pouring in via every social media orifice the interweb could open…

In hindsight, the five minute imitation of La La Land was a sign of things to come, but as a show opener it was fun, funny and full of stars – everything we would expect from a Jimmy Fallon awards show.

Unfortunately it seemed Fallon hit an early peak, as the mood cooled throughout the show, culminating in one Tweet speculating if he’d been fired mid-show due to his prolonged absence. Of course the same was said of Ricky Gervais in 2010 and he has since hosted another three times. That said, Fallon had a tough act to follow and whether he will be invited back remains in question, but this opening video has to be one of the best we’ve seen in a while.

It didn’t take long for the Globes to give us the first big surprise of the night. The first award for Best Supporting Actor was widely considered a foregone conclusion. Mahershala Ali had won almost every accolade to date for his performance in Moonlight, yet somehow Aaron Taylor-Johnson came out from nowhere to win for Nocturnal Animals.

The headlines didn’t stop there. In fact there was barely an intermission before the HFPA made a huge political statement that will no doubt heap pressure on the Academy, as Blackish and Altanta picked up successive television awards and reignited the diversity debate. This time, surely, for the right reasons.

“This is for all the women of color…whose stories & thoughts are not always considered valid & important” is fast becoming one of the most quotable speech excerpts of the night, courtesy of Tracee Ellis Ross. Though not everyone is jumping on the bandwagon:

Continuing a spotlight on the television categories, Sarah Paulson’s mini-series win for The People v O.J. Simpson could be the biggest indication we get that America are still intensely fascinated with the Simpson case, and show no signs of wavering when it comes to the Oscar nominations. O.J.: Made in America is looking like a very strong candidate next month.

But despite a largely successful evening for The People v O.J. there was no luck for supporting actor Sterling K. Brown, who lost out on his award to Hugh Laurie. Flying the flag for Britain, and arguably causing a small upset in the process, he won for his acclaimed performance in BBC hit The Night Manager.

Upset or not, his Blighty charm certainly wins the popularity contest:

Later in the evening, Olivia Coleman and Tom Hiddleston completed the triple by winning supporting actress and best actor respectively, making it a cracking night for British television.

Normality then resumed as La La Land understandably picked up two awards for best original score and original song (City of Stars). It has faltered throughout the season, facing stiff competition from the score of Jackie, but the First Lady biopic failed to make the nominations here, making it a pretty straightforward win for Justin Hurwitz. City of Stars could have easily lost out to Moanasignalling a potential fondness for the musical.

Order in the acting categories was largely restored when Viola Davis picked up her trophy, which may as well have been pre-engraved, for her allegedly supporting role in Fences. However, a verbal slip-up on air during the award’s presentation has caused Hidden Fences to go viral – no doubt it will be trending before the closing credits.

The award for best actor in a comedy or musical was difficult to call, considering none of the nominees really stood much chance in the Oscar race – where categories are not segregated by genre. This was Ryan Gosling’s moment for a small victory, riding the La La Land wave and he beat competition from Hugh Grant and Ryan Reynolds to do it.

Talking of momentum, La La Land went on to claim another surprise win, by beating Manchester by the Sea to Best Screenplay – the first musical to do so in over 60 years. Kenneth Lonergan’s script was considered one of the strongest, while Chazelle had barely dented this category so this is a huge endorsement. However, he will struggle to convert into an Academy Award so he should make the most of this win.

Meanwhile, Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig made Twitter explode with their double act. They presented the award for Best Animated Feature and triggered a wave of pleas for them to host next year, so if you’re reading HFPA…

And on the note of Animated Feature, Disney’s Zootopia continued the studio’s great run at the Globes. Kubo and the Two Strings has proved to be a strong contender, if not gaining the edge with a slew of recent awards, so the Mouse House will appreciate this win. A lot.

But back to presenters as Sunny Pawar – the young supporting actor in Lion – stole the show and totally won the night as Dev Patel lifted him up to help present an award. A far cry from the, well, far cries for Tom Hiddleston to stop talking during his acceptance speech, which @michmarkowitz called his “did I ever tell you about the time I went backpacking in Europe?” story to get laid.

Meanwhile, Elle piled on the results that many will go on to call an upset, as it beat the season frontrunner Toni Erdmann to win Foreign Language Film. Following which there was an interlude to the main proceedings as Meryl Streep was honoured with the Cecil B. DeMille award – a fitting tribute to an actress nominated for 30 Golden Globes.

Her speech blew up the internet and everyone, though it doesn’t seem possible, now love her even more. If nothing else, tonight will be the night Meryl Streep was immortalised by the Twitterverse.

The final hour of the night may as well be renamed the La La Land tribute hour, beginning with Best Director, which many already predicted would go to Damien Chazelle. Following a few surprise wins along the way, it would have been heavily against the tide to give the award to anyone but him.

It was then Emma Stone’s turn to take the stage, as she collected her award for best actress in a comedy or musical, followed swiftly by the producers who, by now were just waiting to be given the Globe for best comedy/musical film. And so completed their remarkable seven wins from seven nominations – a feat that all but solidifies their place at the top of the Oscar contender heap.

La La Land also set a new record, winning more Golden Globes than any other film in history.

Now came somewhat of an anticlimax as Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea – shut out of the other categories – finally get an opportunity to win something. Casey Affleck kindly obliged with his inevitable leading actor win. This is already a sure thing at the Academy Awards. But before the night wrapped up there was one final surprise, as Isabelle Huppert won best actress in a drama for her stirring performance in Elle.

This will come as a shock to Natalie Portman, who would have been very confident considering Emma Stone, her biggest rival on the awards circuit, was in a different category here. This blows the best actress race wide open as we head full speed towards the Oscars.

Finally, Moonlight scooped Best Drama, which gives its fans some solace that it can still put up a fight in the Oscar race. Even more reassuring is the apparent lack of confidence some awards experts in the Globes with regards to predicting the Academy Awards:

The parallel between the Globes and the Oscars may be too volatile to bet on, but it demonstrates a clear sentiment towards La La Land within the industry, something which until now has not been echoed by critics circles. Ordinarily, winning a few Globes would not cause much concern, but this isn’t a normal year. La La Land broke records, winning more than any single film in the Globes’ 74 year history.

The show also packed a few surprises, ironically unsurprisingly, but these were more to Moonlight‘s detriment than anything. Isabelle Huppert winning best actress has just narrowed the Oscar race, giving La La Land more gravitas, while it’s inability to make dents in categories within which they were directly competing will not sit well.

Whatever you make of the results, I think we can all agree it has been one hell of a year at the Golden Globes and, if Twitter has anything to say about it, we can expect Mr. Carell taking us through next year…