By the time the 74th Golden Globe Awards came to a close, behind schedule, a little after 11 p.m. ET, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association—the tiny, often eccentric body that hands out the statuettes at Hollywood’s rowdiest and most liquored up ceremony—had made it easy on those of us tasked with writing about the TV awards, because the film awards were a La La Land-induced snooze. It’s just as well: A year after honoring such unsung worthies as Casual, Rami Malek (Mr. Robot), and Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) with awards and nominations, the HFPA continued its recent streak of highlighting a diverse array of TV artists. And when more attention is paid to the full breadth of fine work the medium offers, the real winner, of course, is us.
1. Meryl Streep
Admittedly, Streep’s Cecil B. DeMille Award was clearly won by a career’s worth of silver screen performances, and not for her roles on TV. (Her Golden Globe- and Emmy-winning turn in Mike Nichols’ peerless adaptation of Angels in America did turn up in her montage, at least.) But the reason why she emerged as the night’s most formidable figure, of course, had more to do with how she used her platform than with how she earned it. With her hoarse, pained, ferocious acceptance speech, Streep, the most exquisite practitioner of the form, gave us her best one yet, honoring the diverse backgrounds of those that comprise the Hollywood “elite,” castigating Donald Trump’s bully tactics, and offering a moving valediction for her friend, the late Carrie Fisher. “As my dear departed Princess Leia said,” Streep concluded, “Take your broken heart. Make it into art.”
2. FX Networks
If FX’s sterling limited series, American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, fell victim to the HFPA’s inexplicable preference for AMC’s sterile The Night Manager—including Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie’s unforgivable upsets of Courtney B. Vance and Sterling K. Brown, respectively—FX nonetheless emerged from the Golden Globes as the leading network. In addition to The People v. O.J.’s win for Best Miniseries or TV Movie, and Sarah Paulson’s final victory lap in the corresponding Best Actress category, the real boon for FX was Donald Glover’s superb Atlanta, which not only earned two of the top prizes, but also allowed us a glimpse of Lakeith Stanfield’s unmatched dance moves. Bravo.
3. Tracee Ellis Ross
The black-ish standout—the first black woman to win Best Actress (Comedy/Musical Series) since Debbie Allen nabbed the statuette for Fame in 1983—broke a tie with double winner The Crown for the third slot on this list on the strength of two factors. The first is her ring game. The second is her response to being asked a question about Trump backstage: “I think I will let this moment be about winning my Golden Globe.”
1. Jimmy Fallon
Saddled with the unenviable task, like Ricky Gervais last year, of having to live up to the brilliant and sharp-tongued Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, The Tonight Show’s Fallon flubbed the role from the start, sought to recover with a series of ill-conceived puns and impressions (Chris Rock, to name the most egregious), and ended up playing the fool when Streep showed that no star with spine need coddle Trump—or tussle his hair, for that matter. I could go in on the glorified game show host further, but why bother? If you can’t ad lib the opening monologue when the TelePrompTer fails, you have no business emceeing the Golden Globes.
How many Golden Globes did the longtime leader in television awards win tonight? Fewer than FX (4), AMC (3), Netflix (2), Amazon (1), or ABC (1). That’s right. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Out of 16 nominations. Ouch.
3. Tom Hiddleston
Lacking the wit of Hugh Laurie (who, presaging Streep, took aim at Trump) or the foresight of Olivia Colman (who stayed home), The Night Manager star accepted his award with… an extended pat on the back. His heart might’ve been in the right place, but without an ounce of self-awareness, it was hard to read his description of the limited series’ rapturous reception in South Sudan as anything but self-congratulations. At the very least, Vince Vaughn, Christian Slater, and Naomie Harris were not impressed.
Matt Brennan is the TV editor of Paste Magazine. He tweets about what he’s watching @thefilmgoer.