All of the luminaries in attendance for the 2020 Golden Globe Awards on January 5 had no illusions of what they were in for from Ricky Gervais. The actor, writer, and comedian came to the podium for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association recognition ceremony loaded, in more ways than one. Within less than two minutes, the proclamation that “I don't care anymore,” followed with “I'm joking, I never did,” set the tone for his evening, braced by stiff drinks served to the host and the guests.

As expected, the unflappable Gervais was unflinchingly uncouth in quickly insulting the sponsors of the night’s event, noting that the “Hollywood Foreign Press can barely speak English,” and that he had gotten this job by fax, which was the kindest of his HFPA assaults.

That comment was about as believable as his promise that this would be his last time to host. There's not much not to love about being able to access an open bar all night and never holding back on aiming arrows that the rich and famous, all assembled to take home more goodie bags and high honors. He is not everyone's cup of tea, or glass of bourbon, for sure. Ricky Gervais and may want a winter vacation next year, but it's a sure bet that Hollywood and millions of viewers will be pining for his refreshingly direct observations after a respite.

No matter how busy the emcee kept the censors, many of the honorees echoed pure heart and loving humor from the stage and created worthy memories beyond their trophies.

Not even the animal kingdom was safe

Rick Gervais may revolt over religious issues, but he is a rabid animal lover. Still, nothing stopped him from clawing into “Cats” over its critical slams. Dame Judi Dench has never been discussed in more intimate ways than in this shredding commentary. The audience was ready for some warm and cuddly words by the time Kate McKinnon came forward to present Ellen DeGeneres for the Carol Burnett Award.

A playful recitation of favorite clothing items and spiritual mantras gathered from DeGeneres’ show began the commentary, but McKinnon's remarks soon turned courageously personal. The ‘SNL’ favorite recalled being the girl lifting weights in her mother's basement and coming to terms with being gay. “I still am,” she spoke. She lauded the sacrifice paid by DeGeneres “for telling the truth.” Kate further credited Ellen’s bravery to “jump into the fire,” changing attitudes forever for the LGBTQ community and freeing her from the belief that “I can never be on TV.

They don't let LGBTQ people on TV.” “More than that,” continued McKinnon, “I would have gone on thinking I was an alien, and that I maybe didn't even have a right to be here.”

The emotion was tender and audible in McKinnon’s meaningful salute, and Ellen followed the meaningful ovation with warm and TV-friendly humor as only she can offer.

Reneging on her pledge, “not to go on,” insisting that, “well, I can, DeGeneres launched into a full biography, relating how her parents “took me home in a Buick” in 1958. She surprised even Portia de Rossi with her thanks to “my husband, Mark,” and telling children, “Rupert and Fiona” to “go to bed,” adding “they're in college now.” Genuine feeling soon replaced the wonderfully goofy, as Ellen DeGeneres praised Carol Burnett and “the power of television” to pull people through dark times, and “to inspire someone else to make someone laugh, to be kind, or help someone less fortunate.” The embrace between Ellen and Kate was a true delight of the Golden Globes 2020 evening.

Hooray to nice guys

Sometimes, the impromptu moments from the stage say more than the prepared speeches ever can. Awkwafina became the first Asian actress ever to be honored with a Golden Globe award. She accepted her honor for “The Farewell” as Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy, by giving her father the message that any parent of an after wants to hear. “Dad, I told you I’d get a job!” Now, the actress has clout for any gig she desires.

Renée Zellweger was earnest and sincere in her words spoken in her true Texas accent. “I see you,” she assured her audience, commenting that her portrayal of Judy Garland in “Judy” was one of her “greatest blessings.” She also related on the red carpet that Judy Garland’s spirit, love of family, and dedication as a performer will be with the actress forever.

“I never want to leave that,” she insisted.

Elton John, Bernie Taupin, and Teran Egerton provided an emotional lift-off with their recognition for "Rocketman." The song award was the first-ever for Elton and Taupin together.

Brad Pitt did more than thank his co-star, Leonardo DiCaprio, for his Best Supporting Actor in a Drama for Quentin Tarantino's “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” He closed his brief words with “if you can do something kind for someone, please do it. I think we need that right now.”

Tom Hanks’ words as a father, husband, and actor were most triumphant in compassion at these 2020 Golden Globe awards. Taking the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement honors, Hanks broke down trying to say that “a man is blessed to have his family down front like that,” pointing to his wife, Rita Wilson, and his five children.

He praised his children as “braver, stronger, and wiser than their old man.” The Oscar-winning actor with a mantle-load of hardware then proceeded to thank virtually every person in the room, and some absent, for their contribution to making him better at his craft. He elaborated on the gift of being on time. He even managed to do a spot-on imitation of Cecil B. DeMille and give a lesson in early filmmaking in his explanation of what “through the gate” meant.

Some moments might've been a little indulgent for Tom Hanks, but moments like this don't come along every day. He and a few other recipients left viewers and friends feeling better about the 2020 Golden Globe Awards, and not feeling so helpless in these uneasy and sometimes unfriendly times.