The British comedian fronted the ceremony for the second year in a row, and before taking to the stage in Los Angeles on Sunday he promised he was going to be even more outrageous than in 2010. He proceeded to poke fun at Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie’s movie The Tourist, calling it a flop, and joked that Robert Downey Jr. was best known for going to prison and rehab.
The female stars of Sex and the City were also targeted, along with Bruce Willis and Hollywood followers of Scientology. Although many of the stars in the audience, such as Alec Baldwin and Robert De Niro, were seen laughing throughout, others found Ricky’s humour too close to the bone. Robert Downey Jr. called the show “hugely mean-spirited” on stage, and while he said it with a smile on his face backstage he admitted he thought it was unfair to be rude to people.
Philip Berk, President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) – which organises the awards – has echoed the sentiment. “He definitely crossed the line. And some of the things were totally unacceptable,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “Any of the references to individuals is certainly not something the Hollywood Foreign Press condones.”
The HFPA also released a statement about Ricky yesterday, saying: “When you hire a comedian like Ricky Gervais, one expects in-your-face, sometimes outrageous material. Certainly, in this case, he pushed the envelope and occasionally went too far. The HFPA would never condone some of his personal remarks.
“We loved the show. It was fun and obviously has a lot of people talking. The show was among the best we’ve ever had and we were pleased.”
Many stars used Twitter to discuss Ricky’s turn as host, with most insisting he had been funny rather than nasty. Piers Morgan couldn’t understand why people were complaining, insisting Ricky had only delivered what he is best known for.
“Complaining that Ricky Gervais was too rude is like inviting a shark to your paddling pool and moaning when it bites all the children,” he wrote.
Actress Elizabeth Banks was also a fan, putting on her page of the social networking website: “I thought RG was hilarious. Actors can take it. We have thick skins.”