The British comedian, who has repeatedly said this will be his last year hosting the awards, opened Sunday evening’s ceremony with his signature acerbic wit, and took no prisoners — even taking aim at studios Netflix, Disney and Apple.
“You’re in no position to lecture anyone,” Gervais said, adding that while these major studios push positive messages to the public, some of their business practices are controversial.
The comedian cited Apple TV+’s The Morning Show specifically, claiming the series was “made by a company who runs sweatshops in China. You say you’re ‘woke’…”
Gervais also alluded to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein taking his own life. Using the nominated show Afterlife as a segue, Gervais said: “The character at the end of the show didn’t kill himself, just like Jeffrey Epstein.”
“Don’t be mad, I know he’s your friend, but I don’t care,” he told the audibly shocked audience.
Gervais also found boundless opportunities for quips outside the cinema.
“No one cares about movies anymore — everyone watches Netflix,” he joked. (In fact, streamers Netflix, Hulu and Apple TV+ dominated this year’s pool of nominees.
The Office star honed in on how films appear to be getting longer these days, taking aim at Quentin Tarantino’s nominated Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which comes in at a two hours and 40 minutes run time.
“Leonardo DiCaprio attended the premiere and by the end, his date was nearly too old for him. Even Prince Andrew was like, ‘C’mon, mate…’ “
Not even Martin Scorsese was safe. The veteran director, whose film The Irishman is nominated for five awards this year, recently slammed the success of the Marvel superhero films by claiming they remind him of theme park rides.
Gervais responded by saying he was surprised the director visited theme parks, given how short he is in person.
Finally, the host took aim at the much-maligned Cats – namely one of its stars, Judi Dench. Gervais recalled Dench had called the role one she was “born to play.” He paused briefly, saying he couldn’t go on and finish the joke, but summoned the strength.
“Because she loves nothing better than plunking herself down on the carpet, lifting her leg, and licking her own minge,” he finished.
In a parting blow, he urged stars to rein in their acceptance speeches.
“So if you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech, right? You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. If you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent and your god, and f— off.”