Well, they didn't completely embarrass themselves. At least not by Hollywood Foreign Press Association standards.
Whether it was because they really loved the movie or they didn't want to lose face by disagreeing with the consensus critical favorite, the Golden Globes voters played it safe on Sunday night by joining the chorus of supporters of "The Social Network."
They also spread the wealth around in other categories, and for the most part managed to avoid the baffling winners that often pop up at the Globes.
See also: Complete List of Golden Globes Winners
Colin Firth as Best Actor – Drama? Of course. Natalie Portman as Best Actress – Drama? No problem.
Splitting the lead acting races into separate drama and comedy/musical categories also allowed them to give Annette Bening a nod for her performance in "The Kids Are All Right," which was once considered an Oscar frontrunner before Portman began racking up honors for "Black Swan."
And on the television side, they went for hot shows like "Glee" but also prestige projects like "Boardwalk Empire."
But do the results redeem the controversy-wracked HFPA? Of course not. Does "The Social Network" win give that film any more credibility than it already had? No way.
A few more questions about the evening:
Did the HFPA bend over backwards to salute big stars, the way they often do?
A little. It's odd to call "Carlos" the best television movie or mini-series but not acknowledge that it rests on the shoulders of star Edgar Ramirez, who lost to Al Pacino for "You Don't Know Jack." But Pacino is an icon, and we all know the HFPA loves its icons.
But it could have been much worse. The Globes voters bypassed the twice-nominated Johnny Depp in the hazardous Best Actor – Comedy or Musical category in favor of the more prestigious Paul Giamatti for "Barney's Version," a movie that didn't make the money of Depp's "Alice in Wonderland" but also wasn't as widely derided.
Who helped themselves with their acceptance speeches?
Nobody, truth be told, hit it out of the park. Colin Firth was solid, as he always is. Portman offered a heartfelt and gracious version of the speech she gave two nights earlier at the Critics Choice Movie Awards, but her spate of giggling when she talked about fiancé Benjamin Millepied wasn't quite as endearing as it should have been.
Christian Bale started strong but didn’t do himself any favors by rambling until he was drowned out by music, and then shouting out about Robert De Niro after his microphone was cut off. His "Fighter" co-star Melissa Leo was funny, but a more succinct speech might have helped her as well.
And Best Director winner David Fincher didn't do much with his first televised moment in the spotlight. Since he's going to be winning awards for the next six weeks, the guy ought to learn to leave the papers at home, or at least put all his thank-yous on one page. Or, since he's a smart guy, how about memorizing it? I mean, couldn't he have had time to do that Friday night, since he skipped the Critics Choice Movie Awards?
Are the results going to influence the Oscar race?
Not a chance. Oscar ballots were turned in two days ago. By the time nominations are announced on Jan. 25, will any voters even remember who won the Globes? I wouldn't bet on it.
But will the results match the Oscars?
Yes, a lot of them probably will match – which is a very different thing from implying a casual relationship.
In fact, there's one category in which the Globes may have predicted Oscar success for a movie few people have seen. In the Best Foreign Language Film category, the winner was the Danish drama "In a Better World," which unlike fellow nominees "Biutiful," "The Concert" and "I Am Love" has yet to open in the United States. The film is Denmark's entry into the Oscar race, and its Globes victory could well presage a similarly favorable reception from Academy voters.
How did Ricky do?
In his second turn as host, Gervais went right after the HFPA at the beginning of his monologue, mocking them for nominating "The Tourist" and "Burlesque," making fun of Cher, and later deriding HFPA president Philip Berk as a doddering old man.
His m.o. from that point on essentially consisted of him saying nasty things about at least 50 percent of the presenters he introduced. It wore thin pretty quickly and turned him into something of a one-trick pony — but it also became the talk of the town in the aftermath of what was certainly the most gleefully savage hosting job of any major awards show.
On Monday, the HFPA's Berk told the Hollywood Reporter that Gervais "definitely crossed the line" with jokes he made about certain celebrities. Saying that the organization did not condone attacks on specific individuals, Berk added, "[S]ome of the things were totally unacceptable. But that's Ricky."
In fact, Gervais had made a few similar comments the previous year, when he hosted the Globes for the first time, and was immediately invited back. This time, Berk would not say whether he would recommend a return engagement for the host.
If Sunday night's show was the end of the road for Gervais and the Globes, it ended on an awkward note: the comic's final joke – in which he thanked God "for making me an atheist" – was an uncomfortable echo of Eddie Izzard's disastrous stint hosting last year's Spirit Awards, when his relentless jokes about religion fell completely flat.
Who had the best line of the night?
I'll give that one to Michael Douglas, who handed out the final award of the night and took the stage to a rousing ovation from the crowd who knew he had been fighting cancer for much of the past year.
"There's got to be an easier way to get a standing ovation," said a notably thin Douglas, who recently said that his tumor was gone.
Accepting the award for "Toy Story 3," director Lee Unkrich wondered aloud if presenters Hailee Steinfeld and Justin Bieber were even born when the first "Toy Story" movie came out. Were they?
He was, she wasn't.