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Golden Globes 2015 Wrap-Up: Stars Stand Up for Free Speech

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LOS ANGELES (CNN)  –

The 2015 Golden Globes stood up for free speech — in more ways than one.

The show will be remembered for Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s (presumed) last hosting hurrah, a running gag featuring Margaret Cho as a North Korean representative and a couple of gasp-inducing Bill Cosby jokes.

And as always there were the usual bunch of what Ricky Gervais called “rich, beautiful over-privileged people” — a few of whom, Gervais included, definitely seemed to be enjoying their drinks.

But the Golden Globes also provided some stirring moments and hints of the awards season still to come:

1. Standing up for free speech and social justice

As we’ve seen with the threats over “The Interview” and the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, there are still many who have no respect for diverse opinions — or diversity, period.

In a rousing address, Theo Kingma, head of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — the journalists’ organization that puts on the Globes — called out the need for free speech.

“As international journalists we understand the freedom of artistic expression. It is not only an integral part of the American fabric, but a beacon that is reflected across the globe,” he said. “Together we will stand united against anyone that will repress free speech. Anywhere, from North Korea to Paris.”

He received a standing ovation. Many stars wore “Je Suis Charlie” buttons in honor of the French magazine and its cartoonists who were slain by terrorists last week.

The awards themselves showcased a diversity of subjects and performances. “Transparent,” a show about a family finding new strength after realizing the father, played by Jeffrey Tambor, is transgender, won best comedy series. Tambor also won for best actor in a comedy series.

“Glory,” from the movie “Selma,” won best original song. In his speech, Common highlighted the many faces of the movie.

“I am the hopeful black woman who was denied the right to vote. I am the caring white supporter,” he said. “I am the unarmed black kid, who maybe needed a hand, but instead was given a bullet. ‘Selma’ has awakened my humanity. We look to the future, and we want to create a better world. Now is our time to change the world. Selma is now.”

2. Women take center stage

Though women still have to fight for worthy movie roles — ” ‘Boyhood’ proves that there are still roles for women over 40, as long as you’re hired while you’re still under 40,” went one of Fey and Poehler’s zingers — the Globes showed that they’re finding greater influence behind the scenes.

“Transparent” was created by Jill Soloway. “The Affair,” which won best TV drama series, was co-created by Sarah Treem. “Selma” was directed by Ava DuVernay.

And Maggie Gyllenhaal, who won best actress in a TV miniseries or movie, was having none of the hand-wringing about women’s roles.

“What I think is new is the wealth of roles for actual women in television and in film. That’s what I think is revolutionary, and evolutionary, and it’s what’s turning me on,” she said.

3. Upsets!

On the TV side, “The Affair” beat “Game of Thrones” and “House of Cards,” among others, for best drama series, and the show’s Ruth Wilson won best actress in a drama series. Gina Rodriguez of “Jane the Virgin” won best actress in a comedy series. “Fargo” took home TV movie/miniseries over “Olive Kitteridge” and “True Detective.”

But it’s the movies that have awards-watchers wondering. “How to Tame Your Dragon 2” won animated film over “Big Hero 6” and “The Lego Movie.” Amy Adams won best actress in a musical or comedy for “Big Eyes.”

And the Globes may indicate a groundswell for Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” It won best musical or comedy film over the favorite, “Birdman.”

4. “Boyhood” is the Oscars front-runner

On the drama side, however, there was no drama: “Boyhood” won best picture, Richard Linklater won best director and Patricia Arquette won best supporting actress. The three-hour film, shot piecemeal over the course of 12 years, has long been touted as the Oscar front-runner. It cemented that status Sunday night at the Globes.

5. Charming George Clooney

You can always count on Clooney to add a touch of class and wit to any proceedings, and he didn’t disappoint at the Globes, where he was given the Cecil B. DeMille Award.

He was self-deprecating, joking about the bad reviews for his own “Monuments Men,” and then prompted a million sighs when he paid heartfelt tribute to his new wife, Amal Alamuddin.

Moreover, he didn’t forget about his colleagues, working in praise for the late Lauren Bacall and Robin Williams, and went out with a comment about the Paris marches for Charlie Hebdo and free speech.

“They marched in support of the idea that we will not walk in fear,” he said.

Clooney, as he often does, said it all.

By Todd Leopold

CNN’s Lisa France contributed to this story