'Je suis Charlie' at the Golden Globes: A big night for 'Birdman,' 'Transparent'

  • Tina Fey, left, and Amy Poehler arrive at the 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 11, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
  • Actor Michael Keaton arrives to the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 11, 2015.
  • Actor George Clooney and wife, Amal Clooney, arrive at the 72nd Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Jan. 11, 2015.
  • Actress Kathy Bates arrives to the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 11, 2015.
  • Actor Actor J.K. Simmons arrives to the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 11, 2015.
  • Actress Helen Mirren arrives to the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 11, 2015.
  • In this handout photo provided by NBCUniversal, George Clooney, Winner of the Cecile B. Demille Award, speaks onstage during the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, Calif.
  • Gina Rodriguez poses in the press room with the award for best actress in a television series - musical or comedy for “Jane the Virgin” at the 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 11, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
  • Kevin Spacey, left, and Kate Mara walk in the audience at the 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 11, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
  • Chrissy Teigen, from left, John Legend and Common pose in the press room with the award for best original song “€œGlory”€ in a film for “Selma”€ at the 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 11, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
  • In this handout photo provided by NBCUniversal, Jill Soloway accepts the award for Best TV Series, Comedy or Musical for “Transparent” onstage during the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, Calif.
  • The cast of “Boyhood” poses backstage with their award for Best Motion Picture - Drama during the 72nd Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Jan. 11, 2015.

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Actresses Tina Fey and Amy Poehler didn’t pull any punches during their opening monologue at the 72nd annual Golden Globes on Sunday, making timely jokes about Bill CosbyNorth Korea, the Sony hacking scandal and the challenges facing women in Hollywood. 

“Welcome you bunch of despicable, spoiled minimally talented brats,” Fey said in greeting the audience, a direct reference to the controversial email exchange between Sony executive Amy Pascal and produced Scott Rudin regarding Oscar winner Angelina Jolie, which was leaked amid several other private messages in the massive Sony hack.

RELATED: A-List nominees headline 2015 Golden Globes

The Golden Globes, sponsored by the Hollywood Foreign Press, celebrates the best of television and movies from the past year, or as Poehler quipped ”all the movies that North Korea was ok with.”

The hosts also poked fun at the poor critical reception for “The Interview,” about an attempted assassination against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The film allegedly provoked the Sony hack and its wide theatrical release was canceled in the uproar. Poehler joked that the controversy had forced audiences to “pretend they wanted to see it.

Later in a recurring gag which may have struck some viewers as racially insensitive, comedian Margaret Cho appeared dressed as a faux North Korean general (“Cho Jung Un”) who wanted to be photographed alongside actress Meryl Streep.

Fey and Poehler drew awkward groans and nervous laughs when they launched into dueling Cosby impressions. While discussing, “Into the Woods,” the musical featuring classic fairytale characters, Fey said, “Sleeping Beauty just thought she was getting coffee from Bill Cosby.” Multiple women have claimed Cosby drugged them in sexually inappropriate encounters. He has never been charged with a crime, and has denied allegations in the past, but that hasn’t stopped a bevy of celebrities from defending or criticizing the 77-year-old in the midst of the controversy.

“I put the pills in the people …” Fey said in an exaggerated Cosby-esque voice. This isn’t the first time the former “Saturday Night Live” star has milked the Cosby allegations for laughs. On SNL back in 2005, Fey made light of Cosby’s decision to settle with one of his accusers outside of court, and the allegations of drugging were also referenced in an episode of her hit sitcom “30 Rock” in 2009.

RELATED: Tina Fey may have first called attention to Cosby claims

Meanwhile, Poehler and Fey sidestepped allegations of inaccuracy regarding the acclaimed film “Selma,” which documents Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1965 fight for voting rights. ”Selma is about the American civil rights movement that totally worked and now everything’s fine,” quipped Fey.

When rapper Common accepted his award for Best Song from “Selma,” he gave an emotional speech about how the film “awakened” his humanity, and in which he referenced the deaths of unarmed black kids and the recent killings of NYPD officers. “Selma is now,” said Common. ‘We are still in solidarity with those out there fighting for justice right now,” added Legend.

While the hosts also steered clear of making jokes about the recent terrorist attacks in France, Theo Kingma, the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, made a reference to their commitment to “freedom of artistic expression” all over the world, which was met with rapturous applause. Multiple performers were photographed flashing signs reading “Je suis Charlie” in solidarity with slain artists at Charlie Hebdo, a French publication that was targeted by killers.

Actor and activist George Clooney, who at the tender age of 53 received the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award, sported a Je suis Charlie button and paid homage to the thousands of people who marched all over the world on Sunday to show that “we will not live in fear.”

And in another politically poignant moment, when Amazon’s transgender-themed comedy “Transparent” won for Best Comedy Series, the show’s producer, Jill Soloway, paid tribute to the Leelah Alcorn, an Ohio teen who committed suicide last month and has become something of a martyr for the trans rights movement. “This is dedicated to you my transparent, my mapa, you’re watching at home right now. I just want to thank you for coming out because in doing so you made a break for freedom. You told your truth and you taught me how to tell my truth and make this show,” Soloway said.

Actor Jeffrey Tambor, who stars in the lead role as a transgender woman coming out to her family, won Best Actor in a Comedy Television Series and in his acceptance speech he dedicated his award to “the transgender community.”

“Thank you for your courage. Thank you for your inspiration. Thank you for your patience and thank you for letting us be a part of the change,” said Tambor.

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