But while fans may have dislocated jaws in surprise, no one was more shocked than the winner: Glenn Close, nominated for her role in Björn Runge's The Wife, based on the novel by Meg Wolitzer about a wife who has spent the last 40 years of her life devoting herself to being the perfect wife to her narcissistic author husband despite her own considerable literary talent.
"Nobody believed in us but us!" says a big time Glenn Close fan. "They all said it was Gaga! But we always knew!" _he is distracted by passing fans_ "Close! Close! Close! Close!" _back to camera_ "Thank you, Glenn. We're here for you! All the way to the Oscars!"— Todd VanDerWerff (@tvoti) January 7, 2019
But even though her win was unexpected, it is very much deserved. Close has been nominated for 15 Golden Globes over the years, and this is only her second win. Her first was back in 2004 for Best Performance By An Actress In A Limited Series Or Motion Picture for The Lion in Winter. (She's also been nominated for 6 Oscars with no wins so far — this might be the year that changes.)
And at 71, the actress delivered one of the most movie speeches of the night, which paid tribute to her mother, and all the women who, like her character in The Wife, have led lives in service to the men around them.
"I’m thinking of my mom, who really sublimated herself to my father her whole life, and in her 80s she said to me, I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything," Close said tearfully. "And it was so not right, and I feel what I’ve learned through this whole experience is that, you know women we’re nurturers. That’s what’s expected of us. We have our children, we have our husbands if we’re lucky enough and our partners, whoever. But we have to find personal fulfillment, we have to follow our dreams, we have to say I can do that, and I should be allowed to do that.
"You know when I was little I felt like Muhammad Ali who was destined to be a boxer, I felt destined to be an actress," she continued. "I saw all the early Disney films, and Hayley Mills, and I said, 'Oh I could do that. And here I am today, it will have been 45 years in September that I am a working actress and I cannot imagine a more wonderful life."
It was a moving, unplanned moment in a night full of upsets, but one thing's for sure: the Oscar race just got a lot tighter.