When Glitz Meets Glamour

Warming Up for Oscar, GG Rolls Out the Carpet and Sets the Stage

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 16, 2007; Page C01

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Jan. 15 -- If the Oscars are the senior prom, the Golden Globes are a Spring Break kegger. The cocktail hour? It officially starts at 2:30 p.m. Whoo-ee! On a Monday. The Academy Awards -- can be a little stuffy, no? Like church, but with longer sermons and more agents in the pews. The GGs? The downmarket guests were giddily pressing their noses to the windows at the Beverly Hilton Hotel gawking at the red-carpet arrivals and sucking on baby bottles of Moet champagne that had helpfully been affixed with small plastic funnels. In the press room -- yeah, baby -- ice-cold bottles of Bud. (Not us.)

Really, it is the silliest awards show -- the prizes are handed out by an organization composed of a hundred foreign hacks filing for publications you've never heard of -- but the fun thing about the Golden Globes is they bring together the Hollywood movie and TV worlds, and where else do you have Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson sharing elbow room with the cast of "Ugly Betty"? It's Burbank meets Brentwood.

The highs and the lows from the red carpet of the 64th annual awards show.
Golden Globes Fashion
The highs and the lows from the red carpet of the 64th annual awards show.

On the carpet, we loved the simple soft hairstyles of the "Big Love" ladies -- no over-sprayed Oscar helmet hair here. Will Ferrell's locks: Very frizzy. Kyra Sedgwick? Very ripe. Hilary Swank? Very solo. Ryan Seacrest of E! pumps Angelina and Brad for intimate details of their pre-Globes ritual and finally succeeds with Jolie offering, "cereal . . . we had cereal." The fashion report: The bold colors of neutral -- black, white, beigey, gray.

The night kicked off with a best supporting actress award for newcomer Jennifer Hudson, fresh off (really, off) "American Idol," who won for her turn in "Dreamgirls," the musical based on the story of the Supremes. Hudson went a bit weepy but in a sweet way. "This goes far beyond anything I could have imagined," she said. "You don't know how much this does for my confidence. It makes me feel like an actress. You don't understand how good that is to say."

Prince was announced as the winner for best original song for his work on the animated penguin musical "Happy Feet." There was a long pause. Then presenter/actor/musician Justin Timberlake said: "I guess Prince couldn't be here. I'd like to accept this award on his behalf." Later, presenter Hugh Grant announced that Prince was in his limo when his award was given. "Very easy to get stuck in your car in this town," said Grant, asking Prince to stand up. His Purpleness was wearing a mustard-colored suit.

FYI, during the commercial breaks, the speaker in the press room continued to bring in sound from the ballroom. It was a roaring sound -- of eating.

Then a surprise? Jeremy Irons took home the Globe for best supporting actor in TV miniseries, for "Elizabeth I," and he said, "This is a nightmare . . . I can't remember your names." Sedgwick won best actress for a television series ("The Closer") and thanked her agent and husband, in that order. Backstage, she said she was shocked and "just happy to be invited to the party."

"I am speechless. I am literally without a speech," said Hugh Laurie, named best actor in a television drama for his role on "House."

He said that in the weeks before the awards show everyone was offering the nominees free shoes, free cuff links, "free colonic irrigations for two. Nobody offers you a free acceptance speech." Laurie, who is English, said backstage that he "has dreamt of being a focus of attention, but also thought it would be as an arsonist." Cradling his second Golden Globe, he said, "I'm starting to feel guilty."

Then, wow. Streep snagged best musical or comedy actress for her turn as the wicked fashion editor in "The Devil Wears Prada." Up on the stage, she put on her specs, unfolded a sheaf of paper and called Fox studios "classy" for donating the clothes from the movie to charities including an outfit called Dress for Success. She described her co-star Emily Blunt as "delicious." Her acceptance speech had everyone cheering and nodding knowingly -- and why not? She's been nominated for a Globe 22 times and won six. This crowd loves her.

Behind the scenes, in front of the huddled press corps, Streep was asked what the devil wears in Hollywood. "Oh, look around you," she purred. Her pre-Globe ritual? "I usually have a couple of drinks." Complimented on how she worked the audience, Streep did a mock shock and said: "Did I really speak for four minutes? God, I hate people who do that." Then a reporter told her she looked 25 years old and Streep laughed and said, "and you're so far in the back, thank you!"

With a diamond stud in his ear as big as a marble, Eddie Murphy, who won for best supporting actor for "Dreamgirls," said he was inspired by the original play and watched a lot of James Brown and Jackie Wilson tapes to prepare for his role as James "Thunder" Early.

About his "comeback" (after a whole lot of Dr. Dolittle), Murphy seemed perplexed when a reporter asked him if he wasn't deeply satisfied by proving his critics wrong -- and turning the tables on jokes made at his expense by the late-night comics. What? Murphy said. David Letterman and Jay Leno were making fun of him? "Have I become that uncool?"

Helen Mirren, a silver fox in blue, got two Globes for playing royalty: in TV's "Elizabeth I" and the big screen's "The Queen." Accepting her first award, she said: "Elizabeth the First would have an amazing speech. I have nothing to say except thank you very much." Mmm, okay.

Meanwhile, when fashion trend-spawner Sienna Miller was presenting Mirren's award, you had to wonder: Are we all going to have to start wearing our hair like Heidi? And Cameron Diaz? Did somebody get into Mommy's lipstick?

Finally, a lick of politics. Peter Morgan, named top screenwriter for "The Queen," posed the question: If 2 million people would camp out after Lady Di's death to get the royals to honor her passing, "what are we going to have to do when it's really important? You have to believe that public protest counts for something." Backstage, Morgan answered questions . . . in German.

The press mob quizzed Blunt, winner of best supporting television actress for "Gideon's Daughter," on her dress choice, and she said, "It was timeless and my boobs looked good in it."

Mirren, off camera, denied that she had a royal bone in her body. "I'm an Essex girl," she said, then offered this joke: "How do you know when an Essex girl has an orgasm? She drops her fries."

Creator Silvio Horta, whose "Ugly Betty" won best television show (musical or comedy), said, "The American dream is in fact alive and well and within reach of anyone." Then the Cuban American from Miami said (in Spanish), "I love you, Mommy."

Clint Eastwood won for best foreign-language film for "Letters From Iwo Jima," and that's good for him, but in your evil little heart, didn't you really want to see Mel Gibson step before the microphone for the bloody Maya chase film "Apocalypto"? Just to see.

"Now that I'm a foreign director," Eastwood said, "I have to learn some languages." (He knows two words of Japanese.) On a serious note, he told reporters that in Japan the battle of Iwo Jima "is totally erased from history. Even Ken Watanabe" -- the film's star -- "in his 40s, he had to research it." Some 21,000 Japanese died on the island. "None of them wanted to be there any more than we wanted to be there," Eastwood said.

The room exploded for 22-year-old America Ferrera of "Ugly Betty," who won for best actress in a TV comedy. She almost started to cry, but no mascara mess. Lots of talk from Ferrera about role modeling for young girls, lots of talk about love and lots of savvy-for-her-age, by-name thanking of producers, creator and co-stars.

"Babel," starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, won for best drama, "Dreamgirls" for best comedy or musical and Forest Whitaker took a gold guy for playing Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland." Martin Scorsese did it for best director for "The Departed," and said he wanted to make a picture in the tradition of the old gangster movies.

Then Sacha Baron Cohen won best actor in a musical or comedy and got some of the biggest laughs of the night. Cohen said he'd seen a dark and ugly thing, "a side of America that rarely sees the light of day . . . The [bleep] and [bleepbleep] of my co-star." It was during that scene -- when Cohen and actor Ken Davitian make themselves into a human sandwich -- that Cohen realized, "I better win a bloody award for this."

© 2007 The Washington Post Company