Last night's live broadcast of the 61st annual Golden Globe Awards was a salute to the best in entertainment in '03. But was the ceremony itself entertainment deserving of a salute? To answer that $64,000 question, TV Guide Online put the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's black-tie back-slap to the test, bestowing upon it points for every moment that genuinely amused us... and taking them away whenever we had to pop a No-Doz. Sixty credits (out of a possible 100) were needed to earn a D-minus. So, did the to-do make the grade? Read on to find out. We stayed up late to do the math for you, people; the least you can do is read our review!
Presenter No. 1 Meryl Streep announced, "I've never opened an envelope before." Which must make answering her fan mail quite a challenge. (One point.) Later, accepting her own award, she made a stunning discovery: "I just realized you can see completely through my dress, so now I'm standing with [my legs] closed." (Four points — two for her droll delivery of the line, another two for the priceless reaction shot of dirty dog Jack Nicholson, grinning from ear to ear.) The Angels in America triple threat even worked in a plug for gay marriage. (One point.)
Mr. Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, proved that he has his priorities in order. "The good thing about this coming early," he said of his victory, the first of the evening, "is I get to drink now." (Three points — one for the quip, one 'cause we could've used a cocktail, too, and yet another because lush living became a running joke: "Now," cracked Anthony LaPaglia after his win, "I can drink with Tim.")
The cast of Sex and the City color-coordinated their pastel dresses, giving the impression that they were channeling the good fairies of Sleeping Beauty. (One point — which is immediately negated because Sarah Jessica Parker, pretty in gray, didn't get the memo.) Speaking of fashion, our hats off to "woman of a certain age" Frances Conroy for giddily defying convention by going strapless. (One point.) Oh, and for the same gown, our blinders on. Defying convention is one thing, Frances; thumbing one's nose at good taste? Quite another. (Minus one point.)
Quirky Renee Zellweger refused to look at the camera when her name was called as a nominee. Bizarre behavior, wouldn't you agree, for a chick who makes her living being filmed? (One point — tee-hee.) She then took so long to fish out of her purse her acceptance speech that, before she arrived at the dais, the applause had all but ended. (One point — har-har.) Even more embarrassing, by the time she was done thanking her "rock and inspiration," we were wondering if there was any more cereal in the cupboard. (Minus one point — zzz!)
When not mugging — for the camera, we mean — Sean Hayes committed another petty theft, of Dick Clark's thunder. During a stilted between-awards interview with the Jurassic Carson Daly, the Will & Grace huckster deadpanned, "I don't know who you are." (One point.) He wasn't done, either. After W&G lost its bid for Best TV Comedy Series, Hayes joined his castmates in toasting their failure. Somewhere, we're sure Tim Robbins was smiling. (We would have drunk to that — three points.)
Somehow, our favorite crack-up, Ellen DeGeneres, managed to introduce Finding Nemo's clip without making a single joke. We're not sure she even smiled. (Minus five.) Luckily, Robin Williams was in better form, setting up Master & Commander's scene by likening the sea to Paris Hilton: "cruel, unforgiving, wet." (Three points.) He also suggested that Russell Crowe's waterlogged epic was quite possibly "the best film of its kind besides Popeye." (One point.)
Self-proclaimed "rediscovered eccentric" Diane Keaton stared, mouth agape, completely and totally stunned to see her Something's Gotta Give boy toy, Keanu Reeves, presenting an award with Uma Thurman. Like, did she think because they made a movie together, they were going steady? (One point.) But the gloved one didn't really hit her stride until her own acceptance speech, during which she got out the "s" word before the censors could bleep her and mortified her other leading man, the ordinarily unflappable Jack Nicholson, by revealing that their combined age is 125. (She's 57, if you want to break out your calculator.) (Ten points — one for shock value, nine for the entertainment value of shocking Jack Nicholson.)
Bill Murray reassured the restless crowd that his acceptance speech wouldn't go on and on. For one thing, "I fired my agents last week." For another, "My physical trainer killed himself." (One point.) Then, by tossing off the extravaganza's most incisive remark, he proved that he still walks the razor's edge. He would've thanked the studio execs behind Lost in Translation, he quipped, clutching his statuette, "but there's so many... trying to take credit for this, I wouldn't know where to begin." (Ten points.)
Royal dieter Sarah Ferguson sat through the entire affair, beaming. Because, after all, she was so good this year in... um... er... OK, what the heck was Sarah Ferguson doing there?! Sure, she's from merry olde England and all, but weren't there any of the Dames who act available to set up Love, Actually's clip? Preposterous. (Minus three.) Mind you, we don't have anything against the Brits. We love 'em, in fact, and were stoked to see Fergie's compatriot, Ricky Gervais, not only in attendance, but making two trips to the winners' circle. "I'm not from these parts," BBC America's Office manager said by way of introducing himself. "We [English] used to run the world before you [Yanks]." (Three points.)
We've got to give the kudocast's camera work a big ol' thumbs-down. Only the lensing of The Blair Witch Project made us queasier and more disoriented. (Minus three points.)
Jeffrey Wright copped to the neurosis that anyone who's ever dated an actor knows all too well. "I thought when they sat me on the far side of the table," the Angels in America standout observed, "[it meant] I didn't win." (One point.) The generous thespian then went on to give credit to his fellow nominees. "I share this with you," he insisted, "but I'll keep it at my house." Guess now we know at whose home charity begins. (One point.)
The entire viewing public made a whole lotta bosom buddies, whether they wanted to or not. Perhaps because a lowkey J.Lo was still in mourning over her broken engagement to Ben Affleck — and, as a result, came more or less clothed — Marg Helgenberger, Cate Blanchett and Jennifer Aniston all dared to go darn near bare. (Three points, which we must immediately double for obvious reasons — six points total.) At least Mary-Louise Parker had a sense of humor about her walk down Mammary Lane. "Janel Maloney said she'd pay me a thousand dollars," she admitted, "if [in my acceptance speech] I thanked my newborn son for my boobs looking so good in this dress." What next? Bottomless Oscars? (Five points.)
Not every starlet came dressed for a skin flick. Take Nicole Kidman, for instance. She seemed to want to go au naturel, but chickened out at the last minute, stretching what looked like gauze across the large, empty "V" that made up the front of her outfit. Even with that safety net in place, she was uncomfortable and had to adjust herself while on stage. See ya on the worst-dressed list, sweetie. (One point — because who doesn't love to see the rich and famous humiliate themselves?) On the flip side, Charlize Theron appeared to have shown up on the red carpet straight from heaven itself. Too bad she had to open her mouth and emit the most unsettling yowl since Howard Dean's. (One point.)
Danny DeVito made us wish he worked more. Or at least worked more often in movies we'd actually go see. Talking about Cecil B. DeMille Award recipient Michael Douglas, the crotchety hobbit said he'd known his pal "longer than some of your wives have been alive." (One point.) Even funnier than DeVito's shtick was watching the man of the moment try not to squirm during Sharon Stone's leg of the introduction. Wouldn't you be nervous if the heiress apparent to loco Farrah Fawcett was given you as a topic of public conversation? (One point.) Unfortunately, once Douglas got the mike away from his Basic Instinct bedmate, he droned on so, we'd almost have preferred to watch Disclosure again. Behind his shades, even Jack Nicholson seemed to be nodding off. (Minus five points.)
Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson apologized to the Foreign Press Association for having "dropped the standard [of beauty] on the red carpet." (One point.) But, hey, at least the average Joe's hobbits loved him. When he gave them their props, Elijah Wood and Co. came closer to crying than we did when the extraordinary Lee Pace didn't go home a winner for Soldier's Girl. (One point.)
Mr. Magoo put in an unexpected appearance as Al Pacino. So doddering was Angels in America's goateed Roy Cohn that we wondered if he'd been sipping out of Sharon Stone's glass. Which would have been interesting enough, had the chatty Cathy known when to clam up and sit down. (Minus three points.)
At last — proof that big stars are only human! During a serious and heartfelt acceptance speech by the winner of the Best Foreign Film prize, the kind of thought-provoking address we know should make us lean in and listen up, Nicole Kidman looked positively dumbstruck. And Melanie Griffith? For once, the camera was in the right place at the right time: She was caught giggling! (Three points.)
Jim Carrey turned up bald. Why not? (One point.) He saved his best joke for his announcement of the Best Motion Picture, Comedy, though: "And the winner is... Elf." Yes, very biting, Jim. We're sure you provided Will Ferrell with some invaluable food for thought as he heats his home with money earned off of the blockbuster. (One point.)
So, how did the Globes fare? The so-called "party" award show netted a measly 42 points — a failing grade. Guess this means Tinsel Town will just have to start cramming and do it all over again in 12 months. Bottoms up!
For a complete backstage report from the Globes, click here.