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Golden Globes offer surprises, laughs

Observer Scene | Wednesday, January 18, 2006

“Brokeback Mountain” surprised no one when it won four categories at Monday night’s 63rd Annual Golden Globe Awards, but the evening was still filled with plenty of pleasant surprises and humorous acceptance speeches. The latter may be attributed to the free booze at the awards, an aspect that distinguishes the ceremony from the Oscars.

Unlike the more formal and traditional Academy Awards, the Golden Globes are presented during a dinner party – the food and alcohol give the affair a more festive tone than its counterpart. Presenter Harrison Ford even brought his drink on stage and made co-presenter Virginia Madsen hold it.

Ford’s behavior certainly was not the oddest event of the evening. S. Epatha Merkerson, winner for her role in the made-for-TV movie “Lackawanna Blues,” openly declared she was having a “major hot flash.” Steve Carell, winner for his role in “The Office” on NBC, read a speech he said his wife wrote and was filled with multiple praises and thanks to none other than his wife. And finally, Geena Davis who won for her role as the President of the United States in “Commander In Chief,” told a touching story of a little girl who said that because of her, she wanted to be president. Actually, Davis said, she made the whole thing up, but not before the story garnered admiring applause.

“Brokeback Mountain” took home Best Motion Picture – Drama, and Ang Lee won Best Director for the movie. On the other side, “Walk the Line” won Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, and its stars, Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix, both won for Lead in a Musical or Comedy. Felicity Huffman lost for “Desperate Housewives,” but won Best Actress in a Drama for “Transamerica,” and Philip Seymour Hoffman won Best Actor in a Drama for “Capote,” beating out perennial favorite Russell Crowe and breakout stars Heath Ledger and Terrence Howard.

The television part of the awards offered some shocking upsets, most notably Mary-Louise Parker winning Best Actress in TV Series – Musical or Comedy over four “Housewives” for her role in the Showtime series “Weeds.” Sandra Oh, who got lost on her way to the stage, won for her supporting role in “Grey’s Anatomy” and Hugh Laurie got a win for Fox for his lead in “House.” It was no surprise when “Lost” won Best TV Series – Drama and “Desperate Housewives” won Best TV Series – Musical or Comedy, even though the competition was exceptional in both categories.

With the Globes over, the entertainment industry can now focus on the grand-daddy of them all – the Academy Awards. The Globes often successfully predicts Oscar winners, but too much can happen between now and March 5, as was seen last year when “Million Dollar Baby” beat both Golden Globes winners “Sideways” and “The Aviator.”

Oscar nominees are announced January 31, and two films that were missing from the Globes’ best picture categories – “Crash” and “Capote” – are expected to be among the nominees for the Academy Awards. “Brokeback” may be the current favorite, but the addition of those nominees would put it into a whole new competition that it may not win.

However, the Globes may be dead on for the best actor categories. As of now, Best Actress competition boils down to Reese Witherspoon and Felicity Huffman, and Best Actor comes down between Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix. Now that all four actors have won the Globe, there is no doubt they will be among the Oscar nominees.

Hollywood has only a few weeks to regroup and decide who it wants to crown with Oscar gold, but Monday night was all about the Globes, which has gained significant prestige over the years. Movie and television stars gathered for one night to honor the year’s best and take advantage of the open bar.