Seven years ago, "Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson put all his hopes in two little hobbits, and that gamble has worked out better than anyone could've imagined. "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" took home all four awards for which it was nominated — including best director and best dramatic picture — at the 61st annual Golden Globe Awards Sunday night.
The first trilogy ever to receive best picture nominations for each of its films, "Rings" finally captured the prize this year, beating out "Cold Mountain," "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World," "Mystic River" and "Seabiscuit."
Other big winners included Sofia Coppola's "Lost in Translation," Clint Eastwood's "Mystic River" and, in a surprising twist, the BBC comedy series "The Office." At the top of the list of conspicuous losers was Tim Burton's "Big Fish," still an arguably triumphant return following his critically shellacked last effort, "Planet of the Apes," and Anthony Minghella's Civil War drama "Cold Mountain," which only garnered best supporting actress honors for Renée Zellweger.
Leading the pack in the television categories, HBO collected seven of its 20 nominations, no small feat in a year when Sarah Jessica Parker was the only "Sex and the City" cast member to win a statue and when two of the cable network's hit series, "The Sopranos" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm," were not even eligible. But HBO's "Angels in America," the miniseries based on Tony Kushner's Tony Award-winning play, was the real TV story of the evening.
With awards for best actor, best actress and best supporting actor and actress, the miniseries owned the night, and AIDS — the disease at the root of Kushner's story — came to the forefront in most of the winners' speeches, with best actress winner Meryl Streep commenting that she did not think two people wanting to commit to each other and athletes using steroids were our country's biggest problems (a reference to the president's State of the Union address, which this year denounced gay marriage and did not pledge new efforts in the fight against AIDS).
"Friends," which along with "Sex and the City" will celebrate its final season this year, walked away empty-handed.
Kicking off what already promises to be an awards season rife with surprises, the Golden Globes went over with all the standard jokes — several references were made to the flashing "wrap up" sign — and one or two priceless moments. Accepting her award, Streep unashamedly admitted, "I just realized you can see completely through my dress, so I'm standing with them together."
And in an unforgettable reference to television's hottest farmgirl, presenting "Master and Commander" in the best picture category, Robin Williams intoned naughtily, "This is the sea as I know it — true, unforgiving, wet — much like Paris Hilton."
Notable winners at the 61st annual Golden Globes:
- Best Motion Picture - Drama: "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (Click for photos)
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama: Charlize Theron - "Monster"
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama: Sean Penn - "Mystic River"
- Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: "Lost in Translation" (Click for photos)
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Diane Keaton - "Something's Gotta Give"
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Bill Murray - "Lost in Translation"
- Best Director - Motion Picture: Peter Jackson - "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"
- Best Screenplay - Motion Picture: Sofia Coppola - "Lost in Translation"
- Best Television Series - Drama: "24"
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama: Frances Conroy - "Six Feet Under"
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama: Anthony LaPaglia - "Without a Trace"
- Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy: "The Office"
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy: Sarah Jessica Parker - "Sex and the City"
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy: Ricky Gervais - "The Office"
For a complete list of winners, visit www.hfpa.org.