It may have been a black-tie Hollywood affair, but country was king at Monday night's 63rd annual Golden Globe Awards, with top awards going to the Western-themed cowboy love story "Brokeback Mountain" and the Johnny Cash biopic "Walk the Line." The night also belonged to movies with gay themes, thanks to wins by "Brokeback," "Transamerica" and "Capote."
The normally loose and unpredictable evening was sedate by past standards, but George Clooney got the event off to a rollicking start when he won the first award of the night for his portrayal of a CIA operative in the political thriller "Syriana." Sporting a short, spiky haircut and traditional tux, Clooney flashed his signature smile and said, "This is early. I haven't had a drink yet. I'm up here alone, I don't know how to handle it." Clooney slyly thanked disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff during his speech, sliding in a ribald shot about the unfortunate combination of the first and last half of the Washington insider's name.
But, as predicted, the night belonged to "Brokeback Mountain." An hour and a half into the broadcast, the film about a forbidden love between two ranch hands (Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal) broke the seal on its show-topping total of four awards with a win for best screenplay. Western novelist Larry McMurtry and writing partner Diana Ossana accepted after an introduction by actor Harrison Ford, who forgot to ditch his drink before coming onstage.
"Brokeback" director Ang Lee beat out such heavyweights as Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg and was clearly humbled to accept the best director award from past winner Clint Eastwood. "Getting this award for this movie from the man is too much," he said. "It's embarrassing for me to say because I spend so much time making movies that I get too uptight, too critical to enjoy them, especially my own. This year I have seen and loved many of my colleagues' films. ... I think this has been an amazing year for American cinema. I want to give my first thanks to my fellow filmmakers for strengthening my faith in movies, in the power of movies to change the way we're thinking."
The film also won for best dramatic picture and best original song for "A Love That Will Never Grow Old," with lyrics by longtime Elton John wordman Bernie Taupin, who praised the song's vocalist, country legend Emmylou Harris, and dedicated the win to Martin Luther King Jr. on the national holiday honoring the slain civil-rights leader.
After being thrust out of her seat by husband Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon was glowing onstage while picking up her best actress in a musical or comedy award for her role as June Carter Cash in the Johnny Cash biopic "Walk the Line." "My husband just hit me so hard I almost fell over," she said, smiling. "This film is really important to me because it's about where I grew up and the music I grew up listening to."
Joaquin Phoenix was up a short time later for his portrayal of Johnny Cash in the film. "Who would ever have thought that I'd win in the comedy or musical category?" he said with a grin. "[Here's] to John and June for sharing their life with all of us."
In the press room afterward, Phoenix added, "It's really surreal. It's wild. Honestly, it means more to me than I had imagined." He also explained that Phillippe had bet the brooding actor would win the award and Phoenix put up the amount he had in his pocket: $220 (see "Joaquin Loses A Bet, Clooney Eyes Heath And Golden Globes Parties Rage On"). According to Phoenix, Phillippe was awaiting payment as the actor came offstage. "Walk the Line" also won for best musical or comedy film.
"Brokeback Mountain" wasn't the only film to tackle a controversial gay-themed subject. "Desperate Housewives" actress Felicity Huffman won best dramatic actress for her role as a pre-op transsexual in "Transamerica." A flustered Huffman said, "I know as actors our job is usually to shed our skins, but as people our job is to become who we are. I would like to salute the men and women who brave ostracism, alienation and a life lived on the margins to become who they really are."
Philip Seymour Hoffman also won for portraying a gay character — "In Cold Blood" writer Truman Capote. The actor upset leading favorite Ledger for the best dramatic actor award and was humbled by the win. "I wish there was a podium so you wouldn't see my knees shaking," he said. "I was given the best part of my life and I know that." Afterward, Hoffman was asked about celebrating the award for the "Capote" win. "I'm not nearly as good a partygoer as Truman Capote was," he confessed. "I'll try and be myself, which isn't nearly as entertaining."
Sandra Oh gave an emotional speech after winning the best supporting TV actress Globe for "Grey's Anatomy." Struggling to find a clear path to the stage, the "Sideways" star stammered, "I-I-I-I feel like someone set me on fire. ... This is fantastic, look at all you people!"
Chameleonic Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers won lead actor in a TV miniseries for his portrayal of Elvis, and Geena Davis gave one of the most emotionally gripping speeches of the night ... if only it were true.
"As I was coming in I felt a little tug at my skirt and there was little girl maybe 8 to 10, in her first party dress, and she said, 'Because of you I want to be president some day,' " said the "Commander in Chief" star, who won for best actress in a TV drama. "Well, that didn't actually happen, but ... but it could have."
"Lost" was named best TV drama, and funnyman Steve Carell was a winner for best TV comedy actor for his annoyingly clueless boss in "The Office." The rising comedy star read an acceptance speech that he claimed was written by his wife, Nancy, which, appropriately, thanked her four times.
In one of the night's biggest upsets, a giddy Mary-Louise Parker accepted the award for TV comedy actress, besting all four of the "Desperate Housewives" she was up against. Parker, who plays a suburban pot-dealing mom, giggled as she thanked her cast, including co-star Elizabeth Perkins, saying she wanted to make out with all of them. The scheming housewives got their revenge, though, with a win for best TV musical or comedy, beating out such hot contenders as "Everybody Hates Chris" and "My Name Is Earl."
A visibly pregnant Gwyneth Paltrow presented the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award to Anthony Hopkins, calling him the "[Laurence] Olivier of our time," in reference to the man many consider the greatest actor of the 20th century. The man Paltrow dubbed the greatest actor of our generation was humble in his speech, thanking everyone from the hair and makeup crew on his movies to the driver and other "anonymous people who work harder than anyone."
Getting a bit misty, Hopkins said, "It's been a great life, and I'm not through yet. Ready when you are, Mr. DeMille."
The Globes, voted on by a small group of mostly freelance writers for foreign publications, are considered to be good predictors of the winners for the March 5 Academy Awards.
Winners at the 63rd annual Golden Globe Awards:
- Best Motion Picture - Drama: "Brokeback Mountain"
- Best Director - Motion Picture: Ang Lee, "Brokeback Mountain"
- Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: "Walk the Line"
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama: Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Capote"
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama: Felicity Huffman "Transamerica"
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: George Clooney, "Syriana"
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Rachel Weisz, "The Constant Gardener"
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Joaquin Phoenix, "Walk the Line"
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Reese Witherspoon, "Walk the Line"
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Paul Newman, "Empire Falls"
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Sandra Oh, "Grey's Anatomy"
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama: Geena Davis, "Commander in Chief"
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama: Hugh Laurie, "House"
- Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV: "Empire Falls"
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy: Steve Carell, "The Office"
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy: Mary-Louise Parker, "Weeds"
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, "Elvis"
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television: S. Epatha Merkerson, "Lackawanna Blues"
- Best Screenplay - Motion Picture: Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, "Brokeback Mountain"
- Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy: "Desperate Housewives"
- Best Foreign Language Film: "Paradise Now"
- Best Original Score - Motion Picture: John Williams, "Memoirs of a Geisha"
- Best Original Song - Motion Picture: "A Love That Will Never Grow Old" from "Brokeback Mountain" (music by Gustavo Santaolalla, lyrics by Bernie Taupin, performed by Emmylou Harris)
- Best Television Series - Drama: "Lost"
- Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award: Anthony Hopkins
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