Golden Globes a fun diversion in tough times

Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:23am EST
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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The economy might be in the toilet, but it's heartening to know that at least the Golden Globe Awards are back in top form.

Following last year's writers strike-fueled press conference, the 66th annual Globes delivered with heart, soul and even a little political incorrectitude, proving to be the rare kudofest that left viewers feeling almost satisfied.

The show also represented an increasingly rare winning moment for NBC, which seems determined to become the analog alternative in a digital world. It put on a seamless telecast that was noteworthy for its lack of bells and whistles -- a welcome thing at a time when having camera shots emerge from the rafters seems to be a virtue.

What the Globes show has over the Oscars telecast, and pretty much any of the other major awards ceremonies, is its dogged focus on the winners. It is gloriously dressed down: no live renderings of the best song nominees, no interminable clip packages, no self-flagellating monologues or self-serving quips from a smug host. In fact, there's no host.

The victors get to speak as long as they desire without being played off by an orchestra, and bravo for that. And the only special honor of the night, presented to Steven Spielberg, turned out to be one of the evening highlights with the guest of honor's graceful and classy acceptance.

There were a few times toward the end when the music did pipe up, but that was because bewitching hour was near. But earlier, even the mega-long-winded Colin Farrell got to yammer on as long as he wanted to. And that was just fine. A few of the winners alluded to the teleprompter's instructing them to "wrap it up," then went on to ignore or defiantly dismiss it -- most notably Kate Winslet, whose second of two triumphs on Sunday night was a genuine highlight.

The celebrated "party atmosphere" of the Globes often is cited as a refreshing side note, but it also happens to be true. In the main, those who took to the stage to accept their statuettes on Sunday were far more excited that blase, the most fervent examples being Winslet, "Happy-Go-Lucky" star Sally Hawkins (who seemed to be in a surrealistic fog of joy) and pretty much everyone associated with the big winner "Slumdog Millionaire." The sheer enthusiasm was infectious.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

<p>People make their way down the red carpet at the 66th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California January 11, 2009. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>