It wasn’t an easy night at the Golden Globes for former couples trying to get away from each other.
Take Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz, for example. When the former realized the latter was working the red carpet, he disappeared through a back door at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, only to re-emerge a little later when Diaz was done with her interviews.
But later, at the InStyle/Warner Bros. party avoidance wasn’t so easy. At one point, Justin went over to say hello to Diaz, who was sitting unromantically with Leonardo DiCaprio. The two tipped Champagne classes as a measure of good will, and Timberlake sat down for a moment to join the pair.
Famed photographer Kevin Mazur flew into action and attempted to take the picture of the trio. But when the subjects realized what was happening, they all started making the “cut” signal. Alas, we shall never see this picture in People magazine, for whom Mazur was shooting.
But then again, there are a lot of pictures from the Golden Globes we won’t see in People or US Weekly. The reason? Both giant circulation celeb journals were denied access to the red carpet or the Beverly Hilton ballroom by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
I’m told that one of their members, a photographer named Munawar Hosain, refused them access, preferring both magazines buy their pictures from a little known agency called Zuma Press.
On its Web site, Zuma has over 1,000 pictures already posted from this year’s Globes. They have the same number from last year’s show, as well. But they have none from the Academy Awards — ever. Most of their celebrity photos are pictures from events staged by the Hollywood Foreign Press.
When I asked over a dozen well-known photographers last night if they’d even heard of Zuma Press, the answer was no. But soon you’ll be seeing their credit in all the major celeb books, meaning ka-ching for someone.
Otherwise, the Golden Globes were notable for the people who didn’t show up. “Volver” director Pedro Almodovar, who’s been ubiquitous up until now promoting his wonderful Spanish language movie, was conspicuously absent. Star Penelope Cruz brought her father as a last minute replacement.
Almodovar was wisely tipped off in advance that the ridiculous HFPA members were going to give Clint Eastwood’s “Letters from Iwo Jima” their Best Foreign Language Film award because it was made mostly in Japanese.
Don’t get me wrong. I loved Eastwood’s film. But it doesn’t belong in that category. Luckily this cannot happen at the Academy Awards next month, because the Oscar goes to a foreign film submitted by a country.
The Academy will work overtime to correct this terrible snub of Almodovar, as well as the other foreign directors who were pushed aside to make room for the HFPA’s devotion to Hollywood star Eastwood (you would think since they call themselves the Hollywood “Foreign” Press, they’d have gotten this distinction.).
Meanwhile, the back entrance of the Beverly Hilton became even more interesting than the front for a while before the show began. George Clooney sneaked in and told me all about his meeting with Kofi Annan last month after Clooney, Don Cheadle and two Olympic athletes visited China and Egypt on behalf of Darfur.
“We had an excellent meeting,” the star said, “and since then there seems to be an improvement in deliveries of food and supplies. I think we made a difference.”
His eyes actually twinkled when he said it; Clooney is passionate about this cause. Did he bring the Olympians to China as a suggested threat of a boycott of the Beijing games unless China got with the program?
His eyes twinkled again. “We just thought they’d help get the message across,” he said, and invited me to follow him backstage to keep talking.
Of course, the Globes people would have none of that! So we will hear more from Clooney soon on this important matter.
Before we could turn around to see what was happening up front, more action. First the appearance of Luenell, the actress who played the prostitute in “Borat.” She is real, folks, but she’s an actress.
“I auditioned for the part,” she said. “Check out my Web site. I do stand-up comedy.” She was so convincing, she deserved a Golden Globe, I said. In person, she closely resembles her character, too.
Just then, "Borat" star Sacha Baron Cohen appeared, and, upon seeing Luenell, looked a little green. They had an awkward reunion. A fan off to the side tried to memorialize the moment with a picture.
“No, no,” said a publicist. “He doesn’t like to have his picture taken out of character.”
Later, Luenell and her male companion, each carrying large gawdy gold goblets that somehow got through the metal detector, held court upstairs at the elegant FOX viewing party that overlooked the Hilton campus.
“Azamat gets to go the ceremony,” Luenell said wistfully of her fellow character in the film.
Indeed, actor Ken Davitian — who I told you in the last column had not been invited to the Globes by Cohen or the film company — did wind up at the show and on camera.
He told me that during the afternoon, a member of the HFPA spotted him at the Hilton and gave him a tour of the ballroom set-up.
“He asked me where I was sitting later, and I told him I didn’t have a ticket. Immediately, he ran and got me two tickets.”
When Davitian turned up for the show, this same member, photographer Theo Kingma (the HFPA boasts more camera-snappers than actual journalists) whisked Davitian backstage to meet Cohen. That was where they worked out their little routine should Cohen win — and he did — Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical.
Forest Goes Commercial; Helen Hears a Who
Forest Whitaker isn’t letting his win as Best Actor in a Drama get to his head. And while he’s waiting for his Oscar nomination and expected win, he’s going back to work.
At the 20th Century FOX party — where company prez Jim Gianopolous was grinning a lot over the many wins and nominations — Whitaker told me about his next project.
“I’m shooting — directing — a Cingular commercial this week,” he said.
Whitaker, of course, is an accomplished feature director of movies like “Waiting to Exhale” and “Hope Floats.”
“I’ve got to make some money,” he joked.
“The Last King of Scotland,” for which he’s getting all these accolades, was a small independent film and an arthouse release, basically, with a miniscule $3.7 million take after three months in theaters.
Look for FOX Searchlight to stage a huge DVD campaign in March after Whitaker wins the Oscar. ...
Meantime, Best Actress in a Drama winner Helen Mirren (for “The Queen”) arrived at the HBO party after doing the press room rounds. Mirren also won Best Actress in a Mini Series for HBO’s “Elizabeth I,” so Miramax more or less piggybacked on the bigger gala.
Mirren is weary from being asked the same question endlessly — “Has Queen Elizabeth seen the movie?” — so I asked her a more pressing question.
“Has Elizabeth the first seen the mini series?” I asked.
Mirren replied, deadpan, “Yes, she has. She loved it. She said it was the best she’d ever been played in a film,” said Mirren, which would be high praise from the Virgin Queen, since Cate Blanchett was nominated for an Oscar playing her in 1998, and Dame Judi Dench won an Oscar for playing her in 1999.
The HBO party, which was not so popular last year, turned out to be the early hot spot last night.
Jeremy Irons, sans wife Sinead Cusack, arrived quickly and chatted with a pretty young lady.
Jeremy Piven — who lost to Irons because they should never have been in the same category — came with his mom.
“I’m happy to lose to Jeremy Irons,” he said graciously and sought the elder actor out. “My mom loves him.”
The whole cast of “Big Love” arrived, including Bill Paxton, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Ginnifer Goodwin.
Mark Wahlberg led the “Entourage” entourage — shut out but winners anyway when the show resumes in April following “The Sopranos” — with Kevin Connolly.
And Los Angeles Police Commish Bill Bratton stopped by with attorney wife Rikki Kleiman, who just played a judge on CBS’s “Shark.”
“She’s not a nice character,” Rikki said.
Meanwhile, the Weinstein Company regained its party footing at Trader Vic’s with an old-school A list gathering that recalled the halcyon days of real-Miramax.
Harvey Weinstein was stuffed into a booth with comedian Tim Allen and a bunch of young actors, including Zach Braff (Weinstein distributed his “Garden State” a couple of years ago).
None other than News Corp.’s own czar Rupert Murdoch (News Corp. is the parent company of FOXNews.com) with wife Wendi took the banquette next to Weinstein, where he told me over the din, “It’s wild in here.”
It sure was. A panoply of bold-faced names came and went, including rocker Bryan Adams, Sharon Stone, child star Abigail Breslin, Sienna Miller, Christian Slater, Jon Voight (making the scene with his young “niece”), Ludacris, Bai Ling and so on mixed it up.
Mischa Barton arrived with boyfriend Cisco Adler, laying to rest rumors of their breakup. Was she surprised that “The O.C.” was cancelled, I asked?
“Nooooo,” she said. “They killed me off.”
I offered that she had been the main attraction. “That’s what I think they discovered," she said.
More tomorrow from and about the fun, if meaningless, Golden Globes. ...
The Saturday night parties are still reverberating. Jason Binn’s soiree for Los Angeles Confidential was a hit, with Penelope Cruz, Alec Baldwin and a dozen different stars packing the VIP area at the Westwood W Hotel. …
HBO’s annual Chateau Marmont event remains the jewel of the Globes weekend. HBO Films prez Colin Callender welcomed a raft of celebs from Dennis Quaid to Helen Mirren, Taylor Hackford, Sacha Baron Cohen and fiancée Isla Fisher, Chris Rock and Brett Ratner among those who made the scene.
And many of the HBO revelers arrived late, after an elegant supper at the Hollywood Hills home of New Line Cinema’s grand pasha Bob Shaye.
Admiring the Shayes’ art collection were his partner and pal Michael Lynne with wife Nina, the aforementioned Ratner and his “Rush Hour” star Chris Tucker, Hollywood guru-ette Dani Janssen, famed record producer Richard Perry, Oscar-winning composer Howard Shore, “Little Children” star Jackie Earle Haley, “Pan’s Labyrinth” director Guillermo del Toro and “Upside of Anger” director Mike Binder, whose new film, called “Reign over Me,” starring Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle, is getting a lot of good buzz before its March release.
And here’s some news: Pearl Jam has recorded The Who’s old hit, “Love, Reign Over Me” for the soundtrack.