At the Globes, It's One Big Party

Hollywood, Hollywood, let down your hair.

At the Golden Globes (search) this Sunday night, with good food aplenty and liquor flowing freely, TV audiences will be treated to that very phenomenon.

"The Globes are the biggest party in Hollywood every year," said Tom O'Neil, author of "Movie Awards" (search). "It's the only time when the film and TV industries get together, pop champagne corks and get crazy."

The Golden Globes are known as the naughty little sister of the stuffy Oscars (search), and they're a lot more amusing to watch, with all the cocktail sipping, stage stumbling, flirty fashion and general silliness that occurs.

"The unpredictability, the informality, the spontaneity — everything conspires to make the Golden Globes a much more fun piece of entertainment than the Oscars," said Neal Gabler, Fox News Watch panelist and author of "Life: The Movie" (search).

Past Globes shows have borne witness to everything from Joan Crawford and Bono uttering the F-word on stage to Jack Nicholson dropping his pants and Renee Zellweger getting held up in the bathroom when her name was called to accept an award.

"At the Globes, anything can really happen because they're all juiced up," said O'Neil, who has attended the Globes and the Oscars. "You feel you're at a cousin's wedding, rather than some great vaulted Hollywood event."

While the Oscars are a more formal, alcohol- and food-free production with attendees sitting in auditorium seats, the Globes are a dinner-banquet affair, with guests seated at tables eating a full meal and drinking limitless booze. There's an open bar at the back of the room and champagne at all the tables.

"It's more intimate," said New York City publicist Norah Lawlor, who owns Lawlor Media Group (search) and has attended both awards shows several times. "It's like you're at a huge sit-down dinner event."

The rules are also more lenient about bathroom and cigarette breaks at the Globes than at the Oscars, where people are encouraged to remain in their seats.

"At the Globes, you can't control people's bodily functions while the food and wine are flowing, so they're pretty loosey-goosey that way," said O'Neil, who runs awards prediction Web site "And a lot of (stars) are out puffing away in the circular drive. You can be out there with Russell Crowe and all the other heavy smokers."

Though it's a black-tie affair, Globes fashion is fairly anything-goes. It was at last year's show that Sharon Stone wore a Dominatrix-style dress and an emaciated Lara Flynn Boyle raised eyebrows outfitted in a bizarre pink tutu.

"It's formal attire, but with that naughtiness," O'Neil said.

Even the speeches are wilder. At last year's Globes, Bono dropped the F-bomb (as in, "this is really, really [expletive] brilliant"), which is still causing waves at the FCC. And once, an inebriated Rita Hayworth also went on a four-letter-word tirade.

"How bubbly the speeches get is determined by how much bubbly the winners imbibe," said O'Neil. "There have been moments like Oliver Stone giving embarrassing rants about legalized drugs while he looked like he was on Planet Neptune. People say things on the Globes stage that they never would say anywhere else."

When Jim Carrey won the Best Actor in a Drama Globe for his turn in "The Truman Show" in 1999, he made some memorably goofy remarks — even for him.

"This is serious," Carrey said. "It's going to be so hard to talk out of my [expletive] after this — but I'll manage."

Despite the fact that the Globes tend to make better television, more viewers hold parties for the Oscars and join gambling pools predicting the winners.

"Part of it is tradition and part of it is because it's the official award of the industry," Gabler said of why the Oscars inspire more viewer involvement.

The Globes are actually reminiscent of a bygone era in Hollywood, when all the major awards shows were like dinner parties, according to O'Neil.

The Oscars dropped their banquet format during World War II out of respect for the soldiers and other people suffering because of the war. The Emmys and Grammys canceled theirs in the 1970s because the open bars were causing problems.

"The Globes are the last holdouts," O'Neil said. "They never changed. It's a wonderful throwback."