The Golden Globe Awards presentation Sunday was a night that Chicago producer Marty Richards won't soon forget, although he was sure he'd forget — and did — many names of the people who'd helped put his project on track over the years.
I was at the the 60th anniversary of the Golden Globes from opening to close, and I can tell you that what the television audience didn't see in the ballroom at the Beverly Hilton made for the best entertainment.
For one thing, time quickly became a factor in the show — it was running long, as usual. During the commercial breaks, producer Dick Clark would get on the p.a. system in the house and urgently plead with the nominees to keep their acceptance speeches short.
He would say, "You have forty-five seconds — keep it brief," in dire tones. This struck Tom Hanks as funny; he started mimicking Clark from his banquette, cracking up everyone around him, including his wife Rita Wilson.
Then there were the smokers, sneaking out to the terrace overlooking the front of the Beverly Hilton. Nicole Kidman and her director, Stephen Daldry , got out there as soon as possible.
"Don't tell anyone," Nicole said — so I'm just telling you, dear readers. Harvey Weinstein followed.
They found all sorts of people outside, including young Australian actor Heath Ledger, who complained that "people keep calling me 'Keith Fletcher.'" TV star Simon Baker, aka The Guardian, and his wife reminisced with Kidman about days Down Under.
In the ballroom, the celebs floated around to the bathrooms, the bar and anywhere else to relieve the tension of slogging through all the categories.
Larry David, who won for his wonderful HBO series Curb Your Enthuasiasm, convinced Michael Keaton to come on the show as a guest star. Keaton told me, once David was out of earshot, that a sequel to Beetlejuice was being written, and that Tim Burton will produce but not direct this time.
The Sopranos' Edie Falco happened by at some point before her category was called, and when she opened her mouth no sound came out.
"I have laryngitis," she mimed to me, so I gave her the one thing she needed: a zinc cough drop. It did the trick, and when she won Falco's voice improved greatly.
When she returned from the stage I gave her one more, although fellow winner Michael Chiklis bent her ear for about 10 minutes rhapsodizing about her performance in the Sopranos series finale.
At the same time, two other TV stars met for the first time — Eric McCormack of Will & Grace and Matt LeBlanc of Friends. They were getting on like a house on fire until an unimpressed security guard told them — for what seemed like the 200th time — to "clear the way and keep this area open."
"But this is Matt LeBlanc," McCormack pleaded to no avail. Once David Arquette joined them, they were shooed back to their seats.
I ran into Six Feet Under star Rachel Griffiths, who just got married to artist Andrew Taylor. For some reason Rachel was not seated with the rest of the cast, so when she stopped by Six Feet Under 's table she showed off her ring to Michael Hall and Lauren Ambrose, who were there representing the cast.
At another table nearby, the gang from Sex and the City were all getting along great and celebrating Kim Cattrall's win for Best Supporting Actress. Sarah Jessica Parker was there with Matthew Broderick, as were Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis .
SJP told me she's been able to get a lot of sleep since her baby James Broderick was born 11 weeks ago. "He can go from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m., and that's not so bad," she said.
There were plenty of other people of note floating around the ballroom. Oscar winner and all-time diva Faye Dunaway , displaying ample cleavage, told me she was off to Russia this week.
Why? "I have an appearance there," she said. Hey, why not?
And so what about the awards themselves? It was no surprise that Chicago and The Hours took home the Best Picture statues, but some of the choices of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association ran true to form for other reasons.
The group likes to award big-name stars because their imprimatur is used for overseas releases. So Jack Nicholson's win for Best Actor in a drama and Richard Gere's for a musical comedy were not unexpected.
However, their wins, as well as Renée Zellweger's, are likely to be considered payment made by the Oscar academy. My guess is Daniel Day-Lewis and Nicole Kidman will be the ultimate acting winners in March.
Then there was director Martin Scorsese, who until tonight had never won a Golden Globe — or an Oscar. His win was met with a thunderous standing ovation.
I think this will repeat at the Academy Awards. He told me, "I really didn't think I was going to win. I didn't even get to say what I wanted — I just stopped short when they told me to wrap it up."
What Scorsese was going to do, he told me, was praise the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in its film preservation efforts. He handed me his folded, typed list of eight titles saved by the HFPA, including Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory and Samuel Fuller's Shock Corridor.
On the back of the list, which I will frame, are Scorsese's handwritten reminders of people to thank, all tidily assembled in groups like cast, writers, Miramax folks and crew.
Tomorrow: more from the Globes and all the parties....