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Posted on Mon, Jan. 20, 2003
`Chicago' big winner at Golden Globes

Chicago Tribune

(Fixes slug)

(KRT) - Let us now praise the Golden Globes.

Many of the movies contending for the Globes, including the big winner "Chicago," haven't even been released in most of the country yet. And really, we already knew what films were going to do well this awards season, ever since the major studios unleashed their Serious Films with all the subtlety of the Allies on D-Day. Plus, it's easy to take potshots at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the folks who give out the Globes, because, really, who the heck are those people?

Well, I submit that none of that matters. We don't watch the Globes because they have anything to do with reality, because, let's face it, reality is overrated. We watch the Globes because they are all about Fabulousness. We want to know who wore what, who came with whom, how genuine the teary acceptance speeches seemed, and most important, what are the stars doing with their hair? And in these categories, the Globes show is usually a winner.

Still, as every aspiring starlet worth her Versace gown knows, there's always room for improvement. So we herewith throw out a few suggestions to the Globes folks and to the stars who make all the fabulousness possible:

Gotta take my hat off to Richard Gere for providing one of the loosey-goosey acceptance speeches that the Globes are famous for. Calling the Hollywood Foreign Press Association "a deeply eccentric group of people," was a bold move, and calling indie-film barracuda Harvey Weinstein, producer of "Chicago" (which picked up three awards, including Gere's for best actor in a musical or comedy), "a kind and gentle man"_well now, that is comedy.

OK, being serious here for a moment: We love the Globes not just for the fashion, not just for the often silly acceptance speeches, but for the genuinely surprising choices the group sometimes makes. Cases in point: Michael Chiklis winning as best actor in a TV drama for "The Shield"_perhaps not such a surprise after his Emmy win_and the FX show beating perennial favorites "The West Wing" and "The Sopranos" as best TV drama; and Martin Scorsese winning as best director for "Gangs of New York." That win wasn't completely out of left field, but all the pre-show chatter was about "The Hours" and "Chicago," so it was nice to see the Globes folks' kudos spread the love among several pictures.

Halle Berry aside, being a celebrity doesn't give one the God-given ability to work the red carpet fashion. Meryl Streep admirably led the kooky "Adaptation" to two awards, but puuuuh-lease, the average PTA mom at a high school graduation looks better than Streep did at the Globes. Memo to Meryl: A matronly sequined top over black slacks is not improved by a mysterious panel of fabric floating down from your behind. She may not have won anything "since the Pleistocene era," as she put it, but goodness, has she shopped since then? (Bonus points, though, for using the word Pleistocene correctly in a sentence.)

If the one alleged purpose of this award ceremony is to tell us what film will take top honors at the Oscars, kudos to the Globes folks for keeping us guessing. "Chicago" did well, but only won three of the eight awards it was up for, so there was no clean sweep there. The other front-runner, "The Hours," was up for seven awards and surprisingly only won two (for Nicole Kidman as best actress in a drama and best drama). However the plucky outsider "Adaptation" also won two (Streep's and a supporting award for Chris Cooper), as did "About Schmidt" (one for best actor in a drama for Jack Nicholson, who, in his sixth Globe win, provided his usual entertaining speech; the other statue was for best screenplay). So this year especially, the Globes were really just about fun and giving famous people more statues to put on the mantlepieces in their homes.

Joan Rivers, what have you wrought? I'd take a parade of horrible, outlandish and downright Bjork-esque gowns over the array of boring basic black on display at the Globes. Diane Lane, Renee Zellweger, Nia Vardolos, Jennifer Aniston and scads of other stars need to fire their stylists and start providing the glamour again! Sharon Stone's black gown had a few more frills and baubles, but yikes, it looked as if she borrowed it from a down-on-her-luck madam.

If I had to choose between boring and bad, I almost preferred Cameron Diaz and Beyonce Knowles, in dresses that wouldn't have looked good at my prom in 1983, and the groan-inducing mother-and-daughter duo of Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson, the former a frothy Heidi-goes-to-bondage-camp ensemble, the latter in a hippie-dippy rag that would fit right in at a youth hostel in Katmandu. These actresses may have had horrible taste, but at least they weren't in the inevitable black cocktail gowns. And to everyone who wore pantsuits (Queen Latifah and Sarah Jessica Parker, I'm talking to you), proceed directly to fashion jail. Catherine Zeta-Jones deserves kudos for appearing to be genuinely happy for Renee Zellweger when the latter won as best actress in a musical comedy for "Chicago," a category in which the two ladies competed. Nobody saw Zellweger's upset win coming, least of all Zellweger, who knocked over a chair in her excitement. I could have done without the 10-minute acceptance speech, but hey, the gal was hyperactively happy.

Special recognition for environmental awareness goes to Lara Flynn Boyle, who recycled her third-grade ballet recital outfit, tutu and all, for the Globes. Another earth-hugger: Tony Shalhoub, the surprise winner for best actor in a TV comedy, ended his acceptance speech by intoning, "God bless planet earth." Well, alrighty then.

A Marcel Marceau-style shoutout to Edie Falco, who won as best actress in a TV drama. The poor thing had laryngitis, and her acceptance speech was as short and sweet as it was inaudible.

Note to the Globes folks: Put the injured folks up front. By the time Jennifer Aniston, she of the broken toe, hobbled up to the front of the ballroom to accept her award for best actress in a comedy series, the poor girl had aged visibly. Let's hope she heals quickly, because the "Friends" victory lap shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.

Kim Cattrall taught the fashion lightweights a few tricks in her fire-engine red vavoooooom gown, and she also got in a zinger when she won as best supporting actress in a comedy series: "You wouldn't believe how many men I had to sleep with to get this." Rimshot!

Some grooming notes: Eric McCormack, we know you figured that "Will & Grace" wouldn't win for best television comedy, but sweetie, could you have taken the time to shave? And speaking of strange accessories, what was up with Nicole Kidman's doorknocker earrings? Did they ride in a separate limo and get their own gift bag?

Not surprisingly, Larry David, star of HBO's acidic comedy "Curb Your Enthusiasm," had the funniest acceptance speech of the night. "I suspect the wife will be a little forthcoming tonight," he intoned as he accepted the award for best comedy TV series. "Thank you, Hollywood Foreign Press, for what I hope will be a memorable evening."


© 2003, Chicago Tribune.

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Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

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