If you think the Golden Globes are an odd program to watch, you should take a look at the actual program--you know, the glossy one they hand out to the stars. It resembles a fancy high school yearbook. It opens with a letter from Arnold Schwarzenegger, who as the governor of California congratulates all the nominees--because he's like the school principal. "I won my first Golden Globe more than thirty years ago," the ex-"Terminator" writes. "I'm still waiting for my second!" Then there's a list of the 81 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the mysterious clique of journalists who vote on the Globes, from countries as far away as Malaysia, Japan, and Australia. Then there's the part that really looks like a yearbook, where a bunch of actors pass on Hallmark-worthy wishes to Steve Spielberg, this year's Cecil B. DeMille honorary winner. "Congratulations and I love you!" writes Dakota Fanning. "You are one in a million," says Goldie Hawn. "I bow to you!" And, of course, Tom Cruise is his characteristically low-key self: "This world is a better place because of the remarkable person you are."
Cruise probably has an equally high opinion of the Globes--after all, the organization is one of the only groups to single out his performance in "Tropic Thunder." But the rest of us know better. While the Globes are billed as a dress rehearsal to the Oscars, they are also an unscripted party with Hollywood's biggest stars--so unscripted in fact that you sometimes can't tell what the heck is going on. That's where we come in. We were backstage at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., where the winners took questions from the foreign--and non foreign--members of the press. Here are 9 things that we learned.
(1) As the evening started, Kate Winslet won best supporting actress for "The Reader," but when she opened her purse to take out her speech, it looked like there was more paper inside. Had she written a second speech for her other nominated performance, in "Revolutionary Road"? "(Those were) blotting papers, to take the shine off your face," Winslet said, slightly defensive. "There is no other speech! I have no further expectations."
(2) Then she won for "Revolutionary Road," too, and we saw that she wasn't lying when she delivered an impromptu, heartfelt acceptance. So why did she only write a speech for "The Reader"? "Because I thought Anne Hathaway was going to win it hands down," Winslet said. "I really feel like this is a dream."
(3) Ricky Gervais delivered a hilarious monologue about sleeping with the entire membership of the Hollywood Foreign Press, and he kept taking a sip of ...something. What was he drinking? "Beer," Gervais said. "But I think somebody put a little crack inside."
(4) As Sally Hawkins walked up to accept her award for best performance in a comedy for "Happy-Go-Lucky," Meryl Streep--who was also nominated in the category--leaned over and whispered something into her ear. What did Meryl say? According to Hawkins, Streep asked, "Are you happy now?!'" Later, Hawkins grinned to a roomful of journalists: "Yes, Meryl. I'm happy!"
(5) When "30 Rock" won best TV comedy series, Tracy Morgan accepted the award, saying, "Tina Fey and I had an agreement that if Barack Obama won, I would speak for the show from now on." Come on, they didn't really make a wager about that, did they!?! "Absolutely," Morgan says. "It's in the contract now."
(6) There were two unintentional f-word moments on the live East Coast broadcast. Director Darren Aronofsky affectionately flipped off Mickey Rourke, and on the pre-show interview, Colin Farrell--who won best actor in a musical comedy for "In Bruges"--accidentally dropped the f-word. Did Colin get in trouble? "I wasn't aware of that at all," Farrell said sheepishly, adding he usually only realizes that he's cursing by the time he gets to the letters "CK."
(7) "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" won best musical comedy, but where was Woody Allen? He stayed in New York; according to one of the film's producers, Letty Aronson, "he's probably sleeping."
(8) Rourke thanked his past and present dogs in his speech for best actor in a drama ("The Wrestler"). How many has he had? At least a dozen, including his Chihuahua Taco Bell, and he has all of their names imprinted on the rings that he wears on his hand, he said.
(9) "Slumdog Millionaire" swept with four wins, including best picture drama. So you'd think the real Hollywood stars would be jealous of its cast of unknowns, right? Maybe not. "I had a funny experience with Angelina Jolie [at a recent dinner]," said Freida Pinto, the film's female lead. "I wanted to go up to her but I didn't want to seem like a creepy girl. I'd just stuck a pastry in my mouth and Angelina Jolie came up to me and said, 'Great film.' Talk about bad timing."