‘Woman’ stakes claim on gold

Universal’s “Scent of a Woman” caught a whiff of Oscar glory Saturday at the 50th Golden Globes, taking three prizes including best drama and best actor for Al Pacino, while ABC’s “Roseanne” and HBO’s “Stalin” scored big in the TV area, with three awards each.

Warner Bros.’ hard-bitten western “Unforgiven” earned best-director honors for Clint Eastwood and a supporting actor trophy for Gene Hackman from the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.

Emma Thompson, who has already won numerous accolades from various critics’ groups, picked up the Golden Globe as best actress, drama, for the Merchant-Ivory film “Howards End.”

Sitcom “Roseanne” notched victories for best comedy series and stars Roseanne Arnold and John Goodman. Best drama series went to “Northern Exposure.” Regina Taylor and Sam Waterston were TV’s best dramatic actress and actor, both for “I’ll Fly Away.”

“The Player,” Robert Altman’s searing view of today’s Hollywood based on Michael Tolkin’s novel, triumphed in the best musical or comedy motion picture category. Tim Robbins, who played an unscrupulous film producer, was hailed as best actor in a musical or comedy.

Miranda Richardson, the carefree vacationer in Italy in Miramax’s “Enchanted April,” won best musical or comedy film actress.

Richardson’s “April” co-star, Joan Plowright, was a double winner, taking home supporting actress prizes in both film and TV categories. She won for her role as a feisty widow in “Enchanted April” as well as for her performance in HBO’s “Stalin.” That special also earned the miniseries best actor Globe for Robert Duvall and the supporting actor honor for Maximilian Schell.

Buena Vista’s animated feature “Aladdin” won twice: Alan Menken for original score; Menken and Tim Rice for the original song “A Whole New World.”

The voice of Aladdin’s genie, Robin Williams, got a special award for his off-screen performance.

“Scent of a Woman,” also winner of the screenplay trophy for Bo Goldman, was a surprise winner for dramatic film, beating “A Few Good Men,””The Crying Game, “”Howards End” and “Unforgiven.”

The externally cool Pacino, who portrayed a blind retired Army officer, said, “I am surprised but I will go on–as long as there’s life.”

Backstage, Universal’s ecstatic Tom Pollock said the awards would translate into box office for “Scent of a Woman.”

“People will go see the movie: That’s what it means,” he said.

The Golden Globe Awards “have become more and more important over the past five years as a predictor of the Academy Awards,” he said. “We’ve got a shot at it.”

Hot on the heels of “Scent” was helmer Robert Altman’s Fine Line Features release “The Player” with two awards, for actor Tim Robbins and as best comedy/musical pic.

“Player” scripter Michael Tolkin summed up the discrepancy between the Globes’ two best picture categories: “We’re surprised that a film with a murder in it is classified as a comedy or a musical.”

“The Player” and “Scent of a Woman” are this year’s potential Golden Globe candidates for the Oscar’s best picture, with its usual comfortable 50/50 shot.

Lauren Bacall, who received a special lifetime Cecil B. DeMille achievement award, praised her late husband Humphrey Bogart, both on- and offstage, as the man who constituted all the “highlights” of her career.

Catherine Deneuve told the press that she was delighted “Indochine” won the best foreign-language film award. “It’s a great pleasure to see a French film doing well in America.”

Virtually all the European actresses had to answer questions from American press about the lack of good roles for actresses in Yank pictures this year, especially Miranda Richardson.

In a year of sparse roles for women, she starred in “Damage” and “The Crying Game” as well as “Enchanted April.”

Plowright suggested the abundance of Euro femme awards had to do with the fact that Euro writers create “heroines to match the heroes and American films haven’t been so generous to the actresses this year.”

Deneuve conceded that her “Indochine” role was written for her, quietly adding, “It’s always been more difficult for women than men, even in films.”

Following the theme in her acceptance, Thompson said, “If I have a wish left in the world, it’s for the creation of more great female roles.”

One winning woman was Roseanne Arnold, named best actress in a TV comedy or musical series. Joining her in the winner’s circle were co-star John Goodman and “Roseanne” itself.

Accepting his award, Goodman said, “I’d like to thank Ted Danson for 10 years of my favorite show,” saluting “Cheers,” which is going off the air after this season. Danson was also nominated.

“Sinatra,” the saga of the singer’s life produced by his daughter Tina, was named best miniseries or movie made for television.

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