Kudocast runs smoother than usual

For better or worse, the Jan. 20 Golden Globe Awards signaled that kudocasts are back to normal.

Of course, there’s nothing “normal” about any kudocast. But after the toned-down Emmy Awards and the subdued startup AFI Awards on Jan. 5, the 59th annual Golden Globes indicated that things were the same as a year ago.

In the entire evening, there were only two subtle references to Sept. 11. No one referred to the recession, or the work slowdown last year due to strike fears. No one talked about the troops overseas. When director Danis Tanovic accepted his award for the Bosnian “No Man’s Land,” voted best foreign-language film, he eschewed political statements and simply praised distrib MGM/United Artists.

Sarah Jessica Parker, winning her third consecutive Globe as actress in a comedy TV series, saluted a litany of names and then added thanks to New York City, which she dubbed the fifth lady in the skein.

As in the past, studios and networks gave lavish parties after the Globes — such fetes were absent from Emmy and AFI fetes — and the talk was about the awards, not about politics.

As for the winners: Well, if you want to win a Golden Globe next year, the formula seems to be to mix Aussie and U.S. talent and to air the results on HBO.

“A Beautiful Mind,” Universal/DreamWorks’ bio from Imagine Entertainment, won for drama film, actor Russell Crowe, scripter Akiva Goldsman and supporting actress Jennifer Connelly. Director Ron Howard and Brian Grazer accepted the pic award.

Fox’s “Moulin Rouge” triumphed for best musical/comedy, for actress Nicole Kidman (who was a double nominee this year) and composer Craig Armstrong. Six other films won one apiece. Miramax also scored a trio of prizes, for three different films.

On the TV side, HBO reveled in six wins, including a surprise victory for drama series “Six Feet Under.” The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. often likes to reward newcomers, which it did in most of the TV acting races; the only TV repeats were HBO’s third consecutive wins for comedy series “Sex and the City” and star Parker.

ABC nabbed three wins, while Fox and TNT took home one apiece. One of the biggest winners of the evening was Australia, thanks to writer-director Baz Luhrmann (who accepted the award for “Moulin Rouge”), Kidman, Crowe, and TV victors Judy Davis and Rachel Griffiths. Accepting the award for best musical or comedy, director and co-producer Luhrmann smilingly thanked “the entire nation of Australia, who was in the film.”

Another of the evening’s big winner: L.A. limousine services. Guests for the event and after-awards parties, all held at the hotel, were told that parking at the BevHilton was not an option: They could either park several blocks away and be shuttled, take a cab or limo. Naturally, many chose the limo route.

Before the event, the security promised to be horrific. Journalists were fingerprinted in advance for their passes; everyone was told to expect an hour’s wait.

As it turned out, the event was run smoothly, with only short lines for the metal detectors, friendly security staffers, and a shuttle service that proved more efficient than valet parking.

The show’s only real gaffes were committed in the production booth. The cameras couldn’t stop showing the impressive selection of celebrities in attendance, but frequently couldn’t find particular people who winners mentioned while at the podium. As for winners and presenters, alas, they were on their best behavior.

That’s too bad, because part of the fun, for both attendees and TV viewers, has always been the party mood, the spontaneity, the looseness.

Indeed, Dagmar Dunlevy, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., took the stage at the Beverly Hilton Intl. Ballroom and said the event is “now referred to around the world as the Hollywood party of the year.”

And it’s been true in recent years. Only at the Globes would you have such moments as Christine Lahti and Renee Zellweger, in separate years, in the ladies’ room when their name was called, or Elizabeth Taylor laughingly fluffing her duties as a presenter, or Ving Rhames giving up the Globe he’d just won to fellow nominee Jack Lemmon.

But this year, everyone was poised and for the most part stuck to the script. Is it possible that the Globes have gotten slick and polished? Say it ain’t so!

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