The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. finally lived up to its name, handing two Golden Globes to Brit import “The Office” — including best TV comedy series.
And more than a few seraphim were looking out for “Angels in America,” which scored the night’s most Globes, five out of the 11 TV awards. Meanwhile, in its third try, Fox’s “24” won best TV drama series.
But while the “Angels” victories were pretty much considered a shoo-in, “The Office’s” double win took just about everyone by surprise. That includes the critically acclaimed series’ writer-star Ricky Gervais, who was also named best actor in a TV comedy.
“Obviously we didn’t expect this,” exclaimed Gervais, picking up the first of his two trophies. “I’ll keep it. They told me to thank people — I said we weren’t going to win anyway.”
The BBC America laffer repped the first-ever non-American series to be nominated, let alone win, a Golden Globe. Surprise win also marked the cable channel’s first major award of any kind.
Back onstage to collect his second award of the night, Gervais called the wins “ridiculous.”
Wins rep a huge boost both to “The Office” and to BBC America, the Discovery-distribbed cable channel still available in just a fraction of the country.
“I’m not from these parts,” Gervais quipped. “I’m from a little place called England. We used to run the world before you.”
But the win also comes as Gervais has opted not to write and produce a third season of the sitcom, which airs on BBC2 in the U.K. Gervais and co-writer Stephen Merchant recently produced a pair of “The Office” Christmas specials, but Gervais has said he had no plans to continue as the insufferable David Brent character beyond that.
“The Office,” a dry, single-camera mockumentary about an eccentric group of employees at a paper supply company, won against pretty formidable competition: The equally critically acclaimed entries “Arrested Development,” “Monk,” “Sex and the City” and “Will & Grace” (which has been nominated five consecutive times but never won).
Emmy winner “Everybody Loves Raymond” did not warrant a nom.
The show’s victory also presents a mixed blessing for NBC, which is developing a Yank edition of “The Office” for next season. Increased awareness of the BBC America edition might help sell the NBC version — but may also make it an even tougher act to follow.
“Angels in America,” the six-hour Mike Nichols production of Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, scored Globes in every category for which it was nommed: TV movie or miniseries; actress in a mini or movie (Meryl Streep); actor in a mini or movie (Al Pacino); supporting actor in a series, mini or movie (Jeffrey Wright); and supporting actress in a series, mini or movie (Mary-Louise Parker).
Director Mike Nichols was a no-show, watching the telecast from London, but his work on the massive project was cheered by all four winning thesps as they took the stage.
Both Wright and Streep thanked Nichols for his direction on “Angels,” which Streep called the helmer’s “crowing achievement in your astonishing career.” Parker added that “if I loved (Nichols) any more I would explode.”
Streep also thanked the “searingly gifted” Kushner, “whose compassion and rage and love gave birth to this angel’s eye view of what we all can be in America.”
As for “24,” the Imagine TV/20th Century Fox TV drama hasn’t yet won the top Emmy prize, but now enters that race with a touch of momentum thanks to the Golden Globe win.
“I’ve had three years to prepare this speech,” said exec producer Joel Surnow.
The “24” win continues the Globes’ trend of saluting shows before Emmy ever did — even if the Globes, due to their timing, aren’t exactly considered a buildup to the Emmys.
“Sex and the City” may have lost out to “The Office,” but the show did pick up the top actress in a comedy prize, for star Sarah Jessica Parker.
Win repped Parker’s fourth win out of six consecutive nominations. Thesp beat out Bonnie Hunt (“Life with Bonnie”), Reba McEntire (“Reba”), Debra Messing (“Will & Grace”), Bitty Schram (“Monk”) and Alicia Silverstone (“Miss Match”).
Parker, whose show wraps up for good this winter, gave a farewell address of sorts.
“This is for the cast and the crew … 300 people who have enriched my life and changed my life, and I have felt incredibly privileged to be in your company, and I will miss all of you very much,” she said.
The surprises came early on the TV side, as thesp Anthony LaPaglia (“Without a Trace”) won the Globe for actor in a TV drama.
LaPaglia beat out last year’s winner, Michael Chiklis (“The Shield”), 2002 winner Kiefer Sutherland (“24”) and 2001 winner Martin Sheen (“The West Wing”) as well as William Petersen — whose “CSI” serves as “Without a Trace’s” Thursday night lead-in.
“This is so amazingly unexpected,” said LaPaglia, who rushed back on stage following his acceptance speech, having almost forgotten to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press org.
“Six Feet Under’s” Frances Conroy, a first-time nominee, continued the HBO series’ winning streak, meanwhile, scoring the top actress in a drama prize.
Conroy beat out past winner Jennifer Garner (“Alias”), as well as Emmy winner Allison Janney (“The West Wing”), Joely Richardson (“Nip/Tuck”) and newcomer Amber Tamblyn (“Joan of Arcadia”).
“I extend my eternal gratitude to (series creator) Alan Ball for giving me this lovely role,” she said. “This is a very joyous moment.”