Lady Gaga, Jane Fonda Steal the Show at Golden Globes Banquet

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. had a starry lineup as it handed out $2.1 million to various causes, but stealing the show were Jane Fonda with her ad-libs, Lady Gaga with a one-liner about her nose, and Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro who struggled hilariously to read the TelePrompter.

The occasion was the HFPA’s Aug. 13 Grants Banquet at the Beverly Wilshire, with the org’s new president Lorenzo Soria saying that it was a record handout from the org which annually presents the Golden Globes.

About two dozen stars, who sometimes made presentations singly but mostly in pairs, announced the 55 grantees, most of whom were in attendance.

Early in the evening, Fonda announced several honorees, then introduced the next presenters, Blunt and Del Toro — who were nowhere to be found, leading Fonda to nearly two minutes of ad libs, including the jokey shrug, “Benicio — You look in his eyes and think, ‘Really interesting, but maybe not so reliable’ … But Emily Blunt looks like she’d be on time.”

The two actors entered hurriedly and then struggled to read their presentation, but with such good humor that Jake Gyllenhaal and Jon Hamm gave them a standing ovation.

Lady Gaga, in a white floor-length gown, deadpanned that when previous presenter Jamie Lee Curtis said her name out loud, “I snarfed an olive into my nose and there’s still a teeny, tiny piece in there.”

Curtis had begun the presentations, and set the tone by emphasizing the evening’s philanthropy, but with a loose and joking style. She saluted the HFPA for understanding the convergence of art and business, and of doing good. “Why can’t all show business always be like this? This is actually fun!” She also led a toast to Nadia Bronson, the longtime exec who died last November.

Sarah Silverman, looking pretty spectacular in a low-cut dress, and John Krasinski silently mimed faux banter before announcing a grant to the Silent Film Festival, and Bryan Cranston later thanked Silverman “for presenting her own luscious golden globes.”

The event drew some studio heavy-hitters, including Donna Langley, Nancy Utley, Rob Friedman, Rob Moore, Tom Rothman, Daniel Katz, David Fenkel and Gabriel Hammond.

This year’s event marked the HFPA’s second time as a dinner, as opposed to the annual lunches. The Golden Globes group secured a lineup that also included Halle Berry, Andrew Garfield, Joe Manganiello, Brie Larson, Elizabeth Banks, Ty Burrell, Saoirse Ronan, Ice Cube, America Ferrera, Topher Grace, Jason Isaacs, Dakota Johnson, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Allison Janney and Sophia Bush. As awards season kicks off, their presence inspired a lot of kudos buzz before and during the ceremony.

The HFPA gives to non-profit entertainment-related organizations and scholarship programs, topping last year’s contributions of more than $1.9 million. Over the years, the HFPA has committed more than $19.5 million in 25 years, including grants, more than 1,000 scholarships and restoration of more than 90 films. Soria also mentioned the $2 million given to L.A. City College for the HFPA Center, promising that more philanthropic work will be announced in the coming months.

Nick Jonas kicked off the evening by singing “Wonderful World.”

The 73rd annual Golden Globes will be presented Jan. 10.

This marked the first public appearance by the new slate of officers, including president Soria. He was elected in July, as were Meher Tatna, vice president; Jorge Camara, treasurer; and Serge Rakhlin, executive secretary.

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