The Golden Globes are lauded for being the award season's greatest party, and, from the Beverly Hilton ballroom Sunday night, you could see -- and hear -- why. Every time the show went to commercial, there was an explosion of movement as A-listers loudly barreled toward the bar, the bathroom, the smoking terrace, anywhere to escape the spotlight and television cameras and relax.
At times, the number of people floating through the bar seemed to outnumber the actual audience in the ballroom. The show went live at 5 p.m., meaning dinner (salmon and a mealy dollop of roast) was served at 3:30 p.m., meaning nobody really ate anything before co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hit the stage.
So, in the show's first hour, most in the room made a beeline for the bar, snacking on crackers, cheese, pastries and Godiva chocolate, sometimes bringing back plates of provisions to their tables. Judd Apatow won the award for the evening's best balancing act, precariously carrying two plates of food back into the ballroom, while a bearded Joaquin Phoenix, sporting a pullover sweater, recognized his limitations, emptying a plate of crackers into his mouth before returning to his seat.
If you wanted to be seen -- and didn't care about what won, say, best animated feature -- the bar was the place to hang. Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson spent a good 15 minutes parked in front of the cheese tray, shaking hands, standing for pictures and greeting well-wishers. Tyson was mellow, gracious and clearly eager to schmooze. Nobody posed for more pictures than the champ Sunday night.
Of course, they were handing out awards there too. And the winners -- and omissions -- had people talking. Each time "12 Years a Slave" lost a prize, the whispers grew louder. The presumed Oscar front-runner lost six categories -- supporting actor and supporting actress, screenplay, director, lead actor and score -- and many in the room took note of each one.
So, when the film won the evening's final award, best picture drama, the ballroom erupted, roaring its approval with the night's biggest ovation. It was a pent-up release of emotion for a film that people clearly wanted to win something.
Because as much as some deride the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., nobody likes to go home empty-handed. After winning a Globe for lead actor comedy, a giddy Leonardo DiCaprio practically sprinted offstage. Standing in the wings, he took a moment and gazed at his name on the envelope that presenter Jennifer Lawrence had just handed him before Lawrence embraced him in a bear hug.
Later that night, DiCaprio, celebrated with his mom, Irmelin Indenbirken, at the Weinstein Co. party at Trader Vic's. There he was joined by "American Hustle's" Bradley Cooper and his mom, Gloria Campano, and another multi-generational pair, "Nebraska" acting nominee Bruce Dern and his daughter, Laura.
The noise level remained deafening, but there was comfort in having family close by.