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Golden Globes: Funny Woody Harrelson was ‘liberated from concern’

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If the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. grows weary of Ricky Gervais’ act, they might want to think about bringing in Woody Harrelson as host next year.

Harrelson’s self-deprecating humor at Thursday morning’s Golden Globe nominations announcement earned more laughs than any joke Gervais told during January’s ceremony. Example: When Gerard Butler finished reading the nominees for best motion picture actor drama, a list that did not include one particular actor from the fine indie film “Rampart,” Harrelson could be heard off-camera asking, “Didn’t you leave one name off, Ger?”

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Then, when his turn at the podium came, Harrelson utilized the comic timing he honed during all those years on “Cheers.”

“Best motion picture drama,” Harrelson said, pausing before announcing the nominees. “ ‘Rampart’ ... opens Jan. 27,’ he teased, leading the viewers to think ‘Rampart’ had been nominated before plugging its opening. ‘Um … but I don’t see it on the list … there’s a lot of things left off today, I just want to say,” he went on.

Talking by phone after the nominations, Harrelson admits to feeling a little freer once he realized he wasn’t nominated.

“I was liberated from concern,” Harrelson says. “I knew I didn’t have to worry about offending anyone anymore.”

Asked about the HFPA’s oversight (“now that’s a beautiful word”) of his bad-cop thriller, Harrelson laughed. “It doesn’t matter to me. I don’t even want to get drawn into the caring about awards. It feels weird to be in competition with your fellow actors or other films. It’s just friggin’ lucky to do this. I don’t want to get into thinking that we deserve more.”

Given that he woke up at a quarter-to-four to make it to the Beverly Hilton, Harrelson sounds pretty wired during our conversation. Coffee?

“No, I don’t drink much coffee, and I’ll tell you why,” Harrelson says. “A couple of years ago, sittin’ where we live in Maui, they have this biodynamic coffee that’s as clean as it gets. So I said, ‘What the hell. It’s grown right there on the farm where we’re sitting.’ So we had some and it was about noon. And, literally, at midnight I was still bouncing off the walls. I called it a ‘happy cup.’ And I try to stay away from the ‘happy cup,’ except on special occasions.”

So what‘s the secret for his buoyant energy?

“Today I took a nap,” he says. “Coffee ain’t gonna do what a nap can do for you.”

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-- Glenn Whipp


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