Saturday night's Golden Globe Awards was an awards show with surprises--which in itself is pretty surprising. Cher showed up in a demure outfit, Marlee Matlin arrived with a new boyfriend, and Sammy Davis Jr. shared the stage with David "Talking Head" Byrne.
Add to that the fact that most of the winners actually showed up.
But even more curious was that, in a movie year filled with so many critically acclaimed blockbusters that the Oscars are up for grabs, Bernardo Bertolucci's historical saga "The Last Emperor" was able to sweep four of the top categories, including best director and best drama, while James L. Brooks' five-time nominated "Broadcast News" was shut out entirely.
Immediately whispers spread through the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton that perhaps the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which bestows the awards, hadn't understood enough about the American TV news industry to appreciate Brooks' film--a charge that several of the journalists shrugged off. (Then, again, this is the same crowd who honored Pia Zadora as new star of the year in 1982.) No matter, because the foreigners knew what they liked.
And they liked "Moonstruck," naming Cher as best actress in a comedy and Olympia Dukakis as best supporting actress, and choosing John Boorman's "Hope and Glory," as best comedy.
Though noting privately that he hasn't seen any of the competition ("I'm going to the movies this week"), Bertolucci was cautiously optimistic about "The Last Emperor's" Oscar chances. "If everybody says it will win, then everybody has the responsibility of making it happen," he said spiritedly.
Still, he's clearly not taking any chances. In his acceptance speech for his Golden Globe as best director, Bertolucci admitted consulting a witch doctor in Zanzibar last week who told him to get to America pronto .
Unexpectedly, Robin Williams captured the best actor in a comedy award, but he was in New York hosting "Saturday Night Live."
"If he was here," said presenter and close buddy Christopher Reeve, "there would be no telling what he'd say."
While Dukakis held back tears during her acceptance speech, Cher was defiant. Looking debutante-like in a black velvet gown with nary a hint of decollete or belly button, she answered the crowd's huge roar of approval for her award by comparing her fans to those of the New York Jets football team. "They've taken so much for being my fans," said the actress, who at the last minute skipped the New York Film Critics awards banquet in order to attend the Golden Globes ceremony. "But you guys have hung in there--and here we are!"
And so was everyone else--or maybe it just seemed like that. Once the ugly duckling of the annual awards derby, still the less influential stepsister to the Oscars, the Golden Globes by mixing film and TV honors settles for the respect of paparazzi because of the huge field of stars who show up year after year. And this year's group was a bumper crop.
For instance, Sir Richard Attenborough presented the Cecil B. DeMille Award for outstanding contribution to the world of entertainment to Clint Eastwood, who praised this year's abundant number of "big screen-sized" productions as in keeping with DeMille's tradition. "And it's a pleasure to see that," Eastwood observed.
But make no mistake. The real charm of the Golden Globes usually isn't its high-mindedness; it's the preponderance of over-exposed flesh, over-done jewelry and over-the-top lingerie masquerading as evening wear among the attendees.
Sally Kirkland, named best actress in a dramatic film for "Anna," captured the unofficial "I-was-poured-into-my-dress tonight" title won by Justine Bateman at the Emmys last year. Cybill Shepherd ("Moonlighting" co-star and newlywed Bruce Willis didn't show up) showed off her post-twins figure with a "Gone with the Wind"-like prom dress, while Pam Dawber paraded her still-ongoing pregnancy in a jumper number.
But the best outfit of the evening belonged to Tracey Ullman, who touted it on "Late Night with David Letterman" the day before and then went on to trounce three Golden Girls to win best actress in a TV comedy series.
Looking like Shirley Temple (or was it Betty Boop?) in a white pique-and-petticoat Thierry Mugler party dress that Ullman teamed with red polka-dot pumps and red chiffon hair bows, she sounded as if tough contract negotiations are coming up soon with the Fox network.
Queried backstage if she would ask Fox chairman Barry Diller for a raise, Ullman said determinedly, "Well, he better give me a nursery for my child!"
Another surprise was Dabney Coleman's award for best actor in a TV comedy series. Genuinely stunned, Coleman stopped blowing cigar smoke long enough to stare at his award and cynically remark: "Gee, I thought it would be a little bigger than this."
But an emotional Susan Dey, winner of the best actress in a TV drama series category for "L.A. Law," declared, "Well, I don't know. It's big enough for me."
The legal wrangling that has surrounded "L.A. Law" also hovered around its Golden Globes honors, including the award for best dramatic TV series. Series stars like Jill Eikenberry admitted during the dinner that they missed co-creator Terry Louise Fischer, who was forced off the series last year. Executive producer Steve Bochco cursorily thanked Fischer in his acceptance speech by lumping her with the series' other writers and producers.
Asked backstage if there was any hope of a reconciliation with Fischer, Bochco threw up his hands and declared with determination: "She's gone."
Dey also seemed convinced that Bochco, too, was leaving the series. "Steven, I'm going to miss you," she said.
Yelled Bochco from his seat, "Where am I going?"
"Oh, I've heard the rumors," Dey declared. Later, she said she mistakenly thought Bochco's much publicized series deal with ABC meant he was leaving the NBC show.
But Bochco publicly confirmed that "I'm not going anywhere."
There were the usual number of surprise couples. Marlee Matlin showed she has found a replacement for dumped boyfriend William Hurt--Richard Dean Anderson ("MacGyver"), whom she met three weeks ago on a hotel elevator in Calgary.
Anderson admitted he was "slow" at learning sign language but determined. "It's dumb not to know any. It's like living in Southern California and not speaking Spanish," he said.
"L.A. Law" sleazy divorce specialist Corbin Bernsen came with new steady Amanda ("I'm the next Catherine Deneuve") Pays of the now defunct "Max Headroom." And a very blonde Rosanna Arquette arrived with "Gaby" supporting actor Lawrence Monoson.
In the category of just plain fun couples, Tom Selleck and new bride, Jillie Mack, wore his 'n' hers tuxedos. How could you tell them apart? She had on the double-breasted jacket, he had on the white vest. And James Woods kept an arm-lock on his fiancee, Sarah Owen, all night, eager to show everyone the multi-carat engagement ring she had on over her glove.
Though Sally Kirkland didn't arrive with anyone of note, she certainly didn't intend to leave that way. Addressing all 88 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., she declared in her acceptance speech, "I want to take each one of you home tonight."
Now that was another surprise--at least to the overseas press.
Best motion picture, drama: "The Last Emperor," Helmdale Film Corp./Columbia Pictures.
Best director, motion picture: Bernardo Bertolucci, "The Last Emperor."
Best performance by an actor in a motion picture, drama: Michael Douglas, "Wall Street."
Best performance by an actress in a motion picture, drama: Sally Kirkland, "Anna."
Best motion picture, musical or comedy: "Hope and Glory," Columbia Pictures in association with Nelson Entertainment and Goldcrest/Columbia Pictures.
Best performance by an actor in a motion picture, musical or comedy: Robin Williams, "Good Morning, Vietnam."
Best performance by an actress in a motion picture, musical or comedy: Cher, "Moonstruck."
Best performance by an actor in a supporting role in a motion picture: Sean Connery, "The Untouchables."
Best performance by an actress in a supporting role in a motion picture: Olympia Dukakis, "Moonstruck."
Best foreign language film: "My Life as a Dog," Sweden.
Best screenplay, motion picture: Mark Peploe with Bernardo Bertolucci, "The Last Emperor."
Best original score, motion picture: Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Byrne and Cong Su, "The Last Emperor."
Best original song, "(I've Had) The Time of My Life," (from "Dirty Dancing"), Franke Previte, Donald Markowitz and John DeNicola.
Best TV series, drama: "L.A. Law," 20th Century Fox, NBC.
Best performance by an actor in a TV series, drama: Richard Kiley, "A Year in the Life."
Best performance by an actress in a TV series, drama: Susan Dey, "L.A. Law."
Best TV series, musical or comedy: "The Golden Girls," Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions, NBC.
Best performance by an actor in a TV series, musical or comedy: Dabney Coleman, "The 'Slap' Maxwell Story."
Best performance by an actress in a TV series, musical or comedy: Tracey Ullman, "The Tracey Ullman Show."
Best mini-series or TV movie: tie, "Escape from Sobibor," Rule/Starger Co., CBS, and "Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story," Lester Persky Productions/ITC Productions, NBC
Best performance by an actor in a mini-series or TV movie: Randy Quaid, "LBJ: The Early Years."
Best performance by an actress in a mini-series or TV movie: Gena Rowlands, "The Betty Ford Story."
Best performance by an actor in a supporting role in a series, mini-series or TV movie: Rutger Hauer, "Escape from Sobibor."
Best performance by an actress in a supporting role in a series, mini-series or TV movie: Claudette Colbert, "The Two Mrs. Grenvilles."