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A Golden Evening for 'Dances With Wolves' : Awards: Costner film, 'Cheers,' 'Twin Peaks' take 3 foreign press trophies apiece.


As the tiny, 87-member Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. presented its Golden Globe Awards on Saturday night in Beverly Hills, more than 4,800 ballots for Oscar nominations were in the mail.

If the foreign press group has any message for the voters of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences--and it often does--then Kevin Costner's epic Western, "Dances With Wolves," is the movie that could shine come Oscar night March 25.

Costner, who won a Golden Globe as best director--his first directing effort--alluded to one of those twists of fortune that happen in Hollywood: Less than 10 years ago he was on the cutting-room floor, never to be seen in director Lawrence Kasdan's "The Big Chill." But Saturday night, he wound up on top as his Orion Pictures release collected three gold statues.

"Wolves" also won an award for screenwriter Michael Blake and took the prize for best motion picture drama.

"One night doesn't make a career," Costner said as he accepted his directing prize and acknowledged "all the actors and directors who came before me." Then, pondering the golden statue in his hand, he said: "But it feels as good as you might think it feels."

By winning, Costner, who at one time portrayed Mob basher Eliot Ness in "The Untouchables," mowed down two heavyweight gangland dramas, Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather Part III" and Martin Scorsese's "GoodFellas." Both films had been heavily nominated and "GoodFellas" has swept the critics' awards.

It was a night of "threes" on the television side, too. NBC's long-running comedy "Cheers" took home three prizes: best comedy series, Ted Danson as best actor and Kirstie Alley as best actress. Best dramatic series honors went to David Lynch's ABC series "Twin Peaks," and its leading man Kyle MacLachlan won for best actor and cast member Piper Laurie won for supporting actress.

The 48th annual awards ceremonies at the Beverly Hilton were held amid a tight curtain of security, intensified due to potential terrorist action related to war in the Persian Gulf. Before the show aired live nationally over TBS (it will be repeated tonight at 5 p.m.), guests entering the room had to pass through metal detectors. Not even such stars as Al Pacino, Warren Beatty, Carol Burnett, Faye Dunaway, Shirley MacLaine, Cybill Shepherd, Esther Williams or Howard Keel were exempt.

Earlier, Beverly Hills Police Dept. Lt. Frank Salcido said that, with the Golden Globes show, "there always is a problem with crowd control and a few uninvited guests. In this case, we don't know what to expect, so we're adding a few extra officers."

Throughout the evening, comments about the war prevailed. Hosts Steve Guttenberg and Dana Delany urged all to "pray for peace."

Backstage, British actor Jeremy Irons, who won for best actor for his portrayal of European aristocrat Claus Von Bulow in the courtroom drama "Reversal of Fortune," spoke at length on the subject when questioned by reporters. Irons criticized Western nations for not understanding the Arab mind and the leaders of the nations involved for not meeting at the bargaining table.

Bruce Davison, who won as best supporting actor for the AIDS drama "Longtime Companion," was perhaps the most impassioned when he said: "I have a hope and a prayer that we can devote as much of our intelligence and our intuition and our courage and our will to the war against AIDS as we do in our war against each other."

An emotional high point came midway in the evening as Jack Lemmon received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for career achievement from friends and co-stars Shirley MacLaine and Walter Matthau. To the music of "The Days of Wine and Roses," a teary-eyed Lemmon took to the stage to reflect on his work. "It's really terrific to collect a couple of these little suckers, but I love the contributing. The ultimate joy is the doing of it."

A surprise in the television competition was the tie between Sharon Gless of CBS's "The Trials of Rosie O'Neill" and Patricia Wettig of ABC's "thirtysomething." The NBC/"Hallmark Hall of Fame" drama, "Decoration Day" collected two awards, as best made-for-TV film and for actor James Garner.

Something about the Golden Globes usually attracts the biggest gathering of celebrities annually. Maybe it's because it welcomes stars from film and TV. Maybe because it's an evening of dining and socializing, unlike the the more high-pressured Oscars and Emmys.

Scanning the room, it may have been just a coincidence that Costner and Coppola, who were sitting a few tables apart, yawned within 10 seconds of each other, shortly after the the award for best director had been announced. Maybe they were somehow in sync. The two competitors had breakfasted together only on Friday, Costner told reporters backstage, just to get to know one another.

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