The surprise showing of "Scent of a Woman" as best dramatic picture and its star Al Pacino as best actor in a dramatic role at Saturday night's 50th Golden Globe Awards adds a new twist to the Academy Awards race for best picture Oscar.
The film, in which Pacino plays a blind retired Army lieutenant colonel, picked up a third award for Bo Goldman's screenplay. In doing so, it zapped such big Oscar favorites as "A Few Good Men," "Howards End" and "The Crying Game." But another Oscar favorite, Clint Eastwood's Western "Unforgiven," won two Globes, for director Eastwood and supporting actor Gene Hackman's portrayal of a corrupt sheriff.
"No one cares about the Golden Globes except all of Hollywood," was the quip that one studio publicist made during the star-studded ceremonies. "The myth that it foretells the Academy Awards is so often confirmed."
That notion may have occurred to Rob Reiner, who directed "A Few Good Men." He was overheard to joke to Lauren Bacall after the ceremonies: "Well, we were the big losers tonight." His film had been nominated in five categories and won in none.
Just how much a prognosticator the awards are may be revealed today when the Directors Guild of America announces its annual award nominees. The DGA prizes are Hollywood's oldest and most reliable Oscar indicator.
The Golden Globes, which are also given for television, were spread among such other films as "Aladdin," "Enchanted April" and "The Player," with each collecting two prizes. In television, the top winners were the ABC situation comedy "Roseanne," CBS' dramatic series "Northern Exposure," HBO's drama "Stalin," CBS' biopic "Sinatra" and NBC's dramatic series "I'll Fly Away."
Despite the smallness of the Golden Globes sponsor, the 85-member Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., the entertainment industry turns out en masse each year, giving the show a nearly unmatched luster of celebrities and ranking executives among awards events. Fans crowding the Beverly Hilton Hotel's motor entrance find themselves surprisingly close to the stars.
Inside the ballroom, the mingling reaches a festive frenzy. Tom Cruise stopping to greet Bacall, Robin Williams and sunglass-clad Jack Nicholson roaming the tables, Sony Pictures Entertainment's Peter Guber and Walt Disney's Jeffrey Katzenberg making the rounds. One could catch a glimpse of rocker Jon Bon Jovi slipping out a little early or Rosanna Arquette and Mariel Hemingway watching the proceedings intently.
"It's informal and you can get drunk," laughed actress Shirley MacLaine in answer to a question about why so many of Hollywood's top names make the scene.
Actor Gregory Peck, who had introduced Bacall as the winner of this year's Cecil B. DeMille career achievement award, said the show's draw is it's pre-Oscar timing. "In some ways this show used to be more fun when it was corrupt, but now it's honest," he said with a reference to the storied history of the foreign press association and past rumors of votes being "bought."
Peck described Saturday's show as "more authentic" than most awards. "The right pictures and the right people, not the most commercial, not the blockbusters, but the most artistic films and performances won."
A somewhat dazed Joan Plowright called it the "luckiest night of my life" as she picked up two awards. The British actress won as best supporting actress for her work in the romantic "Enchanted April" and for her supporting role in the television movie "Stalin."
Walt Disney Pictures' blockbuster animated musical "Aladdin" was cited for its Broadway musical-style score composed by Alan Menken and for best song written for a film, the ballad "A Whole New World," by Menken and lyricist Tim Rice.
Robin Williams, who created the voice of "Aladdin's" Genie, received a special Globe citation. But, after the show was over, Williams confessed he was baffled by the award's design--a graphic illustration of a man with a square cut in the middle of the body. "Maybe it has something to do with the 'Toys' ad campaign," he said, referring to his recent poorly received film.
The Globe voters also were clearly fond of Robert Altman's biting satire on Hollywood, "The Player," as they gave the film the prize for best comedy or musical film. Tim Robbins as the ruthless movie producer was named best actor in a comedy.
It was also a good night for the British. Besides Plowright and lyricist Rice, Emma Thompson, who has virtually won every major critics' association prize for best actress of 1992, was named best actress in the drama "Howards End."
Another British actress, Miranda Richardson won for her starring role in "Enchanted April" in the comedy or musical category.
The French were not overlooked as "Indochine," starring Catherine Deneuve, was named best foreign language film.
Pacino said he was unaccustomed to winning. He has been nominated for Oscars six times previously and nearly a dozen times for Globes, but had never won.