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As Host of the Golden Globes and the Celebrations Afterward, the Beverly Hilton Was More Than Its Usual Glittery Self

January 20, 1998|MARK EHRMAN and BRIDGET BYRNE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The eyes of Hollywood and the world were focused on the traffic-clogged intersection of Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards in Beverly Hills on Sunday night for the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.'s Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton.

As guests streamed out of the auditorium toward the various parties scattered throughout the hotel, the buzz centered around Ving Rhames' handing off his best-actor-in-a-miniseries award to Jack Lemmon and, of course, "Chicago Hope's" Christine Lahti's mad acceptance dash from the bathroom, prompting producer Michael Besman to dub the event, "the spiritual cousin to the Oscars with pee-pee jokes."

The New Line party, in a tent atop the parking lot, peaked early but still provided a few memorable moments. Shirley MacLaine blew in, uttering a pithy, "Where's the food?" She was joined by Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Ellen DeGeneres, Anne Heche, Julianne Moore and New Line's man of the evening, Burt Reynolds, clutching his award for best supporting actor.

"This gives me a chance to play what I've always wanted to do, which is my age," said the actor, whose career was resurrected by "Boogie Nights." "I'm a little tired of holding in my stomach and having Charles Durning come steal the movie and work two weeks and leave. Now, I can have a ball because I'm not a movie star, I'm an actor."

*

Across the way, the Columbia TriStar party looked liked a Mafia wedding--checkered tablecloths, heaps of pasta and pizza, a couple of pool tables, even a tiered "My Best Friend's Wedding" cake under a rose-strewn gazebo, all beneath a transparent tent on the fourth-floor terrace of the hotel.

The picture was completed once a grinning Jack Nicholson, clutching his Golden Globe for best actor in a comedy or musical and a large cigar, was escorted swiftly to a reserved table, where fellow revelers approached to honor him as though he were a don. Stoppers-by included Nicholson's "As Good as It Gets" Globe mate Helen Hunt, Djimon Hounsou, Matt LeBlanc and last year's winner, an ebullient Geoffrey Rush, who said it was the best sort of "therapy" and fun to just be a presenter this time.

On the eighth floor in the hotel's L'Escoffier restaurant and terrace, the Paramount party was a mob scene of a different sort. At one point the elevators, one of which stranded a carload of guests between floors, generating more than a few Titanic comparisons, were spewing out so many people invited and not, that the fire marshal insisted no one else enter. The decor was old-fashioned glamour, lots of white orchids and lilies and white doves in cages.

Sherry Lansing and Rob Friedman found themselves greeting almost the entire cast of "Frasier," as well as Andy Garcia, Gabriel Byrne, Faye Dunaway, MacLaine and everyone in town who felt they had to be at the heart of Hollywood for at least one golden moment.

Just briefly, "Titanic" stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio stopped by.

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It was Miramax, once again striking a noir note with its dark, ground-floor suite, plush red booths and lounge music that proved to host the stamina party of the night. The cast of "Good Will Hunting" and director Gus Van Zant held court, while Madonna, Winona Ryder, Helena Bonham Carter, Jim Carrey, Sigourney Weaver, Dunaway, Lauren Bacall, Peter Fonda, Winslet, DiCaprio and many others paid an extended visit.

The other winner of note at Miramax, Ben Affleck, said winning best screenplay for "Good Will Hunting" took him and co-star / co-writer Matt Damon by surprise.

"All of a sudden, they announced the screenplay category," he said. "I didn't realize they had gotten to that point. I was so overwhelmed that I forgot to actually go up and accept the award when they announced our names. So we sort of sat there dumbfounded and then got up." Then again, he added, "at least I wasn't in the bathroom."

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