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The party-hearty awards show? It could use a dose of revelry

January 16, 2007|Paul Brownfield | Times Staff Writer

WE have a potential situation in this country right now. Brits are playing us in TV shows and movies. Not only are they playing us -- i.e., taking our jobs -- they're taking our awards and thanking people better than we thank people.

I feel certain that O'Reilly or Hannity or Lou Dobbs will be on this issue today.

Hugh Laurie, who won a Globe for "House," in which he solves complex medical mysteries in part by changing his natural accent, was puckish and funny, as was England's Emily Blunt, who won for "Gideon's Daughter" and was nominated for "The Devil Wears Prada."

Sacha Baron Cohen spoke movingly and eloquently of his "Borat" co-star, Ken Davitian, re-creating, in the king's English, their infamous hotel-room wrestling scene

Was he mocking our awards show? I think he was mocking our awards show.

By contrast, Eddie Murphy, one of our greatest comedians, stood there and laid an egg, straining to remember the name Stacey Snider (she's a DreamWorks head) as he accepted the award for "Dreamgirls" and walked offstage.

The Globes are billed as a big participatory shindig, looser than the Oscars (or even the People's Choice), because the stars are at banquet tables, eating and drinking and stealing out during commercials to smoke.

But, through the TV anyway, it didn't exactly feel like the Copa, and it hasn't in recent years. Without a host to deliver an insult monologue, George Clooney began things, walking onstage as if he were about to address the U.N.

He got right to the oh-so-somber and important business: The nominees for best supporting actress in a motion picture.

Hearts were beating rapidly, somewhere. Award shows have become like cable news -- hardly meant to be watched for more than 10 minutes straight. This one, which pre-empted NBC's new hit "Heroes," certainly felt that way, quickly. Soon, you feared, with the Brits winning, this was going to be just as embarrassing as a President Bush-Tony Blair joint press conference about the Iraq war -- two leaders of the free world selling the same thing, one with better diction, word choice and sentence structure. And there in the front row, as he always is, was Jack Nicholson, seeming now like Helen Thomas.

On the red carpet, Angelina Jolie looked miserable and said little as Brad Pitt was interviewed by E!'s Ryan Seacrest.

"Angelina wanted to be in a Third World country" helping little children, a catty E! hostess surmised after the interview had concluded.

That kind of bile was enough to make you wonder: Who owns whom on a night like this? E! had a "glam-cam" on all the dresses (a dramatic pan up the costume), and a ticker running at the bottom of the screen with people's text messages.

Mostly the people texting seemed to love Seacrest, or else they loved Leo or Matt or "Grey's Anatomy." It stood to reason: Who over 15 is going to punch into their phone: "I feel 'Babel' overreached, thematically."

There were, of course, pockets of things that horrified you, a reminder that this might actually be happening in real time, after all. America Ferrera walked offstage after winning for "Ugly Betty" and was promptly asked by an interviewer: "What do you say to all those people who didn't want you to play the part?"

Ferrera acted like a person; she seemed stunned. Then she was graceful. Her own glam cam.


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