Former President Bill Clinton introducing best picture nominee "Lincoln"… (Paul Drinkwater )
Jodie Foster's speech had the Golden Globes ballroom in such a tizzy Sunday night that the crowd seemed to almost quickly forget the other surprise moment of the evening: when former President Bill Clinton came onstage. As he began to speak about the difficult process of passing a piece of legislation, it became clear he was there to take the idea of awards campaigning to the next level. A onetime U.S. president was there to actively stump for "Lincoln."
Before the clip package shown for each of the drama nominees during the night, Clinton introduced "Steven Spielberg's extraordinary 'Lincoln.'"
Clinton may have been speaking at the Globes, but he was perhaps hoping to be heard by Oscar voters, who will soon be casting their votes for Academy Awards.
Clinton and Spielberg have a long-standing relationship. At the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Ark., is a painting of the Statue of Liberty by Norman Rockwell that was a gift from Spielberg and had hung in Clinton's Oval Office.
After Clinton left the stage, host Amy Poehler came back onstage and, in the flavor of her "Parks and Recreation" character Leslie Knope, noted, "That was Hillary Clinton's husband." Host Tina Fey added: "That was Bill Rodham Clinton!"
Asked how Clinton's appearance was arranged, two representative of DreamWorks refused to discuss the details, saying only that the former president came in by plane at 5 p.m., just as the show was starting, and he was coming into town for another event for his charity work.
Rupert Murdoch, attending the show with wife Wendi Deng, wasn't that wowed by Clinton's appearance.
“Spielberg is so desperate to win tonight that he called in all his IOUs and flew Bill Clinton across the country,” Murdoch snipped.
Asked after the show how Clinton's appearance was arranged, Spielberg sidestepped the question. "You'll have to ask the Hollywood Foreign Press," he said.
Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. members cast their ballots a week ago, so the president's appearance didn't have any influence on the voting. In the end, "Lincoln" didn't walk home with the best picture (drama) trophy -- the prize went instead to "Argo."
'Lincoln' leads the pack
Foreign category flies to France
5 things to be gleaned from the Golden Globe nominations
Follow Mark Olsen on Twitter: @Twitter