Lord of the bling-bling

Hobbitses and half-naked starlets dominate the proceedings at Hollywoods classiest affair, the Golden Globes. A color commentary.

Published January 26, 2004 5:19PM (EST)

7:00 p.m. Another day, another awards ceremony to distill down to its essence for our distinguished readers. I'm showing some restraint by not tuning in at 4 p.m., when Joan Rivers and her mutant clones begin apprehending the innocent on the red carpet with tales of adoration and shared podiatrists.

7:01 p.m. I never have cared too much about you, Golden Globes. You're like Jessica Simpson to the Oscars' Britney Spears. But like Jessica, you do have your cheesy charms, like sneaky shots of stars chatting each other up as they walk by each other's tables, or toasting as one big group despite having won nothing, or pretending that they feel so happy for their fellow nominee who won, or that they're not drunk, or that they're still in love with that person next to them. But first, we have the red carpet ride.

7:03 p.m. As innocuous as he is, Dick Clark isn't bringing much to the picnic, besides some enthusiasm and his old familiar face. Looks like he's letting a little of his gray show through instead of donning his usual unbroken cap of black shoe polish. His partners in crime are Nancy O'Dell and Lisa Ling, who really lack that rickety side-car, ever-looming-disaster element that Melissa Rivers has in spades. Still, I'm sure they'll try very hard to make up for it by blurting inanities at uninterested stars for the next hour.

7:09 p.m. It's difficult to express the tremendous sadness Sarah Jessica Parker feels at the close of "Sex and the City." There's tremendous sadness throughout the comedy world this year, since "Sex and the City," "Friends," "Frasier," and possibly even "Everybody Loves Raymond" are coming to an end. What's going to replace these shows? "Two and a Half Men"?

7:13 p.m. Elijah Wood actually is a hobbit. Those big blue eyes aren't CG-enhanced, either. I wonder if Elijah will mind if I clip my toenails or deep-condition my hair while I watch?

7:18 p.m. Nancy O'Dell just said, "Now I'm gonna go over to Mr. Dick." Is this some dirty sub-basement of the Home Shopping Network, or has Nancy misplaced her frontal lobe?

7:26 p.m. Reba McEntire is thrilled and honored.

7:27 p.m. "More glitz, more glitter, more bling bling, as the biggest stars in the world join the party of the year when the Golden Globes Arrivals Special returns, here on NBC!" I wish I could insert a little audio file of this announcer guy saying "bling bling." He said it with a lot of emotion, that's all I can tell you.

7:30 p.m. Lisa Ling: "Welcome back to the Golden Globes. You know, the world is so deeply divided on so many issues, but the one thing we can all agree on is our mutual love for Tom Cruise!" Yes, Tom Cruise! And also, fried cheese. Now a hardball question for Tom's mommy. "What's it like to be the mom of Tom Cruise?" You're not going to believe this, but Tom's mom says it's "great" being a mother to her son.

7:32 p.m. Instead of interviewing Cruise, Ling can't stop waxing moronic. Is she trying to impress him, or us? As Cruise squints appropriately to signify his appreciation for big, important themes, Ling rambles on. "Pop culture is really such a cultural unifier," she tells him, "especially in this time when there's such sort of disarray and fractionalism in the world ... Excuse me, Ellen!" Ellen DeGeneres just walked up and grabbed Cruise's ass. Now they're laughing and hugging. DeGeneres: "Sorry. I just had to grab his ass. I was just grabbing his ass, because I can." Ling: "Because it's the best on the planet?" DeGeneres ignores Ling entirely and introduces herself to Cruise's mother instead. Ling (grabbing Cruise by the arm and turning him toward the camera): "Do you ever get sick of the attention?" From you, Lisa? Within seconds.

7:33 p.m. Here's Charlize Theron, looking decidedly unmonstrous and appearing more than a little excited over potentially winning an award after a remarkably unremarkable career. And we thought she was just another forgettable tall, blond actress. You know, like Gretchen Mol. Remember Gretchen? With the nipple erection on the cover of Vanity Fair?

7:45 p.m. Everybody's got their boobs out this year.

8:04 p.m. Everyone's seated, and without any ceremony at all, which I applaud, it's time to announce the winner of best supporting actor in a motion picture. Hey, Tim Robbins wins it. Who can quibble with that? Robbins: "Wow! We just sat down! Good thing about this coming early is I get to drink now." Maybe I should drink now, too.

8:06 p.m. Best actor in a TV series or drama. Anthony LaPaglia ("Without a Trace") wins, which seems surprising. "Now I can drink with Tim!" he says. I want a drink. LaPaglia loves his crew. They work way harder than he does. He also loves his beautiful wife, Gia Carides, and he loves Gia's Carides, which are fully visible.

8:09 p.m. Best actress in a TV series, drama. I hope someone told Amber Tamblyn ("Joan of Arcadia") she's not going to win. Frances Conroy ("Six Feet Under") wins. I hope this is a good sign for "Six Feet Under." I hope I have some beer in the fridge.

8:14 p.m. No beer. Best supporting actress in a motion picture. Do you really need to know? Doesn't Renée Zellweger always win when she's nominated? And yep, there she is, winning. She looks good, but only because she's currently shooting the "Bridget Jones" sequel, and isn't her usual, emaciated self.

8:35 p.m. Meryl Streep is nominated for best actress in a miniseries or TV movie for her parts in "Angels in America," and wins.

8:41 p.m. Here comes Cate Blanchett with her boobs wrapped up in red taffeta. Her hair is styled in some sort of rectangular shape, presumably to draw attention away from the fact that she's pregnant. She still looks beautiful. But see, you knew that already, I didn't need to type that part. Stop making me work so hard.

8:44 p.m. Best actress in a TV series -- comedy. Bonnie Hunt? Reba McEntire? Debra Messing, fine. Sarah Jessica Parker, of course. Bitty Schram from "Monk"? Alicia Silverstone -- are you kidding me? It's got to be between Messing and little miss Tremendous Sadness. I'm rooting for Messing.

8:45 p.m. Sarah Jessica Parker, although tremendously sad, has felt incredibly privileged to be in the company of lots and lots of people, all of whom she will now proceed to mention by first and last name.

8:47 p.m. Here comes Demi's boy toy, Ashton Kutcher, to announce best supporting actor in a series, miniseries or TV movie. Talk about your catch-all category. Sean Hayes ("Will & Grace"), Lee Pace ("Soldier's Girl") Ben Shenkman ("Angels in America"), Patrick Wilson ("Angels in America"), and Jeffrey Wright ("Angels in America") are nominated. I'm giving it to Jeffrey Wright -- and so is the Hollywood Foreign Press. I'm happy for Wright, but how ridiculous is it that he's in the same category with Sean Hayes? Best fruit, apples or oranges? Anyone? Anyone?

8:55 p.m. Robin Williams announcing "Master and Commander": "This is the sea as I know it: cruel, unforgiving, wet. A lot like Paris Hilton." Ooof.

8:57 p.m. Best actress in a motion picture -- musical, or comedy. Jamie Lee Curtis, Diane Lane, Diane Keaton, Scarlett Johansson and Helen Mirren are nominated. Keaton wins! Refers to herself as "the rediscovered eccentric."

9:00 p.m. Best actor in a motion picture -- musical or comedy. Jack Black, Johnny Depp, Bill Murray, Jack Nicholson and Billy Bob Thornton. Holy incredibly talented list of humans. The winner is ... Bill Murray, for "Lost in Translation." Murray: "You can all relax, I fired my agents a couple of months ago. My physical trainer killed himself. I would thank the people at Universal and Focus, except there are so many people trying to take credit for this, I wouldn't know where to begin." I think Bill Murray may be more of a unifying force in the world than fried cheese and Tom Cruise put together.

9:10 p.m. Best TV series -- drama. "CSI," "24," "Nip/Tuck," "Six Feet Under," "The West Wing." We all know who wins this one. What? "24"? No. Not true. "24" not better than "Six Feet Under." Wrong. "Six Feet Under" best show on TV. Tony Almeida, going onstage? Come on! Joel Surnow: "Well, I've had three years to prepare for this, and now I don't know what to say." How about "Sorry about this season, guys. We'll try to map everything out a few weeks in advance next time."

9:12 p.m. Am I being crabby? I wouldn't be so crabby, if there were some fried cheese lying about.

9:13 p.m. Here comes Jennifer Aniston, with her boobs out, since that's the thing this year. Boobs out. No time to comment, here comes another award. Best actor in a TV series -- musical or comedy. Ricky Gervais ("The Office") wins it! Everybody's totally lukewarm about this. Screw you, demented patriots, he deserves it. But speaking of everybody, why hasn't "Everybody Loves Raymond" been nominated for a single award?

9:16 p.m. NBC is heavily promoting "The 'Friends' Countdown," since they know we won't be tuning in for the laughs, since there aren't any. The saddest thing about "Friends" leaving the air is that it isn't sad.

9:29 p.m. J.Lo has her boobs out. But that doesn't mean it's a trend. You know it's a trend because Cate Blanchett, Scarlett Johansson, Marg Helgenberger, Charlize Theron and Mary-Louise Parker also have their boobs out. Susan Sarandon does, too, but she'll still have her boobs out when everyone else is wearing teflon bodysuits or robes or chain mail.

9:30 p.m. J.Lo looks depressed. Maybe she's Tremendously Sad about her recent breakup with Ben "Bling Bling" Affleck. Maybe she's bummed because she's dressed in some kind of peach chiffon get-up that looks like it belongs on Barbara Eden.

9:31 p.m. Hey! Sofia Coppola wins best screenplay -- motion picture for "Lost in Translation"! Sweet Sofia, all shy and smart in her flat shoes. Eat your heart out, Spike!

9:34 p.m. Best supporting actress in a TV series, miniseries or TV movie. Another unfair category, with "Angels in America" star Mary-Louise Parker going up against Kim Cattrall, Kristen Davis, Cynthia Nixon and Megan Mullally. With the Unbearable Importance of "Angels in America," how could Mary-Louise Parker not win? And she does win. Her boobs are out and in such rare form, my boyfriend and I slow down the victory walk to a frame-by-frame, in which Elijah Wood and Peter Jackson gaze at Parker's assets and grin from ear to ear. Just another life-changing TiVo moment. Parker: "Janel Maloney just told me she would pay me a thousand dollars if I thanked my newborn son for my boobs looking so good in this dress." Whoa! Not only is Boobs Out the new black, but joking about Boobs Out is the new gay.

9:45 p.m. Whoa. Danny DeVito is announcing Michael Douglas' Cecil B. DeMille Award by talking about how many drugs and women Douglas had way back in the day. Now we watch some TV shows and movies he's been in. Now Michael accepts his award, thanks some people. Instead of looking proud, Catherine Zeta-Jones looks envious. She needs to check that ego. She also needs to dial her Fresh Lash down to about a 3.

10:05 p.m. Dustin Hoffman announcing nominees for best director -- motion picture. It goes to Peter Jackson, which is expected. What's unexpected is that Elijah Wood looks like a Keane painting, blinking his massive, teary blue eyes while watching Jackson's speech. He's more choked up than Chad Lowe was when Hilary Swank won for "Boys Don't Cry." Boys do cry. Oh yes they do.

10:10 p.m. Best actor in a miniseries or TV movie. Al "Ponytail" Pacino is nominated, so Al "Ponytail" Pacino will win, which is probably why he hasn't altered a beat in his Pacino imitating Pacino act since the mid-'90s. Still, Pacino imitated Pacino exceptionally well in "Angels in America," so fine. He sees Jack Nicholson in the audience. Jack yells to him onstage. See, this is just like going out for beers with Pacino and Nicholson, except that there are all of these other people with their boobs out all over the place. OK, this is more like going to a topless bar with Pacino and Nicholson.

10:22 p.m. Here comes the Duchess of Weight Watchers, Sarah Ferguson, who earlier told Lisa Ling that America saved her life and brought her children's mommy back to them, or something like that. I guess she and Great Britain had a pretty sloppy divorce.

10:25 p.m. Here comes Nicole Kidman, so the camera cuts to Tom Cruise, who's doing his best "I'm so proud of her!" face. He should win best actor in an awards ceremony drama.

10:26 p.m. Best actor in a motion picture. Sean Penn wins it. Clint Eastwood is accepting the award for him. "Sean's not here, because he hates this sort of shit," is what he should say. Instead, he says something sincere and kind about Penn, and I'm inclined to believe him, because he's Clint Eastwood.

10:33 p.m. Jennifer Garner is bucking the Boobs Out trend. Why? Because Boobs Out is a way of life on "Alias." She wants a little change of pace.

10:35 p.m. Time for Jack Nicholson. He's announcing the nominees for best actress in a motion picture -- drama. Charlize Theron wins it, thanks in part to the fact that Roger Ebert proclaimed her performance in "Monster" one of the best performances in the history of cinema, or something along those lines. She's must be thrilled. No one even knew she could act, and here she is, winning the Golden Globe, which means she's probably about to win the Oscar. It seems she wouldn't even be up there onstage, either, if it weren't for the one person who took a chance on her, writer/director Patty Jenkins. Jenkins is teary-eyed. Theron is teary-eyed. OK, now I'm teary-eyed. I surrender! The Globes have won!

10:47 p.m. Best motion picture -- comedy. I want "Lost in Translation" to win. Yay! How can you not love Sofia Coppola, all sweet and shy in her flat, flat shoes?

10:55 p.m. Best motion picture -- drama. The winner of this one also gets a free entree at Denny's and a coupon for 15 percent off at Six Flags Over Georgia. The winner is "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King." Who says a movie based on the books that spawned a subculture of stuttering Dungeons and Dragons enthusiasts can't win a big, glamorous award? Who says you need dexterity of at least 7 and charisma greater than 9 to win the world's love and adoration? One small step for Peter Jackson, one great big step for bright but awkward hobbitses across the globe!

10:56 p.m. Natalie Imbruglia is all out of faith, this is how she feels: She feels pretty passionate about her hair color, Lumia. Is that Natalie, or someone who just looks like her?

10:58 p.m. We're back. Leo DiCaprio says it's all over, just like that. Goodnight, Cleveland! Go in peace, eat fried cheese, and love one another more than you love Tom Cruise.

By Heather Havrilesky

Heather Havrilesky is a regular contributor to the New York Times Magazine, The Awl and Bookforum, and is the author of the memoir "Disaster Preparedness." You can also follow her on Twitter at @hhavrilesky.

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