In keeping with this year's wide-open awards season, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association spread the wealth Sunday at the 58th annual Golden Globe Awards, as four different films grabbed two trophies apiece.
Ridley Scott's swordplay epic Gladiator, Steven Soderbergh's ensemble drug war pic Traffic, Cameron Crowe's autobiographical rock tale Almost Famous and Ang Lee's martial-arts fairy tale Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon all won twice at Hollywood's pre-Oscar dinner bash.
Gladiator was named Best Motion Picture Drama, while Almost Famous picked up the award for top musical/comedy and Crouching Tiger nabbed the prize for best foreign-language flick. Ang Lee also was named Best Director for his sweeping romance.
Lee's win meant Soderbergh lost twice in the director category, having been nominated both for Traffic and Erin Brockovich. But his stars still scored big: Julia Roberts was named Best Actress in a Drama for her crusading title role in Brockovich, and Benicio Del Toro was named Best Supporting Actor for Traffic. The latter film also snagged Best Screenplay honors for Stephen Gaghan.
Tom Hanks, meanwhile, picked up Best Actor props for Cast Away, a role in which the star shed 50 pounds and spent much of the film talking to a volleyball. Best Supporting Actress honors went to Kate Hudson for her performance as a traveling rock 'n' roll groupie in Almost Famous. ? How'd it all shake out? Get the blow by blow
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The Musical/Comedy category boasted a few surprises: Renée Zellweger was named Best Actress for her work in the little-seen comedy Nurse Betty. It was so surprising, in fact, that Zellweger was in the bathroom when her name was called.
After some confusion, she soon emerged to collect the trophy and thank voters for "a moment I'll never forget...a moment I almost didn't have," she joked.
And George Clooney picked up Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy for the Coen brothers' quirky take on Homer's Odyssey, O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Clooney, who was nominated alongside heavy hitters like Robert De Niro, Jim Carrey and Mel Gibson, joked that he was confident coming into the night's ceremony.
"I think when you list the names of the people in my category...you gotta figure I'm gonna win this," he cracked.
Meanwhile, master thespian Al Pacino added some more hardware to his trophy case, taking home the Cecil B. DeMille award for lifetime achievement.
On the TV side, NBC's Emmy-winning White House drama The West Wing and HBO's comedy Sex and the City both scored two trophies each, including Best Drama and Best Comedy, respectively.
Sex star Sarah Jessica Parker notched her second consecutive Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy Series, while Wing's Martin Sheen was named Best Actor in a Drama for his role as President Josiah Bartlet. HBO led the network race with four awards, followed by NBC with three.
Emmy-winner Sela Ward was named Best Actress in a Drama Series for ABC's Once and Again. Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy Series went to another Emmy winner, Kelsey Grammer, for Frasier. Last year's big winner, HBO's Mob drama The Sopranos, was shut out despite picking up four nominations.
In a humorous, heartfelt moment, Robert Downey Jr. was named Best Supporting Actor for his work on Ally McBeal. The troubled actor, who returns to court this month to answer to drug charges, thanked his Ally costar Calista Flockhart, and creator David E. Kelley "who said it was like having a new toy to write for me, and I will do my best not to get sent back to the factory," he said. "Little double entendre there."
There were other memorable moments. Bob Dylan picked up the award for Best Original Song for his Wonder Boys tune, "Things Have Changed."
And, in a dazed conclusion to the night's festivities, Elizabeth Taylor began ripping open the envelope for Best Motion Picture Drama before reading the nominees. Show producer Dick Clark eventually came onstage to keep La Liz from a full meltdown.
The Golden Globes are voted on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a contingent of foreign journalists based in Los Angeles. The awards are often seen as a key Oscar predictor: Over the past 20 years, the Golden Globes' Best Motion Picture Drama has been named Oscar's Best Picture 13 times.