Slumdog Millionaire took a big bite out of the celluloid competition—and a big step toward Oscar—with four awards, including Best Picture, Drama and Best Director for Danny Boyle at Sunday's 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards.
Winslet proved a one-woman victory machine, sweeping the Best Actress, Drama, and Supporting Actress categories for her drastically different turns as a discontented 1950s-era housewife in Revolutionary Road and as a guilt-ridden former concentration camp guard who has an affair with a teenager in The Reader.
"I am so sorry, Anne, Meryl, Kristin—oh god, who's the other one?! Angelina! This is, OK now, forgive me...Is this really happening?" stuttered the flabbergasted actress as she capped off her night with the win for Revolutionary Road.
Rourke, whose comeback took a turn for the legitimate as he pinned down the win for Best Actor for The Wrestler, gave a Hollywood-outsider-style acceptance speech that, like Winslet's overwhelmed batch of thank-yous, provided both amusing and heartfelt entertainment.
"Several years ago, I was almost out of this business, and a young man kinda got in touch with me, and he kinda put his whole career on the line, saying he wanted to represent me," Rourke said. "So I want to thank David Unger for having the balls. And I want to thank his boss at ICM for not putting him back in the mailroom."
Director Darren Aronofsky "brought the best out of me," Rourke continued. "He hates it when I say he's tough, but he's one tough son of a bitch." (Aronofsky rewarded the sentiment by good-naturedly giving his star the finger.) "If you're not in shape, the man will bring you down, because I always say he's smarter than the rest of us—maybe not Steven," he added, meaning the night's Cecil B. DeMille Award recipient, Steven Spielberg.
Meanwhile, awards season continued to be good to Ledger's memory, as the Australian thesp—who died almost one year ago—was named Best Supporting Actor for his still-chilling turn in The Dark Knight, solidifying his Oscar chances.
"All of us who worked with Heath on The Dark Knight accept this with an awful mixture of sadness and incredible pride," said director Christopher Nolan, whose speech followed a specially prepared clip from the film. "For any of us lucky enough to have worked with him, and those of us lucky enough to have enjoyed his performances, he will be eternally missed—but he will never be forgotten."
But while Nolan shared in one of the evening's most heartfelt moments, Tracy Morgan stole the show when accepting 30 Rock's Golden Globe for Best Television Series, Comedy or Musical.
"Tina Fey and I had an agreement," he began, "that if Barack Obama won, I would speak for the show from now on. Welcome to postracial America—I am the face of postracial America! Deal with it, Cate Blanchett!"
Further non sequiturs ensued, but really, what better example of why 30 Rock deserved to win (and sweep the lead comedy acting awards) could there be?
Alec Baldwin notched his second win for playing network exec Jack Donaghy—and purposely dated himself by reminiscing about how he used to bring Rumer Willis (this year's Miss Golden Globe) juice boxes on film sets, back in the day. Fey's hell-of-a-year continued, as well, as she notched her second consecutive win for playing neurotic TV writer Liz Lemon.
"I've always loved the Hollywood Foreign Press. I have all the Hollywood Foreign Press action figures," began Fey, whose critically beloved NBC series saw its viewership inch up this fall due in part to Fey's other alter ego, Sarah Palin. "But I want you to know that I really know how very lucky I am to have the year that I've had...and if you ever start to feel too good about yourself, they have this thing called the Internet.
"You can find a lot of people there who don't like you," she added, before wishing all her detractors the proverbial "suck it."
Nudging her way into the veterans' club was Anna Paquin, a winner for Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama, for HBO's freshman vampire series True Blood.
HBO, as tends to be the case, was the most-winning network of the night, with seven awards, while NBC took three (all for 30 Rock) and AMC brought up the rear, thanks to its repeat Best TV Series, Drama, win for Mad Men.
Also coming out on top was Europe, which, in addition to the one-woman dynamo that was Winslet, fielded a great share of the evening's Globe recipients, including Best Actress, Comedy or Musical, winner Sally Hawkins, whose tirelessly cheerful schoolteacher powered Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky'; Dubliner Colin Farrell, who took the male counterpart of that honor for the caper comedy-thriller In Bruges; and absentee Irishman Gabriel Byrne, who swooped in (figuratively) to snatch the award for Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama, for his role as an overly involved psychiatrist in HBO's In Treatment.
"Thank you, [director Martin McDonagh], for not listening to me when I asked you to cast someone else. I've never been so at peace with being ignored in my life," said Farrell, no longer reeking from the stench of Miami Vice and Alexander. "This is at least half yours," he said to In Bruges costar Brendan Gleeson. "I'll cut if for you when I get offstage and you can have a hemisphere."
The hot 'n' steamy Vicky Christina Barcelona—not really an Oscar contender but a solid effort from Woody Allen—was the Hollywood Foreign Press' choice for the Globe-specific category of Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical.
Jeremy Piven also fell prey to the international onslaught, missing out on his second consecutive win for Supporting Actor in a Series/Miniseries/TV Movie to John Adams' Tom Wilkinson.
The seven-part HBO event about the second U.S. president, which scored 13 Emmys in September, duly won the Globe for Best Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for TV, as well, while Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney followed up their Emmy wins with two more respective trophies for Best Actor and Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie to help make John Adams the most winning program of the night.
"This was hell of a job, this thing, this was a hell of a job," Giamatti said. "This little costume drama we put on—it seems there were thousands of people who saved my ass...every minute of every day."
While Slumdog Millionaire and John Adams tied with the most wins with four, the three leading nominees coming into the evening were completely shut out. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon and Doubt each went 0-for-5. But at least the drinks were free.
(Originally published Jan. 11, 2009 at 8:55 p.m. PT.)