The stars weren't the only big thing outside the Beverly Hilton where the ceremony was taking place. Their umbrellas, mostly black, were just as big; sometimes bigger. Seen from top, they looked like wind-stroked mushrooms on the red carpet leading to the 67th Golden Globes.
The Golden Globes are considered the Oscar's little, high-profile brother. Governed by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, it is a 95-member group of international journalists who award the artistic, and popular, categories in motion pictures and television.
The rain wasn't making things better. But it wasn't the only thing wrong at the Globes this year. With its oft malfunctioning broadcast, a short-scripted - and mostly unfunny - host, a general air of languor and a predictable award toss-up, the bash was a listless three-hour party.
Avatar won both Best Picture and Director, indicating the Globes preference to award glitzier box-office winners, which included the raucous The Hangover (Best Picture, Comedy) and The Blind Side (Sandra Bullock, Best Actress - Drama). Christoph Waltz won an award for the Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his engaging multi-lingual Nazi Col Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds. Shut out were critics favorite Nine (five nominations) and The Hurt Locker (three nominations).
“Frankly, I thought Kathryn was going to get this”, Avatar director James Cameron said, referring to his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow who directed the explosive The Hurt Locker.
Ricky Gervais, of the original The Office fame, was often colorless as the host. Most of his routine centered on selling DVD's of his work (The Office and Invention of Lying). He did become slightly better (and cheekier) as the evening wore on.
The other celebrity co-hosts, however, fared better, sometimes. Cameron Diaz looked like she was reading lines off the teleprompter. Felicity Huffman stammered quite often. Even Leonardo DiCaprio, who presented the Cecil B Demille award to Martin Scorsese had his gaze transfixed somewhere off screen. Robert DiNiro, DiCaprio's co-host looked spontaneous and unprompted.
On the technical side, the event was choreographed without much use of clips from nominated shows or movies. The event also shoddily switched between cameras, which sometimes couldn't find its intended celebrity. The live broadcast also suffered, repeatedly, from miscalculated bumper jumps from Star World, the network syndicating the event in our geography.
The evening's highlights were touching acceptance speeches from Mo'Nique (“I am in the midst of my dream”), a scattered and breathless Drew Barrymore and Sandra Bullock, who thanked whoever bought her her Golden Globe for Best Actress. Bullock's reaction reflected Gervais' earlier jab about buying a Golden Globe. “One thing that can't be bought is a Golden Globe... officially”, quipped Gervais.
Other slightly baffled winners included Jason Reitman (Best Screenplay), who, on stage, still expected Quentin Tarantino's name to be announced. Robert Downey Jr (Best Actor - Comedy for Sherlock Holmes) was in full swing of his dominating comeback. He listed everyone he didn't want to thank. Well at least he was enjoying himself.