Credit: Steve Granitz/WireImage; Gilbert Flores/Celebrity; Steve Granitz/WireImage
1. IT'S AN A-LIST BONANZA
Because this night honors TV as well as movies, the wattage on the red carpet is even higher than at the Oscars. And there’s no shortage of glam gowns on display. Think Halle Berry in Valentino, Charlize Theron in Dior by John Galliano and a Versace-clad Uma Thurman.
Party of Five gained new cred in 1996 when named Best Television Series—Drama (an award formerly won by prestige shows like Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, Northern Exposure and The X-Files). The HFPA also honored Arrested Development and Nip/Tuck before the Emmys did.
There is only one set of bleachers in the arrivals area. But because the awards ceremony takes place at a hotel (the Beverly Hilton), it’s sometimes possible to find a seat in the lobby bar from which you can keep an eye on the red carpet through the glass walls. Some spectators even rent a room-and thus enjoy the hotel bar and public spaces (security permitting) as stars enter the building.
Ties mean more winners and a sharing of the wealth. And there have been many ties at the Globes. In 1960, for example, Some Like It Hot tied with Porgy and Bess in the Best Comedy/Musical category. In 1979, Ellen Burstyn (in Same Time, Next Year) tied with Maggie Smith (in California Suite) for Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical. In 1989, there was even a three-way tie: Shirley MacLaine (in Madame Sousatzka), Sigourney Weaver (in Gorillas in the Mist) and Jodie Foster (in The Accused) all shared Best Actress honors.
The HFPA was founded in 1943 by eight journalists, and until 1958 the members themselves handed out the awards. That year, Rat Packers Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra stormed the stage-drinks and cigarettes in hand-and took over the show. The result was such a hit that the HFPA invited them back the next year. Stars have served as the presenters ever since.
As Molly Sims and Ellen DeGeneres demonstrate, drinking is permitted-make that encouraged. From the moment a star steps out of the limo and receives a MoÃ«t & Chandon sippy cup, the champagne flows freely all night long. (Last year, nearly 1,800 bottles were uncorked.)
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which bestows the awards, has only around 90 members (the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hands out the Oscars, has about 6,000). What’s more, the HFPA loves Hollywood, and its fun, clubby, don’t-take-it-too-seriously attitude is palpable on awards night. And they know talent when the see it: Back in 1962, they tapped Warren Beatty-this year's winner of the prestigious Cecille B. DeMille Award-as the Most Promising Newcomer.
We live for the unscripted gaffes-such as in 2001, when Liz Taylor almost blurted out the Best Picture winner (Gladiator) before reading the nominees. As Dick Clark came to her rescue, the legend quipped: “I’m new at this!”
Long ago (1982), viewers had nothing better to do during the Globes than muse, "Who is this Best Newcomer, Pia Zadora?" Nowadays, they’re betting on whether a winner will score at the Academy Awards a month later. Sure, Oscar has a lot of cachet, but as Jamie Foxx might say, a kiss is still a kiss.
Imagine the Desperate Housewives dirty dancing. Or Prince jamming with the house band (both at In Style’s annual blowout). No one gets down like this on Oscars night. Or at the Grammys, come to think of it.