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<I>King</I> Lords Over Globes

26 Jan, 2004 By: Gregg Kilday

Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of King seized "the precious" – a win for best dramatic motion picture -- Sunday at the 61st annual Golden Globe Awards. And this time, it wasn't necessary to toss the talisman back into the fiery pit of Mount Doom.

Among the year's leading actors, Mystic River's Sean Penn and Monster's Charlize Theron took home top drama honors, while the comedy kudos went to Bill Murray for Lost in Translation and Diane Keaton for Something's Gotta Give.

In television, HBO's epic miniseries "Angels in America" led the field with five wins, including best miniseries/telefilm and lead actor and actress trophies for Al Pacino and Meryl Streep.Although King dominated the evening on the film side by commanding four Globes, amuch smaller movie -- the modest Translation, from writer-director Sofia Coppola --clearly spoke to the 90 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. They rewardedthe movie about Americans experiencing cultural disorientation in Tokyo with threestatuettes, including best comedy/musical motion picture.

Miramax's Civil War epic Cold Mountain, which entered the fray with a leading eightnominations, had to settle for one trophy: a supporting actress award for ReneeZellweger.

Jackson and his cast and crew, who brought armies of hobbits, humans, elves and orcs to the big screen in New Line's epic three-part adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkiennovel, finally saw their efforts rewarded. Although the trilogy's first film, The Fellowship of the Ring, picked up four nominations two years ago before the HFPA's annual bash, it scored no wins. Last year, The Two Towers went 0-for-2 on its Globe nominations.

But, suggesting that the awards tide finally is turning in King's favor, Jackson's grandfinale picked up all four Globes for which it was nominated to become the dominantplayer at the Beverly Hilton, where the dinner/awards presentation, broadcast by NBC,took place.

"I just want to accept this award and pay tribute to Professor Tolkien for his incrediblebook," Jackson said in accepting the best drama prize. Having already expressed histhanks to New Line executives Bob Shaye, Michael Lynne and Mark Ordesky when hepicked up best director honors a half-hour earlier, Jackson also used the occasion tothank producer Saul Zaentz, who controlled rights to the book when the project began,and Harvey Weinstein, who supported the project's initial development.

Clearly, the third time proved the charm for Jackson: Although nominated for GoldenGlobes for the first two installments of Rings, he had to wait for King, the cycle'sfinal installment, to be called to the winner's podium. "I think seven years on this movieturned me into a hobbit," the sartorially shaggy director chuckled.

If King'svictory was a long time coming, then Focus Features' Translation -- which initially surfaced at last year's Telluride Film Festival before going on to Venice andToronto -- is an indie hit that seemingly arrived out of nowhere.

In addition to best comedy honors, Translation earned Coppola the night's bestscreenplay award and crowned Murray best comedy actor. "I don't know what tosay," Coppola, nearly at a loss for words, said of the movie's upset victory that saw itupstaging mighty films including Buena Vista's Finding Nemo.

Murray -- invited to the stage by Zellweger when named best actor in a comedy ormusical for his work in Translation, in which he plays an actor adrift in Tokyo --proved he also is a master of the deadpan comic acceptance speech."You can all relax -- I fired my agents a couple of months ago," he began toappreciative laughter. "My physical trainer killed himself, and I would thank the peopleat Universal and Focus, except there are so many people trying to take credit for this,I wouldn't know where to begin." Murray, winning his first Globe, offered genuine wordsof thanks to his wife for keeping the home fires burning and to Coppola "for writing afilm that was so good that every actor in this room says, 'That lucky son of a bitch; itcould have been me up there with that damn thing.' "

Diane Keaton also triggered applause and laughter in accepting her trophy for bestcomedy actress for playing an older woman who unexpectedly finds herself falling inlove in Something. But the spontaneity of the moment was undercut somewhat bythe fact that she read her thanks from a crib sheet held in her formally gloved hands.

For Keaton, it had been a long dry spell between trips to the podium. AlthoughSomething represented her ninth nomination, she had won only once before -- in 1978,for her signature performance in Annie Hall.

"Let's face it, getting to play a woman to love at 57 is like reaching for the stars witha stepladder," Keaton said. She credited the unusual occurrence to a series ofcoalescing elements that included writer-director Nancy Meyers, co-star Jack Nicholsonand Sony Pictures Entertainment executive Amy Pascal. "Amy's green light created anunlikely alliance between Nancy, genius Jack and me, the rediscovered eccentric,"Keaton said with a laugh.

Keaton appeared to most delight Nicholson, who was whooping it up in the audience,when she let fly an unscripted "So – sh**!" toward the end of her remarks.

Among the drama winners, Penn was a no-show. Director Clint Eastwood climbedonstage to accept the award for the actor, who plays a father struggling with thedisappearance of his daughter in the tragic River. Eastwood attributed Penn'sabsence to "family business up north," where the actor lives, but used the moment tolaud his star, saying there are actors who are "oftentimes overlooked because they'reso good so often, so consistent in their performances that we often just expect greatthings from them. ... Sean Penn ... is one of those people, (so) I'd just like to thank theHollywood foreign press for recognizing this truly exceptional actor."

Theron, a beauty who transformed herself into something of a beast to play serial killerAileen Wuornos in Monster, made up for Penn's absence with her exuberance. "This iscrazy," she exclaimed. "I'm from a farm in South Africa -- this is insane." Gatheringherself -- "OK, breathe," she said, providing her own stage directions -- she thankedwriter-director Patty Jenkins for giving her the opportunity to take on thecareer-altering role. "There is only so much you can do, but if somebody doesn't giveyou a chance, there's nothing you can do -- and you gave it to me," Theron said.

Zellweger has become an old hand at lugging around Globes trophies: She won lastyear for comedy/musical actress for Chicago and picked up another comedy awardin 2001 for "Nurse Betty." But it was her dramatic turn as Ruby, the mountain womanwho teaches Nicole Kidman's character how to till the soil in Mountain, that earnedher the evening's supporting actress award.

"My God; OK, thank you," Zellweger gasped as she took the stage. Her gratitude listincluded novelist Charles Frazier ("who went out to spin a yarn and ended up writing amasterpiece"), director Anthony Minghella ("my hero ... my teacher, my friend"),co-stars Jude Law and Kidman ("wonderful Nicole -- it was a privilege to shovel out thebarn with you") and Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein and production head MerylPoster.

"River" received an early boost when Tim Robbins picked up the evening's first trophy,the supporting feature actor award, for his stooped portrayal of a man haunted byhis past in Clint Eastwood's adaptation of a Dennis Lehane novel. Robbinsacknowledged the early win by saying, "A good thing about this coming early is that Iget to drink now." He also extended his thanks to Warner Bros. Pictures, the movie'scast and Eastwood.

"Clint, you are the man," Robbins said. "I have never felt so trusted and in such goodhands as when we were on the set for that movie. It's an absolute joy; I learned somuch."

A few minutes later, Meryl Streep -- upon winning a Globe for actress in a TV series,miniseries or telefilm for HBO's "Angels in America" -- teased Robbins for forgetting tothank his agent.

But even before the three-hour broadcast was half over, King began its triumphantmarch when Howard Shore picked up best score honors for his sweeping compositionsinspired by the realms of Middle Earth. Moments later, his name was called again when"Into the West," the end-title tune he wrote with Fran Walsh and Annie Lennox, wasnamed best original song, beating out tunes by such pop superstars as Elton John,Bono and Sting.

The foreign-language film award went to Siddiq Barmak's Afghanistan entry Osama,which United Artists is distributing domestically.

Probably only Danny DeVito, a longtime friend and sometime collaborator of MichaelDouglas, could have pulled off the teasing tribute he offered his pal, this year's recipientof the Cecil B. DeMille Award for career achievement.

"What drives Michael Douglas?" DeVito asked rhetorically. "I can sum it up in one word:Kirk," a reference to the senior member of the Douglas clan, a DeMille winner in 1968."Back then," DeVito puckishly offered, "a lot of his friends didn't know if he was goingto become an actor or a gynecologist. But we're very happy that he chose both."

In accepting the tribute, Douglas recalled his early career in television -- including 104hours of crime drama "The Streets of San Francisco" in four years during the 1970s --and expressed thanks to "Streets" co-star Karl Malden "for showing me what a workethic is all about." Douglas also acknowledged Zaentz's role in his career and thankedhis father for "stamina, his endurance and his great sense of material." Douglas concluded by addressing his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, saying, "I never thought I would be here with you, but I'm so happy to share this with you."

In the studio competition, New Line took high ground with four awards, thanks toKing; Focus picked up three because of Translation,"and Warner claimed two forRiver and a share in the trophy for Something, of which the studio is foreigndistributor. Miramax, Newmarket, Sony/Columbia and United Artists each took homeone glittering prize.

Dick Clark and Barry Adelman were executive producers of Sunday's Globes telecast,which was produced by Ken Shapiro and directed by Chris Donovan. Adelman andShapiro were the telecast's writers.

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