Surprise! The Globes are eccentric AND entertaining -- From Richard Gere's defense of Harvey Weinstein to Larry David's much deserved comic win, Ken Tucker rates the 60th annual Golden Globes ceremony

By Ken Tucker
Updated January 19, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST
Zellweger: Chris Haston/NBC/AP

Surprise! The Globes are eccentric AND entertaining

As Gomer Pyle used to say, ”Surprise, surprise, surprise!”

”Chicago,” ”The Hours,” and ”The Shield” were the big winners of Sunday’s 60th annual Golden Globes, accompanied by an abundant cornucopia of overstatement, misstatement, and downright flubs, all of which made the ceremony singularly unceremonious.

Beginning with Meryl Streep’s wonderfully crestfallen reaction to winning the night’s first award for her role in ”Adaptation” and peaking with the revelations that ”About Schmidt” winner Jack Nicholson’s psycho pet name for costar Kathy Bates is the Bates Motel and his cheerful admission that he’d ingested a Valium to glide through the evening, it was a Globes to marvel over.

Granted, much of the marvel was of the head-shaking, ”why did THAT happen?” variety. I mean, Michael Chiklis and ”The Shield” were more worthy of Golden Globes than James Gandolfini and ”The Sopranos”? Who knew Tony Shalhoub was being a comedian in his hourlong detective series ”Monk,” thus enabling him to rob ”Friends”’ Matt LeBlanc of a Globe? And what about the stupid insistence of the broadcast’s producers to emphasize ”Superman” as the crowning achievement of Gene Hackman’s Cecil B. DeMille Award-winning career?

If Richard Gere earned a good laugh referring to the voting body of the Hollywood Foreign Press as ”a deeply eccentric group of people,” he could also have been referring to quite a few of the winners — starting with Gere himself. The actor, who won a Globe for his tap-dancing lawyer in ”Chicago,” used a chunk of his looooong speech to defend one of the movie’s producers, Harvey Weinstein, as something more than the bullying vulgarian a New Yorker profile recently depicted. As if most of America cares.

There was also some sisterhood-is-powerful eccentricity. No, I’m not talking about ”The Hours” winner Nicole Kidman’s nicely plainspoken comment that this entertainment-year has, for once, yielded a lot of good roles for women. I mean ”Sex and the City” winner Kim Cattrall’s taking her reported recent marital breakup public by giving a shout-out to her ”girlfriends? Men may come and go, but women stay!” Er, right on, Kim.

Did anyone who’s seen ”Gangs of New York” come out humming its Globe-winning U2 song — or even remember there was a U2 song in it? This, as opposed to the song that really should have won, Eminem’s dramatically transcendant ”Lose Yourself” from ”8 Mile.” I had the feeling Bono gratuitously used the ”f”-word just to show that the blond hip-hopper had nothing on a globetrottin’, peace-brokerin’ bloke like himself.

The Globes are sometimes interpreted as wind-blowing signals for the Oscars, but last night’s awards were all over the map. Martin Scorsese won as Best Director for ”Gangs of New York,” but ”The Hours” won as Best Drama. Nicholson won in a drama category, even as he sensibly asserted that ”I thought we’d made a comedy.”

Seeing ”Curb Your Enthusiasm” get a Globe comedy award almost assuaged ”The Shield”’s defeat of ”The Sopranos” (thank heaven the latter series’ Edie Falco snagged a trophy). But the funniest moment wasn’t Larry David’s funny-enough acceptance speech — it was those Celine Dion commercials for Chrysler, a perfect match of unhip auto company with unhip singer, whose vocals sounded alternately like Cher or Jewel on one of Jack Nicholson’s Valiums. Please, next year: Drop TV movies from the ceremony and hand out a Golden Globe to the most inadvertantly entertaining commercial.