Most of the categories at Sunday (Jan. 11) night's Golden Globes are considered wide open. Will it be "Slumdog Millionaire" or "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"? Will Heath Ledger get a post-humous tribute? Will "Mad Men" repeat? Can anything stop John Adams?
The only thing we know for sure is that unlike last year, when labor unrest left us all covering the dullest press conference ever, the Golden Globes are back.
From the winners and losers to the clip reels and tributes to Steven Spielberg, I'll be watching and blogging... Feel free to check in and join the conversation.
8:00 p.m. ET The opening montage, set to "When I Grow Up" emphasizes the return of glitz, glamour and, most importantly, stars.
8:01 p.m. ET "Hello, mama talkin'. Mama talkin'" Jennifer Lopez says, trying to hush the Globes crowd so that she can present the night's first award, for supporting actress in a feature. The applause is loudest for Kate Winslet and, given that, it isn't surprising when she wins the night's first award for "The Reader". This is her first Golden Globe, which is rather remarkable.
8:03 p.m. ET "OK. You have to forgive me because I have a habit of not winning things," Kate begins. She looks beautifully flustered. She's so very deserving of any sort of awards recognition that I'm not going to raise the fact that her performance in "The Reader" is so very clearly a lead performance.
8:05 p.m ET Kate thanks her makeup team for making her look old. In fact, she hardly misses anybody.
8:06 p.m. ET The idea of Sting presenting an award to Bruce Springsteen or Clint Eastwood is compelling, but not nearly as funny as the idea of Sting presenting an award to Miley Cyrus. Make it happen, Hollywood Foreign Press.
8:09 p.m. ET Hannah Montana will have to wait for her Globes coronation, because the award goes to The Boss. "This is the only time I'm going to be in competition with Clint Eastwood. I know that for sure," Springsteen says.
8:14 p.m. ET Rumer Willis is introduced as Miss Golden Globes, followed by a hilarious cut to Daddy Ashton Kutcher.
8:17 p.m. Tom Wilkinson knocks off Jeremy "The Thermometer" Piven to win TV's supporting actor prize. Is this a sign that the tide has turned against The Thermometer or that "John Adams" is unbeatable tonight. Wilkinson seems either hammered or genuinely shocked to have won...
8:19 p.m. Laura Dern, a former Miss Golden Globe, wins the TV supporting actress award for "Recount." She makes the night's first reference to Barack Obama, dedicating the award to the people who demanded their voices be heard this year.
8:25 p.m. Don Cheadle presents the clip from "Burn After Reading." While Cheadle jokes that the Coen Brothers have never cast him before (even in "Fargo"!), he seems to be introducing the clip because he worked with Brad Pitt and George Clooney on a couple movies.
8:27 p.m. Poor Eva Mendes is called "one of the stars of 'The Spirit.'" Ouch. That hurts. Sh e's here to introduce the head of the HFPA. He welcomes everybody and requests and demands that we have a good time.
8:29 p.m. Zac Efron and Hayden Panettiere are the lightweight choices to present Best Actor TV Drama. The award goes to Gabriel Byrne, who's absent. Meanwhile, my TV picks for Greg Ellwood have been OUTSTANDING!
8:30 p.m. "Star Trek" stars Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto gently plug their summer movie before presenting Best Actor TV Drama to Anna Paquin. God, the Globes love their pretty young actresses. Then again, she didn't win for "The Piano," so this is payback.
8:32 p.m. "Oh my God," Anna gushes, becoming the night's first winner to describe her win as "so awesome."
8:37 p.m. "Shush. Listen. How rude are you lot? Just cuz you're film stars..." Ricky Gervais complains about his absence of nomination and then jokes with Kate Winslet that he'd advised her to do a Holocaust film if she really wanted to win awards. Ah, "Extras." He adds, "The trouble is with Holocaust films there's never any gag reel on the DVD."
8:38 p.m. Gervais, always the funniest thing on any award show, complains about the lack of nods for "Ghost Town," whining, "What a waste of a campaign. That's the last time I have sex with 200 middle-aged journalists."
8:39 p.m. The Jonas Brothers. WHEE!!! They give the animated Golden Globe to "Wall-E." I'm shocked.
8:42 p.m. Johnny Depp draws much whooping as he takes the stage to present Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Comedy). He looks nervous and unwashed in that Johnny Depp way. He reads Sally Hawkins' name and appears to say "Wow." The "Happy-Go-Lucky" star is also a bit surprised.
8:44 p.m. And all over America, people are going "Who just won what for what now?" Hawkins is flustered and personable, even as she cries. Emma Thompson (a loser in the category) very sweetly offers to help her. Hawkins left her speech in her car, but she soldiers on. The Oscars would have played her off half-way through, but anything goes at the Globes. "I really should have shut up a long time ago, but this is extraordinary," she closes.
8:52 p.m. Jake Gyllenhaal introduces the clips from "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." I guess he's here because he starred in David Fincher's "Zodiac." The Globes snubbed that masterpiece.
8:54 p.m. Does any category tonight offer less suspense than the TV Miniseries or Movie field?
8:56 p.m. Nope. "John Adams" wins. Tom Hanks' accepted a few awards for this movie before and he dispatches with the speech in maybe 10 seconds.
8:57 p.m. Demi Moore presents what may be the evening's most talked about award, for Supporting Actor in a feature. Wait. Ralph Fiennes was nominated for "The Dutchess"? This is why we love the HFPA. Heath Ledger's name is saved for last and the applause is long.
8:59 p.m. Ledger wins and receives a bittersweet standing ovation. Moore presents a clip of Ledger's performance, the "You complete me" interrogation scene.
9:01 p.m. Nolan accepts with "an awful mixture of sadness with incredible pride." He references the gap in the future of cinema, but says that Ledger's body of work should also be celebrated. Everybody in the crowd appears properly solemn.
9:05 p.m. Tom Brokaw presents the clips from "Frost/Nixon." He doesn't seem sure how to modulate his voice from a standing position. He's also probably still bitter that he didn't get that big Nixon interview himself.
9:06 p.m. Colin Farrell presents the Foreign Language Film prize. Is this because folks had a hard time understanding his accent in "In Bruges"? He was speaking English, people. Before reading the winner, Farrell sniffles and explains, "I still have a cold. It's not the other thing it used to be." Ah, coke humor.
9:08 p.m. "Waltz with Bashir" wins. The director dedicates the prize to the film's production babies. He says he hopes those children watch the movie in the future and it seems like "an ancient video game that has nothing to do with them." I'd have hoped for something more political, given the circumstances.
9:10 p.m. "Dark Knight" co-stars Aaron Eckhart and Maggie Gyllenhaal present the latest "John Adams" award, this one for leading lady Laura Linney. I'm now tired of "John Adams," but we still have Paul Giamatti's win to come. This is Linney's first Globe. Lots of people winning firsts tonight who probably could/should have one before.
9:17 p.m. NBC executive exposure time! Look, Jeff Zucker looking sour! Ben Silverman looking smug! And clips from "In Bruges."
9:19 p.m. A very svelte Seth Rogen makes an ill-received joke about doing coke with Mickey Rourke. Strangely, there's no cut-away to Mickey Rourke. Was he angry or absent or snorting coke? The "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" stars present the screenplay prize to Simon Beaufoy for "Slumdog Millionaire."
9:21 p.m. Greg Ellwood, currently partying with the Fox Searchlight gang, reports that the "Slumdog" win produced a great ovation at his gala. Yeah great, Greg. Everybody in my living room drinking Diet Coke and eating M&Ms was excited too.
9:22 p.m. Is the show running long? If not, the Globes invited Amy Poehler to present and didn't give her anything funny to do. Best Actor in a Comedy goes to Alec Baldwin, who was screwed last year in this category.
9:23 p.m. Baldwin produces instant-awkwardness by gushing, "Oh god, I feel so old. I remember when I used to give Rumer Willis a juice-box on the set of the movie." He rushes through his thanks.
9:29 p.m. What the heck is Renee Zellweger wearing?
9:30 p.m. That was a mighty racy clip that they just showed from "The Reader." Even Kate Winslet looks a bit flustered to see her naked back on the Beverly Hilton screen.
9:31 p.m. No, no, Megan Fox. Kiefer Sutherland doesn't save our country once a day. It takes him a day to save our country every year. Oh, it's OK, Megan. I'll forgive you.
9:32 p.m. Oh look. Paul Giamatti won for "John Adams." And he hasn't shaved his period sideburns. "This was a hell of a job, this thing," he says, noting that there were thousands of people who saved his a** every day. He calls Laura Linney "Dame Linney" and thanks Tom Wilkinson for starting him smoking again. Is that it for "John Adams"? I think it is!
9:33 p.m. Best TV Series (Comedy) goes to "30 Rock." Jeff Zucker picks his ear enthusiastically.
9:36 p.m. Uh-oh. Tracy Morgan is taking the stage to give the speech. "Tina Fey and I had an agreement that if Barack Obama won, I would speak for the show from now on... I'm the face of post-racial America. Deal with it, Cate Blanchett." He thanks Lorney Mikes, the caterer and, at Alec Baldwin's urging, Jeff Zucker, yelling "Holla at me Jay-Z."
9:38 p.m. I love a good Tina Fey speech, but I believe that permanently answers the question "Tracy Morgan: Genius or Lunatic?" The answer? "Who cares?!?
9:43 p.m. Gee, Pierce Brosnan. Thanks for spoiling the end "Mamma Mia!" for me.
9:44 p.m. Kate Beckinsale, one of Hollywood's five most beautiful (and funniest) women deserves better than serving as second-fiddle to Puffy in presenting the award for Best Original Score. It's another win for "Slumdog Millionaire." Yes, Greg, I'm sure they're pleased at your fancy party.
9:47 p.m. The Golden Globes botched the pronunciation of "Slumdog" composer A.R. Rahman's name. Boo. There's something a bit off about having Jane Krakowski presenting the award for Best Actress in a TV comedy given that we all know it's going to Tina Fey.
9:49 p.m. And, indeed, it does. "As a kid I had all the Hollywood Foreign Press action figures," Fey kids. She admits she's had a great year, but notes "If you ever start to feel too good about yourself, they have this thing called the Internet and you can find a lot of people there who don't like you." She proceeds to tell several online haters to "suck it." I prefer "Deal with it, Cate Blanchett."
9:55 p.m. Time to give Steven Spielberg the Cecil B. Demille Award. Since I know who's going to win this one, I'm getting a snack. Give me a minute, eh?
9:58 p.m. Clip reel tribute skips "1941" entirely. Bah.
10:02 p.m. Good for the telecast's director finding Drew Barrymore in the audience as Spielberg takes the stage to the "E.T." score. Spielberg quickly points to presenter Martin Scorsese as his inspiration. Spielberg makes a long, but powerful speech about mentoring and filmmaking.
10:09 p.m. Yes, that was a long speech. But if Spielberg wants to talk, you let him. And you listen, darnit.
10:13 p.m. Wow. Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman both seem rather drunk. She's being attacked by her hair and he's doing his Rainman.
10:14 p.m. Best Director goes to... Danny Boyle. I'm expecting a text message from Greg any second. Boyle thanks the GG's for their "mad pulsating affection" from the movie.
10:15 p.m. Greg's text reads "Do you even have to ask?"
10:19 p.m. Sandra Bullock's introduction to the Best Actor (Comedy) nominees is cuter and funnier than movie she's made in a decade. The Globe goes to Colin Farrell for "In Bruges." His response is, "They must have done the counting in Florida." Way to stay current, Colin! Stammers with that Irish charm we all love, but I sure wouldn't want to transcribe the speech.
10:27 p.m. Salma Hayek says words about something. I'm... um... not paying so much attention to the words.
10:28 p.m. Sacha Baron Cohen, playing himself, isn't even vaguely funny. But he does look like he's ready to play Ben Silverman in a movie. He only gets laugh with a cheap Madonna joke.
10:30 p.m. "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" wins Best Picture (Musical/Comedy). This only reminds me that I've never been to Barcelona. Sigh. The film's producer only thanks Woody Allen with an "Of course, Woody." Yeah. Cuz he only wrote and directed the movie. [I'm reminded that said producer is Woody's sister. I don't know if that makes it better.]
10:37 p.m. Every other movie has shown a selection of clips. Not only does "Slumdog Millionaire" get an actual scene, but it spoils the end of the movie.
10:38 p.m. Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama) time... The winner is Kate Winslet. This appears to be her night. She was surprised after the first one, but now she's flabbergasted. This is a "make-good" night for her.
10:40 p.m. "I'm so sorry," Kate says, before naming three of her four rivals. She forgets Angelina Jolie, who puts on a fetching smile that says, "Yes, I'll kill you later." She stutters for a bit and the telemonitor thinks she's done. She disagrees, "Oh, please wrap up. You have no idea how I'm not wrapping up."
10:42 p.m. Even I get a bit misty as Kate tells Leonardo DiCaprio how much she's loved him for 13 years and tell Sam Mendes how working with him made her love him more.
10:43 p.m. "Hello, we're TV actors," Rainn Wilson says, taking the stage with Blake Lively. Not sure these are the two I think of when I think of TV Drama. The Globe goes to "Mad Men," which ends my hope of a perfect score for the TV category. I'd predicted "In Treatment," but since I prefer "Mad Men" and it puts Christina Hendricks on TV, we're all good.
10:50 p.m. We're running out of time, so Susan Sarandon rushes through the Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama). The winner is Mickey Rourke for "The Wrestler." He gets a standing ovation and nearly falls up the steps.
10:51 p.m. "This has been a very long road back for me," Rourke says. At the Fox Searchlight party, Greg reports this was the night's biggest ovation. Rourke is gracious, thanks the right people with the right sincerity. He calls Darren Aronofsky a tough son-of-a-bitch and Darren flips him off. The FCC will be calling you soon, NBC.
10:54 p.m. Rourke thanks his dogs past and present.
10:59 p.m. Tom Cruise is the night's final performer. Best Picture (Drama) goes to... "Slumdog Millionaire."
11:01 p.m. "Slumdog Millionaire" opens in India next Thursday.
11:02 p.m. That's it for me, kids. It's been a fun Golden Globes...