The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization that puts on the Golden Globes, has always been known as quirky, to say the least. They stayed true to form at Thursday night’s annual grants banquet at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The evening was a mixture of philanthropy–they handed out $2.1 million to various causes– and a vaudeville show.
Pop teen heart-throb Nick Jonas started off the night singing a lovely rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.”He was followed by the group’s returning president Lorenzo Soria (the HFPA rotates their titles so former officers can regain power) who greeted the crowd by saying that, “we are proud to say we have made a difference in many lives.”
Soria explained the various grants they give out, explaining that this year broke a record. He also cheekily thanked one of the sponsors, Moet Chandon, for “keeping us all in a good mood.”
Then came the parade of stars, all of whom hope to garner Golden Globe nominations later this year. Still, they glittered, and what the heck? It’s Hollywood.
Two time Oscar winner Jane Fonda, looking like five million bucks minimum, was hilarious when she introduced Benicio Del Toro and Emily Blunt. They were MIA, so Fonda had to riff for a good couple of minutes and said, “Benicio, he’s just not reliable. You look into his eyes and think, ‘Really interesting, but maybe not so reliable. But Emily Blunt, you’d think she’d be ok, I mean that voice and opposite Meryl Streep in “Into The Woods.”
Fonda kept riffing until they came on, but the shtick continued because they could not read the Teleprompter, which was far away. Benicio noted, “Hey I’m screwing up. I was never good at auditions, but I’m a good improviser.” When he finally got it right, Jon Hamm and Jake Gyllenhaal boisterously bounded up to the stage and shook his hand to congratulate him. Halle Berry, who also struggled a bit to read the prompter, declared, “Hey I’m going to be 49 tomorrow, not bad!”
Other amusements were Jon Hamm playing the handsome idiot vying to get a role in one of his co-presenter’s [Elizabeth Banks] franchises; Sarah Silverman, who along with her co presenter John Krasinski, mimed the grant they were giving to the Silent Film Festival, showed off her mightily defined cleavage. This prompted Bryan Cranston who followed her to quip, “ I want to thank Sarah Silverman for her luscious Globes.”
Lady Gaga was present and hung all night with her “American Horror Story: Hotel” producer Ryan Murphy– they’ll be looking for Golden Globes soon so this was high end diplomacy. Looking demure in a white gown and coiffed blond hair, Gaga gave the crowd a bit of too much information when she said, “ I just snarfed an olive in my nose and there is still a little bit in there,” She then presented awards to children’s programs and said, “I went to a lot of performing centers as a kid, they are weird places. “ She added though, “Personally, music played such a personal part of my happiness. Thank you HFPA, we need to make young people feel good about themselves.”
Other stars to take the stage were Andrew Garfield, Ice Cube, America Ferrara, Jason Isaacs, Topher Grace, Joe Manganiello, Brie Larson, Dakota Johnson, Saoirse Ronan, O’Shea Jackson Jr, Allison Janney and Sophia Bush.
Most of the Globe members were there, including our old friend Theo Kingma, former president. (He’ll be back, just wait.) Current prez Lorenzo Soria, who writes for Italian publications, told me at the end of the night: “It was a wonderful night, we are very proud. I’m happy with the results. And it’s good we gave all this money to organizations that deserve it.”
Where do they get the dough, you ask? NBC pays them a license fee of around $10 million a year to use the Golden Globes name for the big show in January. To make it tax free, the HFPA gives away a portion every year. Just FYI.
photo credit : Image Group LA on Behalf of the HFPA