It's safe to say that the 64th Golden Globe Awards ceremony will go down in history as the only time Grey's Anatomy's Dr. McSteamy and Borat sidekick Azamat Bagatov ever sat shoulder-to-shoulder during a meal. But if hunky Eric Dane and portly Ken Davitian made for strange dinner companions, it was probably by design, as the Jan. 15 event held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in L.A. once again blended a variety of performers from the big and small screens into a frothy (though sometimes bizarre) delight.
A BIG WINNERS CIRCLE
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association truly shared the wealth by giving the seven major film awards to seven different movies. Babel and Dreamgirls took home the two best-picture trophies, while The Departed's Martin Scorsese picked up his second best-director prize. The acting races predictably favored The Queen's Helen Mirren, The Last King of Scotland's Forest Whitaker, The Devil Wears Prada's Meryl Streep, and Borat's Sacha Baron Cohen. And while the appropriately Globe-spanning Babel went into the evening with the most nominations, it was on an 0-for-6 losing streak until its lone win for best drama, marking the first time since 1992's Bugsy that a film took home the night's biggest prize and nothing else. ''I never lose my belief in the film,'' said director Alejandro Gonz?z I??itu after the ceremony. ''It's better to get nervous and receive the award in the end. That tastes better.''
One upside about the split decisions: It means the Oscar race is still wide open. Dreamgirls won supporting awards for Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy, but showed surprising vulnerability when it lost in the best-song category to Prince, who penned the theme from Happy Feet. ''I thought, 'Well, Jennifer won and Eddie won. Maybe that's our due,''' said Dreamgirls producer Laurence Mark at Paramount's postshow bash. ''These things are always thrilling and relieving, aren't they?'' In contrast to last year's Globe/Oscar disconnect, when Oscar winner Crash wasn't even nominated at the Globes, this year's ceremony kept Dreamgirls, The Departed, and Babel alive as the three top contenders.
ALL HAIL THE QUEEN (AND KING)
For Mirren, it was a doubly royal affair, since she also scored the best-actress-in-a-miniseries prize for her turn as the first Queen Elizabeth in HBO's miniseries. (It was a fabulous night for Brits in general, who took home nine trophies in all.) Last King of Scotland star Whitaker seemed truly overwhelmed and, for a few gripping moments, was totally speechless when he picked up his trophy. ''Was it really, really bad?'' he asked EW backstage. ''I couldn't remember anything I was going to say. I was like, You're spacing out, man. These people worked on the movie with you; you need to say their names!'' Incidentally, The Queen's best-screenplay recipient, Peter Morgan, had a charmed night, having written or co-written the film scripts that won both Mirren and Whitaker their prizes.
TV WINNERS BRING TEARS, LAUGHTER, AWKWARD SILENCE
Following in the high heels of past winners Calista Flockhart, Keri Russell, and Jennifer Garner, Ugly Betty's best actress in a TV comedy America Ferrera won a Globe in her debut season, and provided the most moving speech of the night without any notes. ''I just thought of all the people I wanted to thank and I repeated it in my head over and over again,'' said Ferrera, whose show also won for best TV comedy series despite the cast's less-than-central table location. Said Ferrera: ''[The Closer's] Kyra Sedgwick won, and she was behind us, so I was like, 'Okay, I got a shot!'''
House star Hugh Laurie was also in a chipper mood, probably because he bucked the Globes' love-you-one-year, forget-you-the-next trend with his second consecutive win for best actor in a TV drama. ''I was told I didn't have to worry,'' Laurie said. ''I was almost promised, 'It can't happen! Relax!' And frankly, I was too relaxed and unprepared. I can't even remember what I said.''
The crew from Grey's Anatomy, however, gave new meaning to the phrase ''TV drama'' after winning its best-series award. ''This has been a trying year, to say the least,'' star Patrick Dempsey told EW after the win. ''But this is a sweet award because it's all of us together.'' Not for long: In the press room, the cast was asked a question about the now-infamous dustup last fall involving Dempsey, Isaiah Washington, and T.R. Knight. Washington swiftly approached the microphone and announced, ''No, I did not call T.R. a faggot never happened,'' while the rest of the cast stood by, stone-faced. (More weirdness: Moments later, before starting one televised all-cast chat backstage, Katherine Heigl abruptly left.)
BUTT SERIOUSLY, FOLKS...
Easily the night's funniest speech? Sacha Baron Cohen's sidesplitting ode to his Borat costar/nude wrestling partner Davitian's nether regions. After delivering the hysterically interminable shout-out (''When...I stared down and saw your two wrinkled golden globes on my chin, I thought to myself, 'I better win a bloody award for this!'''), he strutted straight to Davitian's table and said, ''I told you I would mention you.'' Asked afterward what he thought of Baron Cohen's graphically expansive speech, Davitian replied, ''I was elated. My ass has been immortalized.''