January 16, 2007

Golden Globes



It's fascinating to me how professional actors can be uncomfortable (or at least appear that way) in a public speaking role. Of course I understand it - it's how I got my start, and as a former actor/performer, I can honestly say that it's much easier to play a character than it is to be yourself!

I noticed much hand-wringing and shifty eyes last night from various presenters. And I think the most interesting thing to watch is how an actor in the audience handles the accolades when her/his name is announced as a nominee. Some actors are calm and self-assured - they smile, nod slightly and say thank you. Others frantically look around and start talking to someone next to them. Some giggle, roll their eyes, and look incredibly embarrassed.

There's something comforting about this to me; if professionals, who spend their lives in front of cameras and microphones, can be so discombobulated with accolades and applause, well I guess I'm not the biggest dork in the world when I do the same thing.

I'm not going to pick on anyone's acceptance speech - I can hardly imagine the emotions that each person is experiencing at that time, and the most well-prepared performer can completely fall apart at the sound of their name as the winner. It's true, though, that some speeches are better than others.

My favorite speeches of the night were from Jennifer Hudson, Hugh Laurie, and America Ferrera.

Jennifer Hudson, newcomer to the industry and winning her first award for her first movie, "Dreamgirls", was stunned, speechless, and emotional as she shared how winning the Golden Globe made her feel like part of a community. She said, "Wow, I have always dreamed, but never, ever this big. Ever. This goes far beyond anything that I could have ever imagined."

She went on for a while, and all I could think of was how the people winning awards at the end of the night would be screwed when their speeches were cut to seconds. Sure enough, it happened, but I couldn't be happier for Jennifer Hudson.

Hugh Laurie, winning for "House," walked onstage and stated "I'm speechless. I'm literally without a speech." He then went on to give the most charming and hilarious speech of the night. I think his was the only speech that made me laugh out loud. More than once.

He complained that, of all the free goodies offered to him before the event, none included a free acceptance speech.

"It seems odd to me that, in the weeks leading up to this event when people are falling over themselves to send you free shoes and free cufflinks and free colonic irrigations for two, nobody offers you a free acceptance speech. It just seems to me to be a gap in the market. I would love to pull out a speech by DOLCE + GABBANA."

Thanking his crew, he said,

"I know everyone says they have a wonderful crew, and logically that can't be the case. They can't all be wonderful. Somebody somewhere is working with a crew of drunken thieves. But it's not me. They are truly a wonderful collection of people...and they smell of newly mown grass."

When America Ferrara took the stage, winning for "Ugly Betty," she was teary-eyed and showed sincere surprise, but still managed to thank everyone without floundering. She pulled off a humble and moving speech, acknowledging the impact "Ugly Betty" is having on young women:

"It's such an honor to play a role that I hear from young girls on a daily basis how it makes them feel worthy and lovable and they have more to offer the world than they thought."

The cameras panned the room, showing one actress after another holding back the tears. Very sweet, especially when she thanked her mom, who was in the audience.

Congratulations to the nominees and winners - I hope most of them work on their speeches before the Oscars.

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