Golden Globe voters are certainly no strangers to the handiwork of Sharon Stone.
They are, however, a tad unfamiliar (or is it uncomfortable?) with her watches.
A day after the 41-year-old star received her fourth career Golden Globe nomination for "The Muse" comes word that Stone sent each of the 82 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association -- the voting group behind the awards -- a gold watch. The Coach timepieces, estimated to cost $295 to $395 each, were mailed out Dec. 13, today's Daily Variety says. (Voting for the Golden Globe nominees didn't close until Dec. 16.)
Stone's reputed grand gesture was met with caution from Foreign Press President Helmut Voss, who ordered his members to immediately return the gifts to the actress.
Lest you think a gold watch wouldn't cause much of a stir in the Land of Freebies (aka Hollywood), think again.
"This watch was way, way, way beyond the edge of the envelope as far as promotional considerations, like T-shirts,'' Voss told Variety. "We were touched by her generosity, but this is definitely a no-no for a group like ours that wants to protect the integrity of its award."
Integrity is a sore subject for the Foreign Press. The group has spent the better part of two decades living down its most dubious pick: the 1981 New Star of the Year Award to one Pia Zadora. At its nadir, in the mid-1980s, the Golden Globe Awards telecast was banished to the hell that is cable television. Since returning to network TV, the new-look Globes have become viewed as a solid pre-Oscar ceremony.
Stone's take on this story, meanwhile, is that she did not attempt to buy votes. The actress' publicist has said that the watches were sent at USA Films request, not Stone's. USA Films distributed "The Muse."
At first look, it seems doubtful that Stone would need to go out of her way to court the Foreign Press. She is one of the group's favorites, earning a nomination for even her most notorious role in 1992's "Basic Instinct." She won the best drama actress Globe for 1995's "Casino."
This year, Stone is competing in the best comedy actress category against Janet McTeer ("Tumbleweeds"), Julianne Moore ("An Ideal Husband"), Julia Roberts ("Notting Hill") and Reese Witherspoon ("Election").
The awards will be presented Jan. 23.