If the Gallup pollsters of America had their way, "The Sixth Sense" and "Big Daddy" would sweep the Academy Awards. The two films dominated the film categories at the 26th Annual People's Choice Awards on Sunday night at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
"The Sixth Sense," which also stands a strong chance of Oscar nomination, won awards for Favorite Motion Picture and Favorite Dramatic Motion Picture; its star, its star, Bruce Willis, picked up the award for Favorite Motion Picture Star in a Drama.
"Big Daddy," which stands virtually no chance at an Oscar nomination (unless voters suddenly concoct a Best Achievement in Spitballs category), won for Favorite Comedy Motion Picture; Adam Sandler won Favorite Motion Picture Star in a Comedy.
Julia Roberts, who scored a double box-office whammy last summer with "Notting Hill" and "Runaway Bride," bested Meryl Streep and Sandra Bullock for Favorite Motion Picture Actress, while Calista Flockhart and Jennifer Love Hewitt tearfully accepted their awards for Favorite Female Television Performer and Favorite Female Television Performer in a New Series, respectively.
"I don't know why I'm so shaky right now," Flockhart said backstage. "I think that one of the reasons I became an actress is to have a night like this."
During the telecast, winners such as Flockhart were taken behind the scenes to meet the media hounds -- reporters hungry for good sound bites, not to mention the tasty little sandwiches that seemed to keep disappearing. Some backstage highlights:
TRUE CONFESSIONS? Sandler, upon accepting his awards for "Big Daddy," declared that he had "slept with 6,000 women," a revelation that caused the cast of "Stark Raving Mad" to pause in their press conference to watch on the monitor. Ford countered by humbly noting in his acceptance speech, "I made love to the two women Adam hasn't made love to."
SOMEONE'S BITTER: Matthew Perry, presenting the favorite dramatic-film actor category, lamented that he wasn't nominated for his film turn in "Three to Tango" (which wasn't even a drama, but whatever works for a joke). When members of the crowd screamed back, "We love you, Matthew!" He retorted, "Evidently, not enough."
WHAT NOT TO ASK: Jennifer Aniston thought she had escaped The Brad Question (as in, "When are you marring Mr. Pitt?") backstage after the "Friends'" win. But one reporter managed to call it out to her as she was leaving. The good-natured Aniston just patted her arm and said, "Oh, come now," before she disappeared.
BUT WHAT I REALLY WANT TO DO IS ACT: Haley Joel Osment, the 11-year-old co-star of "The Sixth Sense," is on top of the world, or so it seems to Bruce Willis. Said Willis of Osment's recent Golden Globe nomination: "I expected it. I also expect him to get an Oscar nomination, too ... I never felt like I was working with a kid. People would ask me how it was working with 'the kid,' and I would have to correct them." Osment, meanwhile, is looking to other things. "I actually really want to do stage work," he said. "I know a lot of people went the other way, starting in theater and moving to film, but I'd really like the experience." (Maybe he could play Hamlet, since that guy saw dead people, too.)
WHAT'S HIS NAME AGAIN? The bleacher crowd outside the Pasadena Civic served as a cheering section for any star walking down the red carpet. But despite the likes of Julia Roberts and Calista Flockhart waving and smiling, the biggest cheers went to Betty White ("Ladies' Man"), who was delighted when the audience shouted her name, and Neil Patrick Harris of NBC's "Stark Raving Mad." However, Harris soon found it would be long before he escaped his 1980s television role when the mostly Gen-X crowd chanted, "DOOGIE! DOOGIE!"
SPOTTED: At least one (male) journalist bopping up and down when a video clip of the Backstreet Boys' bubble-gum pop anthem "I Want it That Way" was aired.
Here's a complete rundown of the winners at the 26th Annual People's Choice Awards:
Favorite Motion Picture: "The Sixth Sense" Favorite Motion Picture Actor: Harrison Ford Favorite Motion Picture Actress: Julia Roberts Favorite Dramatic Motion Picture: "The Sixth Sense" Favorite Comedy Motion Picture: "Big Daddy" Favorite Motion Picture Star in a Drama: Bruce Willis, "The Sixth Sense" Favorite Motion Picture Star in a Comedy: Adam Sandler, "Big Daddy" Favorite Television Dramatic Series: "ER," NBC Favorite Television Comedy Series: "Friends," NBC Favorite Male Television Performer: Drew Carey, "The Drew Carey Show" Favorite Female Television Performer: Calista Flockhart, "Ally McBeal" Favorite Male Performer in a New Television Series: Billy Campbell, "Once and Again" Favorite Female Performer in a New Television Series: Jennifer Love Hewitt, "Time of Your Life" Favorite New Comedy Series: (voted online) "Stark Raving Mad," NBC Favorite New Dramatic Series: (voted online) "Providence," NBC Favorite Musical Group: Backstreet Boys Favorite Male Artist: Ricky Martin Favorite Female Artist: Shania Twain