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It's All About 'Sex,' Drugs and Rock 'N Roll

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May 08, 2001 | 3:19am EDT

One thing remains clear after tonight's 58th Annual Golden Globe Awards: There was a definite lack of a dominant film on the block. Though certain sure bets did come out victorious, no single film was able to sweep the Globes, leaving the upcoming Oscar race as wide open as it was before.

Heavy contenders "Traffic," "Almost Famous," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "Gladiator" all took home two Globes apiece at the annual star-studded event.

As expected, Julia Roberts won the award for best actress in a movie (drama) for her work in "Erin Brockovich". However, she was visibly surprised when "Brockovich" director Steven Soderbergh went home empty-handed.

"I was shocked, actually," Roberts said backstage. "I suppose when I presented the best director and Steven [Soderbergh] didn't win for either film ["Traffic" and "Erin Brockovich"], I thought to myself that the film ["Erin Brockovich"] was not a family kind of thing."

Tom Hanks' win over Russell Crowe ("Gladiator") for best actor in "Cast Away" also added to the evening's biggest upsets.

"The whole season is a wild, wild ride," Hanks told reporters after picking up his award.

When asked what he would miss the most if he were stranded on a deserted island like his character in "Cast Away," he jokingly answered, "Oh gosh, my TV."

There's always a little bit of the unexpected at award shows, and this year's Golden Globe Awards was apparently no different.

Renee Zellweger pulled a Christine Lahti by temporarily being unavailable when her name was called as the winner for the best actress (comedy) award. The "Nurse Betty" star was in the restroom at the time.

"I was in the bathroom. Bad timing. I had something in my teeth and I just went to make sure," Zellweger told reporters backstage.

Actor George Clooney also emerged as the winner in the best actor (comedy) column for his work in "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" Clooney beat out John Cusack, Robert De Niro and Mel Gibson for the prize.

Benicio Del Toro

Early on, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association was caught up in "Traffic" -- and liking it. Benicio Del Toro picked up his first award in the best supporting actor category for his role in "Traffic" to kick off the show.

The actor edged out the likes of Willem Dafoe, Jeff Bridges, Albert Finney and Joaquin Phoenix, all of whom were nominated in the category.

"I got lucky," Del Toro said during his acceptance speech. "If they [the other nominees] want a recount, they can talk to my lawyer. It's just great to be recognized for what you love to do," the actor later told reporters backstage.

"Traffic" also earn its scribe, Stephen Gaghan, the Golden Globe for best screenplay.

But the border-crossing drug film -- which was nominated in five categories -- soon lost momentum, most notably with director Soderbergh's loss in the best director category to "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" helmer Ang Lee. The martial arts film was also named the best foreign film at tonight's event.

"Everything is great," the Taiwanese director told reporters backstage. "The best thing was meeting Julia Roberts."

Ridley Scott's Roman bloodbath "Gladiator" remained quiet most of the evening and seemed to have fallen by the wayside of the HFPA's top list, with a mere mention for best original score despite having tied "Traffic" with two awards apiece.

"Gladiator" finally proved otherwise by picking up the best picture (drama) nod -- decidedly one of the night's most important awards.

The best picture (comedy) award went to Cameron Crowe's "Almost Famous," which also earned ingenue Kate Hudson the best supporting actress win. The Goldie Hawn scion edged out veterans Judi Dench and Frances McDormand for the prize.

"This is so intense," Hudson said in her speech. Hudson also thanked Crowe and her husband, Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson.

"I felt so in love with Cameron and his vision," Hudson said backstage. "The script is so amazing."

But an amazing night it wasn't for the films "Chocolat," and "Billy Elliot". The two acclaimed pictures both went into the night's race with four noms each but came out empty-handed.

And multiple-nominee "Wonder Boys" only walked off with one award, a best original song for Bob Dylan's "Things Have Changed."

The race for the Globe on the TV front was just as even with "The West Wing" and "Sex and the City" leading the pack of winners with two statuettes each.

The HBO comedy was named best TV comedy for a second consecutive year, and series star Sarah Jessica Parker earned her second best actress in a TV comedy for the second year in a row.

"We had various scenarios laid out for best comedy," Parker said. "None of which included us."

NBC's political series "The West Wing" got both the best TV drama series and a best actor in a TV series (drama) for actor Martin Sheen -- beating out last year's winner James Gandolfini ("The Sopranos"), among others, in both categories.

"I'm quite certain there has been a big mistake," Sheen -- a loyal Democrat -- joked, keeping very much to the political theme of his series. "But I'm going to wait for the recount to finish."

Sarah Michelle Gellar & Freddie Prinze Jr.

Kelsey Grammer nabbed the best actor in a TV comedy award for "Frasier." And "Once and Again" actress Sela Ward took the best actress in a TV series (drama) award for her role in the ABC series, beating first-time nominees Jessica Alba of Fox's "Dark Angel" and Sarah Michelle Gellar of the WB's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

Of note was oft-troubled actor Robert Downey Jr.'s win in the best supporting actor in a TV comedy category for his stint on Fox's "Ally McBeal."

Downey -- who is currently facing drug possession charges -- got right to the point during his acceptance speech, simply thanking people he had worked with on the show.

"It just means a lot to me when people just come up to me on the streets and tell me that they are rooting for me," Downey told producer Dick Clark afterward.

And unlike other winners, Downey opted to read a prepared statement rather than doing Q&A with reporters backstage.

"I just want to share this with my fellow parolees, I mean, nominees," quipped Downey. "This really means a lot, and it's been great working on the show."

Vanessa Redgrave, the actor's female counterpart in the same category, won for her work in HBO's "If These Walls Could Talk 2."

Best TV miniseries or motion picture went to Showtime's original movie "Dirty Pictures," which chronicled the censorship controversy over photographer Robert Mapplethorpe's works.

Continuing on the tube front, though Dench lost out to Hudson in the best supporting actress (drama) category, Dench -- who was unable to attend the bash -- walked away with a best actress in a miniseries or TV movie for her role in HBO's "Last of the Blonde Bombshells." Best actor in the same category went to Brian Dennehy for Showtime's "Arthur Miller's Death of A Salesman."

The night's most interesting moment, perhaps, came at the very end of the show, when best picture (drama) presenter Elizabeth Taylor opened the winner's envelope before running down the list of nominees, causing Clark to come on stage to instruct the legendary actress on what to do.

The annual Cecil B. DeMille Award was presented to big-screen veteran Al Pacino by "American Beauty" Oscar winner Kevin Spacey.

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