From PEOPLE Magazine Click to enlarge
AS FORREST GUMP MIGHT SAY: OSCAR IS AS Golden Globe does. Clinging to that bit of conventional wisdom, Academy Award hopefuls such as Tom Hanks, Jamie Lee Curtis, Hugh Grant and Jessica Lange cranked up the wattage at the 52nd annual Golden Globes gala at L.A.'s Beverly Hilton on Jan. 21. Though the women opted for fashion understatement (black and white were the noncolors of choice), the winners—perhaps with visions of Oscar dancing in their heads—were overwhelmed with delight. "This feels great!" said True Lies' Curtis, casting composure aside as she bounded onstage, seized her trophy for best actress in a comedy and shook it happily over her head.

British heartthrob Hugh Grant bubbled, bedazzled and brought the house down with his dry wit. "It's tragic how much I'm enjoying getting this. It's heaven. Right up my alley," he said of his award for best actor in a comedy (Four Weddings and a Funeral). With a wicked grin he pretended to be put out by all the folks he had to thank. "It is with tremendous ill grace that I grudgingly acknowledge the contributions of a few other people," he said.

Only Hanks, who nabbed the best dramatic actor prize for Gump (the movie took three awards in all) dared to downplay the Globes' reputation as Oscar harbingers. "There are another 11 precursors now," he joked. "Actually, the Oscars are the precursors to the MTV awards."

Small-screen winners—the Globes also honor TV—felt somehow bigger as they clutched their trophies. "I'm going to be hard to work with," said Tim Allen, voted best actor in a TV comedy for his work on Home Improvement. "I'm going to get a cigarette holder and an ascot." And Dennis Franz, who took home an Emmy last fall for his performance as Det. Andy Sipowicz on NYPD Blue, seemed absolutely giddy over his best dramatic actor win. Said Franz: "I've been Miss America this year."

And how did the freshly crowned plan to kick up their heels? Curtis and Jessica Lange (best dramatic actress for her role in Blue Sky) couldn't wait to head home. But Grant was going for less wholesome revelry. "I was so drunk last night I can't contemplate getting drunk again," he said. "But I suppose I'll try."