Spanning the Globes

updated 01/26/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/26/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

In a season of statuette overload, how do the Golden Globe Awards remain such a high-spirited affair? The answer, as past Globe winners know, may lie in the spirits themselves. "Any awards show where you can drink is the best," says Diane Keaton. Observes Hugh Grant: "By the time people get up to give their speech, they have consumed massive amounts of wine and champagne."

On Jan. 25 the stars get to eat, guzzle and be merry once again (the crowd of 1,300 will consume 204 bottles of white wine, 220 bottles of red and 156 magnums of Moët champagne) for the 61st annual ceremony, airing on NBC. As one of the few shows to recognize both film and TV work, "it's like the Emmys and Oscars combined," says The Cooler nominee Alec Baldwin. "It's staggering to see all those stars together." In fact, the wattage has outshone the controversy surrounding the Globe voters, the 93-member Hollywood Foreign Press Association. A new Trio Network documentary, The Golden Globes: Hollywood's Dirty Little Secret, highlights such Globe embarrassments as Pia Zadora's 1981 New Star of the Year win for Butterfly (Zadora's tycoon husband had flown HFPA members to see her perform in Vegas). Yet in the past two decades, the Globes "has changed from the proverbial joke to a highly regarded set of awards," says Trio president Lauren Zalaznick. Besides, she adds, "the whole process around who wins...who cares? Everyone's still going to watch." Here's a toast to the nominees—and to some memorable Global goofiness.

Best Actor

Mystic River
"The more life you've lived," the actor told ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, "the more significant the places you can take a character." Will the 43-year-old Penn—"the finest actor of his generation," says Mystic director Clint Eastwood—finally win over Globes voters with his mature, wrenching turn as Mystic River's ex-con? (He's 0 for 3 so far.) Middle age seems to have mellowed Penn, who gave an equally assured performance in the recent 21 Grams. The father of Dylan, 12, and Hopper, 10, with wife Robin Wright Penn, he still makes headlines for his political statements (most recently, against the war in Iraq) but told TIME, "I'm pretty engaged with everything in my life right now. I haven't always been like this."

Cold Mountain
Law scored his third Globe nod as a runaway Confederate soldier trying to make his way home to Nicole Kidman.

House of Sand and Fog
Kingsley, who won a best actor Globe for 1982's Gandhi, hopped continents to play Fog's domineering Iranian exile.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
A British navy captain in Master, Crowe navigated to a win in 2002 for A Beautiful Mind.

The Last Samurai
A Globe favorite—three wins, six nominations—still waiting for an Oscar, Cruise speaks softly and carries a big sword in Samurai.

Best Actress

The South African-born beauty, 28, stunned critics by banishing vanity and gaining 30 lbs. to transform herself into serial killer Aileen Wuornos. "It was a very desperate life she led," says the actress, who recently discussed her own painful past: In 1991, her mother, Gerda, shot and killed her father, Charles, in self-defense. Now focusing on her career and her romance with actor Stuart Townsend, 31 Theron says she handles statuette season "one day at a time."

Cold Mountain
Last year's winner in this category for The Hours, Kidman scored again for her turn as a southern belle turned survivor.

Kill Bill—Vol. 1
Quentin Tarantino's muse sliced, diced and slayed her way to a nomination as an assassin in the ultra-bloody Bill.

Veronica Guerin
The Australian actress won a '99 Globe for Elizabeth; she's back with another real-life heroine, slain Irish journalist Guerin.

Girl with a Pearl Earring
The 19-year-old double nominee (see page 118) is also up for best comedy actress for her turn in Lost In Translation.

Wood, 16, amazed critics as a schoolgirl gone wild. Holly Hunter, as her mom, is up for a supporting actress award.

Memorable Moments

Stop, Thief!
When a drunk Paul Lynda lost best TV comedy actor to Sanford and Son's Redd Foxx in 1973, he stood up and screamed, "I was robbed!"

It's the Thought That Counts
HFPA voters were sent $395 Coach watches plugging Sharon Stone's turn in 1999's The Muse. They sent them back, and Stone didn't win.

Best Actor
musical or comedy

School of Rock
He's an underdog by any estimate, but first-time nominee Black promises to entertain should voters turn out hot for teacher. On Globes night, he says, "I'll probably get the stretch Hummer and skintight velvet red tux, cummerbund optional." As the PG-13 School of Rock's power-chord-loving substitute, he suppressed the salty language. "I had to say it with my eyebrows and lip muscles," says Black, 34. At least he should win Best Supporting Brows.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Depp, a Keith Richards-channeling buccaneer, got his last nod for '94's Ed Wood.

Lost in Translation
Murray's subtle work as an emotionally adrift actor shooting a commercial in Tokyo landed him a third nomination.

Something's Gotta Give
He mock-mooned the Globes audience in '98—and showed his tush for real as Give's aging lothario for his 16th nomination.

Bad Santa
As a cussing, drinking, bank-robbing store Santa, Thornton notched his fourth nod (he received two in 2002).

Best Actress
musical or comedy

Lost In Translation
Johansson scored two lead acting nods (she's up for drama Girl with a Pearl Earring too), but please don't call her this year's It Girl. "It's awful to be the 'It Girl,' because then you're the 'Once-Was-an-'It-Girl' girl," says the 19-year-old actress. And don't expect Johansson—who has been dating miniseries acting nominee Patrick Wilson—to slow down anytime soon. "Married and kids? God no," she says. "In 10 years I'll be getting my preventative face-lift."

Something's Gotta Give
Keaton scored her ninth nod (she won for '77's Annie Hall) for creating grown-up romantic chemistry with Jack Nicholson.

Freaky Friday
As a mom who swaps bodies with her teen daughter, Curtis let loose—and earned her sixth nod. (She has won twice before.)

Under the Tuscan Sun
Nominated last year for Unfaithful (Nicole Kidman took the trophy), Lane showed her lighter side as Tuscan's love-struck writer.

Calendar Girls
Thanks to a hilariously bare performance, the British actress, who is also nominated in the TV movie category, has racked up six nods.

Say What?

"Just look at my dress until I can think of something to say."
Cher in 1984

"I'm the Tom Hanks of the Golden Globes!"
Jim Carrey, after his second straight win in 2000

"I'm reminded of when Joan Crawford won her award and said, 'I'll show you a pair of Golden Globes!' "
Bette Midler (with Michael Douglas) in 1980

"I'd like to thank the makers of Kaopectate. They've done a great service for their fellow man."
Brad Pitt, who said he had a "nervous stomach," in 1996

Jason Lynch and Michelle Tauber. Michael Fleeman, Will Keck, Susan Christian-Goulding, Julie Jordan, Carrie Bell, Marisa Laudadio and Johnny Dodd/Los Angeles and Rachel Felder/New York City

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