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January 18, 2005

Golden Globes bring glitz, glamor ... and Wang

I never thought I'd say this, but thank god for Kathy Griffin! Last night on E!'s Golden Globes pre-show, she gained the title of First Host I've Ever Seen Ask a Funny Question on the Red Carpet. While Griffin dazzled us with actual witty repartee, "blessed" host Star Jones (who got about two-thirds of the airtime and the all the really famous stars) dazzled us with her inability to remember names or think on the spot.

No matter what awards show it is, the pre-show is always the best place to find out what everyone is wearing, who's dating whom, what famous old guy has a wife who is way hotter than he is, and—my personal favorite—who has something to say when they don't have a script in front of them. And so, even after watching Jones at her first pre-show for last year's Emmys and begging for the return of Joan and Melissa, I somehow managed to convince myself to tune in once again. I braced myself for the unavoidable insipid comments and the non-stop discussion of Al (we get it, Star—you're married). Neither of which were lacking in last night's extravaganza.

The Golden Globes—an awards show for both film and television that is often called the biggest party of the year—brings out the best of the red carpet. The guests and the nominees often include a few whom no one has ever heard of, along with the biggest and brightest. And this year's high-profile guest list included two of Hollywood's chronic no-shows, Leonardo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp. (DiCaprio beat out Depp and others for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama.)

A note on fashion: There's little to say, since classic was in and almost everyone looked fantastic. Women were colorful and men managed to stand out without looking outrageous. One of my favorites was Mariska Hargitay's pink Vera Wang (although somebody ought to have leant her a bra before she went up to accept her award for Best Actress in a TV Drama). The biggest misses of the night were from the gorgeous Natalie Portman, who just can't seem to get herself into something that's form-fitting, and Jen Garner, who would have looked incredible if she didn't have a huge frilly thing in the front of her bright red dress, making her look like she was trying to cover something up (a baby, perhaps?).

About 90 minutes into the two-hour show, Star proclaimed to Jamie Foxx (winner for Best Actor in the Motion Picture Musical or Comedy), "Sweetheart, we're live on TV right now!" You've just figured this out? That explains so much! Like why she rarely bothered to figure out what people's names were or let the viewers in on why a particular performer happened to be there. Or why she kept telling us the topics the producers told her not to talk about on the show. As Jones reminded us many times, they told her not to talk too much about fashion or about her marriage or to "gush." Hey, Star! If you listened to them, you might actually suck a little bit less.

Nonetheless, it was clear that the show's producers were actually trying. Although stars were rarely nearby, Griffin did get to have some fun that didn't feel terribly contrived, and she allowed people like Clive Owen to make a joke or two. She even had a few non-cringe-worthy moments of sincerity on the red carpet. With her as the throwback, even Ms. Jones seemed to suck a bit less.

Star Jones succeeded only when she had really fun stars come her way. The subtle humor of nominees William H. Macy and wife Felicity Huffman, the charm of Orlando Bloom and Kevin Spacey, and the beauty of Teri Hatcher and Debra Messing made the fact that Jones was there almost bearable. Or maybe, just maybe, those were the times she heeded her producers' requests.

The Golden Globes are in the running for the best pre-show of the year. But how can we really tell? I guess I'll just have to wait until March's Oscar pre-show. Because even if I don't care who's going to be on The View next week, I still have to know who's wearing Vera.