What comes to mind when the stars think of the Golden Globes? Some winners, nominees — and watchers — share their thoughts.
“My first Golden Globe nomination was for Malcolm in the Middle. It was a total shock and the first nomination I’d ever received for anything. I didn’t win, but as my wife and I were heading off to one of the parties afterward, the exodus of famous people from the ballroom came to a grinding halt.
"I tried to abide by the specific instructions given to us: ‘Please don’t stop to sign autographs in the hotel. It will clog up the line and create a fire hazard in the lobby.’ The line wasn’t moving anyway.
“Two teenage girls were begging me to sign their autograph books. I whispered apologies that I couldn’t. They persisted. I looked to my wife, Robin, who cocked her head as if to say, ‘Why not?’ The line still wasn’t moving, so I slid over to the containment rope and held out my hand low to slyly receive their books. I was tickled that they so desperately wanted my signature as a keepsake.
"They were now beaming with joy. As I lifted the first book to sign, one of the girls asked a simple question: ‘Who are you?’
“Robin burst out laughing. I was momentarily thrown. I looked at their innocently sincere faces, waiting for an answer. I smiled, wrote into their books, handed it back to them, and said thank you as we slowly moved on to the party. Robin asked what I had written. I said, ‘It was nice to meet you. Love, Tom Cruise.’”
“When I think of the Golden Globes, I think of the entire cast and creators of Will & Grace sitting at our table, and year after year — maybe seven years in a row — losing our category. Every time we lost, we would yell, lift all of our champagne glasses and take a swig. I would immediately dig into this little box of chocolates because I had to fit into my dress and now it didn’t matter.
“This became a running joke on the set of Will & Grace. I believe we were nominated for 27 Golden Globes and we didn’t win one. By the end we knew it wasn’t going to go our way, so we had the champagne glasses ready. But we loved it every year, and we were so thrilled to be there.”
“Well, it’s hard not to think of , the year I won for Top of the Lake. Still, the best moment of that night for me was when I introduced myself to Helen Mirren, who was sitting at the same table, and she looked up and said, ‘I know who the fuck you are!’
“That she knew who I was blew me away, and the line was perfection — exactly what I would have wanted her to say. She then came up to me after I won and was so kind and awesome and congratulated me. Winning the award was such an honor, but getting to meet one of my heroes and having those exchanges with her certainly rivaled it for me.”
“I’ll never forget the support the Globes gave us when Jonathan Glazer’s film Birth came out. It was not popular, despite the fact that now, almost 15 years later, it is one of my performances people mention to me most.
"I love the Globes’ spirit of independence, the fact that they’re never afraid to follow the beat of their own drummer. They’ve offered great creative validation to me over the years, going all the way back to Billy Bathgate and the nomination that told me I could be taken seriously as an actor.”
“The best Globes memory for me was when we were nominated for Ugly Betty. I was very excited to go and I started in December looking for a dress. But I started bloating up abnormally fast, growing by the minute even though I wasn’t eating that much. I’d try a dress on, and the next week it wouldn’t fit anymore.
“Then, a few days before the Globes, I found out that I was pregnant. It was really early in the pregnancy, so I couldn’t tell anybody. I just had to get a dress that stretched and be quiet about it, no matter what anyone said. It was nerve-wracking, but we won [for best television series, comedy or musical] so maybe it was a good-luck charm. The only problem was, I knew I couldn’t drink and celebrate.”
“Even though I won a Golden Globe [in 2016], I always associate that awards show with the time [in 1998] that Christine Lahti was late to accept her award because she was in the bathroom. It happened when I was a kid, and it was the first time I realized that fancy Hollywood people went to the bathroom like everybody else.
"Up until that point, I had pictured that all of them reigned from on high like Greek gods, and servants held golden bedpans under them whenever they had to make a pee or doody.”
“The first Globes experience that comes to mind for me? Every year, after the ceremony, a few writers and I — still formally dressed — would go to McDonald’s to celebrate not winning.”
“One of the greatest Golden Globe moments I’ve seen was when two-time Golden Globe winner Jim Carrey took the stage to present the award for best motion picture comedy in 2016. He opened with, ‘I don’t just dream any old dream. No sir. I dream of being three-time Golden Globe winner Jim Carrey… because then I would be enough….’
“So unexpected, so sincere, so profound, so perfect. If we don’t check the hamster wheel of ambition in ourselves, it will always ‘never be enough.’”
“I can’t help but recall last year’s ceremony: being a first-time nominee, getting to sit alongside my entire cast, celebrating our show’s nomination. It was like something out of a dream — I think the very idea that it’s an elegant and elevated event but a much more relaxed evening, makes it a standout to anyone lucky enough to attend.”
“Two things come to mind from last year…. First, all the big film people sat closest to the stage in a square, and the TV people sat just above and around them in a peasants’ gallery. It works out well, as you have a great vantage point for spotting heroes and elbowing neighbors about those sightings.
"The second thing I’ll never forget is how for all the raucous, loud, alcohol-fueled fun, the silence when Meryl Streep spoke was deafening.”
This article originally appeared in emmy magazine, Issue No. 10, 2017