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by Eugene Hernandez
January 16, 2007 5:32 AM
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DISPATCH FROM AWARDS SEASON: "Babel" and "Dreamgirls" Win Best Picture Prizes at Golden Globes

Scenes from "Babel" and "Dreamgirls" winners of the top prizes at the Golden Globe awards. Photos provided by Paramount Vantage and Paramount/Dreamworks

In Los Angeles tonight, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association awarded its 64th Golden Globes honoring the best of 2006. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Babel" (from Paramount Vantage) won the best picture prize for the best drama of the year, while Bill Condon's "Dreamgirls" (from Paramount/Dreamworks) won the prize for best musical or comedy, making it a big night for Paramount studios. Martin Scorsese won the award for best director for "The Departed" and the prize for best foreign language film went to Clint Eastwood's "Letters from Iwo Jima."

Despite being selected by a small number of international journalists, the Golden Globes have become an important stop on the awards season circuit, drawing a star-studded array of celebrities at an event that includes bottles of champagne and apparently offers more casual atmosphere than other ceremonies. Prognosticators will immediately begin discussing and debating what the prizes mean for the Oscar race, which will heat up next week once the Academy Award nominations are announced.

Overall, "Dreamgirls" (a likely Oscar nominee for best picture) won three Golden Globe Awards along with best picture (musical or comedy), it was honored for best supporting actress for Jennifer Hudson and best supporting actor for Eddie Murphy. "The Queen" (another expected best picture Academy Award nominee) nabbed two prizes, winning best actress for Helen Mirren and best screenplay for Peter Morgan (in fact, Mirren won two trophies for playing two different Queen Elizabeths, also receiving a best actress award for her role in the TV series, "Elizabeth I"). "Babel" and "The Departed," also expected to receive a best picture nomination next week, each won one award tonight, while "Little Miss Sunshine," the other film expected to receive a best picture Oscar nod, went home empty-handed.

Accepting his prize during the nationally televised ceremony, British writer Peter Morgan ("The Queen") referenced international affairs. Morgan, who also wrote "The Last King of Scotland" (which was honored with a best actor - drama award for Forest Whitaker), asked during his speech, "What do we have to go to get our leaders to listen to us? What do we have to do to get them to change tact?" Continuing he added, "You have to believe that public protest counts for something," before quickly wrapping up his speech.

Another noteworthy acceptance came from none other than Sasha Baron Cohen, winner of the best actor (comedy) prize for "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan." Referencing the uproarious, extended naked wrestling scene in his film, Cohen thanked his on screen co-star in the nude sequence. "This movie was a life changing experience," he said, adding that he saw, "some amazing and dark parts of America." Adding that he saw an ugly side that "rarely sees the light of day," Cohen added that he was referring to, "the anus and testicles of my co-star" (Ken Davitian). Continuing, he added that while shooting the scene, he stared at his co-star's "golden globes" and thought, "I better win a bloody award for this."

Singled out during post-show TV coverage was the speech by Meryl Streep, accepting the best actress (musical or comedy) prize for her role in "The Devil Wears Prada." After offering thank-yous, she noted that her film was seen in theaters everywhere, but then noted that other movies don't always have such a wide reach. She explained to the TV audience, "If you can't see 'Little Children' or 'Pan's Labyrinth' or 'The Queen' or all these great movies -- 'Volver', 'Notes on a Scandal', 'Sherrybaby' -- you have to go down to your theater manager and ask him why." She concluded, "It's amazing how much you can get if you clearly and authoritatively demand it."

The full list of the 2007 Motion Picture winners at the 64th Golden Globes:

Drama: "Babel" (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu)

Musical or Comedy: "Dreamgirls" (Bill Condon)

Director: Martin Scorsese ("The Departed")

Actress (Drama): Helen Mirren ("The Queen")

Actor (Drama): Forest Whitaker ("The Last King of Scotland")

Actress (Musical or Comedy): Meryl Streep ("The Devil Wears Prada")

Actor (Musical or Comedy): Sasha Baron Cohen ("Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan")

Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson ("Dreamgirls")

Supporting Actor: Eddie Murphy ("Dreamgirls")

Foreign Language Film: "Letters from Iwo Jima" (Clint Eastwood)

Screenplay: Peter Morgan ("The Queen")

Animated Film: "Cars" (John Lasseter, Joe Ranft)

Original Score: Alexandre Desplat ("The Painted Veil")

Original Song: "The Song of the Heart" ("Happy Feet")

TAGS: Awards
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