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Golden Globes Handed Out - 2001-01-22

"Gladiator" was named best dramatic film, but the film's star, Russell Crowe, lost the award of best dramatic actor to Tom Hanks in "Cast Away." "Cast Away" tells the tale of a man marooned on an island after an airplane crash.

Julia Roberts was named best dramatic actress for her title role in "Erin Brockovich." The story of a crusading legal worker was based on a real-life drama, and the real Erin Brockovich was at the awards show Sunday.

Backstage at the Golden Globes, Julia Roberts explained why she found the role attractive. "There's so much to play, so many different aspects of her personality," she said. "And the tenacity in home life and work life. Characters are (usually) one-dimensional or two-dimensional, if you're lucky. This is like six or nine-dimensional you know, a lot going on. She's really an amazing, remarkable woman and I'm just honored and thrilled to step into her high-heeled shoes."

Steven Soderbergh directed "Erin Brockovich", and he competed for the award of best director for that film. He also directed "Traffic," a film about the drug trade, and was also being considered for best director for that movie.

The directing award went, instead, to Hong Kong moviemaker Ang Lee for his Chinese-language film "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." It also received the award for best foreign-language picture.

Movie critics have acclaimed the martial arts romance, which is unusual for a film in that genre. "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" has also been embraced by the movie-going public. The director says Chinese films are starting to reach an international audience. "I think that is happening," he said. "It's about time. We never had that creative force to be noticed in the worldwide audience. I think it's great it's happening, and the (Chinese) filmmakers are being more sophisticated."

The drug-war drama "Traffic" earned Golden Globe awards for supporting actor Benicio del Toro and writer Stephen Gaghan. The writer was impressed with the way that Michael Douglas and the film's other actors brought his script to life. "You see someone doing it like Michael and you can't imagine (anyone else) it's just him, suddenly. It's not at all a script," he said. "It's not the thing that I was alone with for a couple of years. It mutates, gets better, and then leaves, like a kid going to college."

The story of a rock-and-roll music writer, "Almost Famous," received the Golden Globe for best movie in the comedy or musical category. Kate Hudson earned a Golden Globe for her supporting role in that film and George Clooney was named best comedy actor for "O Brother, Where art Thou?" Renee Zellweger was named best comedy actress for "Nurse Betty."

The Golden Globes honor television shows, as well as movies. The series "West Wing" was named best television drama and its star, Martin Sheen, was named best dramatic actor. Martin Sheen plays U.S. President Jeb Bartlet in the series.

Although the story is fictional, Martin Sheen says it deals with important public issues. "And, I think we are in a sense putting a face on the bureaucracy," he said. "There are a lot of good and decent people in both parties who serve the nation out of a great sense of patriotism and duty. And they rarely get any credit at all. And I think maybe our show is shining a light on those people, to a certain extent, and that's terrific. It's also a civics lesson for a lot of people. They don't have a clue how the executive branch works. And I don't either, but we're having fun doing it."

The Golden Globe awards are presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, an organization of just 84 members. The awards are viewed as important because winners are often considered contenders for the Academy Awards, the Oscars. The Oscars will be presented in late March.

Backstage at the Golden Globes, actor Tom Hanks noted the start of the annual season for Hollywood movie awards. "The whole season is a wild, wild ride," he said. "If you happen to see a torpedo passing and you can grab onto it, you just hold onto it until it comes to a stop."

And when it comes to a stop in April, Hollywood will start gearing up for next year's movie awards.