The Golden Globes for drama had a definite foreign tone Sunday with “The English Patient” as best picture, England’s Brenda Blethyn as top actress for “Secrets & Lies” and Australia’s Geoffrey Rush for “Shine.”
“Evita” was a triple winner - as best musical or comedy movie, best musical-comedy actress for its star Madonna and best original song for “You Must Love Me.”
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association also bestowed honors on “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” with awards to director Milos Forman and writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski.
The Golden Globes, which often hint at Oscar winners, launch Hollywood’s movie awards season.
In the television category, “The X-Files” was voted top TV drama and its stars, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, won top TV dramatic-actor honors.
NBC-TV’s “3rd Rock From the Sun” won for top TV musical or comedy series and its star, John Lithgow, received the Golden Globe for best actor in that category. Helen Hunt of “Mad About You” was the top TV comedy actress.
“I have been so incredibly blessed in this past year,” a grateful Madonna, who also had her first baby last year, said in accepting her Golden Globe. “Making this picture has been a great experience artistically and spiritually. I will never forget it.”
Tom Cruise, the sports agent of “Jerry Maguire,” was the musical or comedy actor winner.
Blethyn, the mother of a black daughter she never knew in “Secrets & Lies,” was virtually unknown to American audiences before.
“I’m so happy to be in the building, much less standing up here,” she said in accepting her award.
Rush, who played the mentally troubled piano virtuoso of “Shine,” was a hugely popular winner with the stellar Beverly Hilton Hotel audience, which gave him an unusual standing ovation.
“I’m very proud to be part of a film that has taken such a vulnerable, peculiar and very human character and placed him at the heart of a film,” Rush said.
Forman was picked best motion picture director for “The People vs. Larry Flynt.” Mel Gibson, last year’s director winner for “Braveheart,” handed Forman the trophy.
“Last time, I got a cigar from Mel; this is better,” Forman told the audience during the nationally televised 54th presentations.
When screenwriters Alexander and Karaszewski were announced winners for “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” they hugged Larry Flynt, who sat nearby in his gold-plated wheelchair.
Veteran actress Lauren Bacall, who played the possessive mother of Barbra Streisand in “The Mirror Has Two Faces,” and Edward Norton, the suspected killer in “Primal Fear,” won movie supporting actor trophies.
Bacall waved her Golden Globe aloft to hoots of joy as the audience rose to its feet.
“I’m in a state of shock,” she said.
“This is the first time I’ve been nominated for an award in any role.”
The Golden Globe for best foreign language film went to the Czech Republic’s “Kolya.”
HBO’s “Rasputin” won the top TV miniseries or movie award as well as top actor for Alan Rickman and supporting actor for Ian McKellen.
Helen Mirren won as top actress in a miniseries or movie for Showtime’s “Losing Chase,” while Kathy Bates won the supporting actress trophy in that category for “The Late Shift.”