Hollywood salutes the Queen: Gongs, globes and British glory

Helen Mirren is tipped for an Oscar after leading the Britpack to success at the traditional opener for the awards season. Andrew Gumbel reports from Los Angeles
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The Independent US

This year's Golden Globes more than lived up to their reputation as the saltiest, most irreverent of Hollywood's awards. Tom Hanks, presenting a lifetime achievement award to Warren Beatty, talked extensively about his honoree's balls. Sacha Baron Cohen - the man behind the moustache in Borat - talked extensively about the testicles and hairy buttocks of his outsize co-star, Ken Davitian.

And, as usual, a clutch of Brits stole the show, none more obviously than Dame Helen Mirren, pictured right, who won the best actress in a drama award for her astonishingly complex portrayal of Queen Elizabeth - the one now occupying the throne - and picked up a second Golden Globe for playing another Queen Elizabeth - the Tudor Virgin Queen - in a television mini series.

Peter Morgan, who wrote the screenplay for Stephen Frears' film The Queen, picked up the best screenplay award. And Baron Cohen, stepping out of character for the first time in months, confirmed his new-found status as a Hollywood phenomenon by winning the prize for best actor in a musical or comedy.

"I saw some amazing, beautiful, invigorating parts of America," Baron Cohen said of the Borat experience. "But I saw some dark parts of America, an ugly side of America. A side of America that rarely sees the light of day. I refer, of course, to the anus and testicles of my co-star, Ken Davitian."

Davitian played Borat's hapless television producer and participated in the film's single most eyecatching scene, a bout of naked Kazakh wrestling. "Ken," Baron Cohen went on, "when I was in that scene and I stared down and saw your two wrinkled golden globes on my chin, I thought to myself, 'I better win a bloody award for this'."

Such were the highlights of an evening that went almost exactly as expected from start to finish.

Dreamgirls, the musical loosely based on the career of the Motown group The Supremes, won best film in the musical/ comedy category, as well as supporting actor prizes for Eddie Murphy and the newcomer Jennifer Hudson. Martin Scorsese was named best director for The Departed, a police drama set in Boston that stars Leonard DiCaprio.

Forest Whitaker won the best actor award for his astonishing portrayal of Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. Meryl Streep was honoured for best actress in a comedy for her turn as the boss from hell in The Devil Wears Prada. And Clint Eastwood's Japanese-language Letters from Iwo Jima, a hot Oscar favourite, was also recognised - although the Golden Globes' rules dictated it could win only in the foreign-language category.

The only real surprise of the evening was Babel, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's international ensemble movie, which edged out Scorsese's The Departed to win best dramatic film. Inarritu accepted the award from an old favourite of the movie industry, the California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who hobbled in on crutches following a recent skiing accident. That choice, though, is likely to remain an anomaly during the awards season for 2007 - a reflection of the small size of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the improbably influential group of freelance journalists who run the Golden Globes.

Oscar nominations, due to be announced next week, are expected to focus on Dreamgirls and Letters from Iwo Jima, the two hottest favourites for best picture. The Academy Awards' best actress race, meanwhile, appears to be all Mirren's - a point on which the actress was characteristically low-key both during and after the ceremony.

"In 1952," she said in her acceptance speech, "a woman called Elizabeth Windsor at the age of 25 walked into literally the role of a lifetime and I honestly feel this award belongs to her because I think you fell in love with her, not with me."

Altogether feistier was Jennifer Hudson, the supporting actress who belts her heart out in the big showstopping number in Dreamgirls. Hudson shot to fame as a participant on American Idol, the US equivalent of Pop Idol, but notoriously did not win - because Simon Cowell did not want her to.

Accepting her award, she was the embodiment of the America fantasy of success against the odds, and paid tribute to Flo Ballard, the discarded Supremes member on whom her character was based. "I've always dreamt," she said, "but never ever this big."

Film and television winners at the 64th Golden Globe awards

Movies

Film: Drama Babel

Actor, Drama: Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland

Actress, Drama: Helen Mirren, The Queen

Musical/Comedy: Dreamgirls

Actor, Musical/Comedy: Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Actress, Musical/Comedy: Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada

Director: Martin Scorsese, The Departed

Supporting actor: Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls

Supporting actress: Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls

Foreign Language Film: Letters From Iwo Jima

Animated film: Cars

Original Song: "The Song of the Heart," from Happy Feet

Original Score: Alexandre Desplat, The Painted Veil

Screenplay: Peter Morgan, The Queen

Television

Drama series: Grey's Anatomy

Actor, Drama: Hugh Laurie, House

Actress, Drama: Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer

Comedy series: Ugly Betty

Actor, Comedy: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock

Actress, Comedy: America Ferrera, Ugly Betty

Mini series or Movie: Elizabeth I

Actor, Miniseries or TV Movie: Bill Nighy, Gideon's Daughter

Actress, Miniseries or TV Movie: Helen Mirren, Elizabeth I

Supporting Actor, Miniseries or TV Movie: Jeremy Irons, Elizabeth I

Supporting Actress, Miniseries or TV Movie: Emily Blunt, Gideon's Daughter

Cecil B DeMille Award: Warren Beatty

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