BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. &
Unlike a crippling writers strike that has dragged on for months, Hollywood's first big awards show was over in a flash, with no key winners, no stars in sight and no real fun for fans of show business glitz.
The Golden Globes on Sunday honored such films as the tragic romance "Atonement," the crime saga "No Country for Old Men," and the bloody musical "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street."
Yet no one film gained critical momentum that might set it ahead of the pack for the Academy Awards on Feb. 24, and a compressed Globes show highlighted what a joyless awards season this is for Hollywood.
The two-month-old strike by the Writers Guild of America scuttled the big celebrity bash at the 65th annual Globes, which were replaced by a bizarre and speedy news conference to announce recipients, without any winners around to gush their thanks.
"I wish circumstance would allow me to be there," Cate Blanchett, who won the supporting-actress prize for the Bob Dylan tale "I'm Not There," said in a statement.
With the Globes left in shambles, everyone in Hollywood was left wondering if the same fate might befall the town's big prizes come Oscar night on Feb. 24.
"I just hope this whole thing gets cleared up before the Academy Awards, because it would really be a tragedy if a similar fate transpired for them," said Richard Zanuck, producer of "Sweeney Todd," which won the Globe for best musical or comedy.
"Sweeney Todd" also earned Johnny Depp the Globe for best actor in a musical or comedy for his title role as the bloody barber who slits the throats of customers in his quest for vengeance.
Normally one of Hollywood's brightest nights, with stars carousing into the wee hours, the Globes this year became a mild curiosity as TV entertainment show hosts announced the winners in half an hour.
The guild, on strike since Nov. 5, had planned pickets outside the show if organizers tried to move ahead with their usual televised ceremony. With nominees and other stars refusing to cross picket lines, Globe planners had to scrap their glossy show and hope for better times in 2009.
"Rest assured that next year, the Golden Globe awards will be back bigger and better than ever," said Jorge Camara, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which hands out the awards.
Along with "Sweeney Todd," three other films received two prizes, with the tragic romance "Atonement" winning the top honor for best drama, plus the Globe for musical score.
The crime saga "No Country for Old Men" came away with the screenplay award for writer-directors Ethan and Joel Coen and the supporting-actor Globe for Javier Bardem, who offers a chilling performance as a killer tracking a fortune in wayward drug money.
The other double winner was "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," which received the directing prize for Julian Schnabel and the foreign-language film honor.
Coming into the evening, the awards season was blurry enough, lacking any of the front-runners that usually emerge in key categories.
The Globes did virtually nothing to sort out the Oscar picture, with the main prizes up for grabs among "Atonement," "No Country for Old Men" and other critical favorites such as "There Will Be Blood" and "Michael Clayton."
A historical epic set in California's oil-boom days of the early 20th century, "There Will Be Blood" earned Daniel Day-Lewis the Globe for dramatic actor.
The Writers Guild went on strike chiefly over members' share of potential profits from programming on the Internet and other new media.
Talks between writers and producers have been stalled for a month, though the weekend brought a new development that some in Hollywood sense could be an ice-breaker.
The Directors Guild of America began its own negotiations with producers, and any deal the union negotiates might prompt writers to follow suit.
Said Globes overseer Camara at the start of the show: "We all hope that the writers strike will be over soon so that everyone can go back to making good movies and television programs, which is what the Golden Globes were designed to celebrate."
Golden Globes speed by
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. &