Golden Globe Awards: Bellwether for This Year's Oscar Winners?

INSTEAD of sweeps, this year's Golden Globe awards were a divergent mix, from the 19th-century style of ''Sense and Sensibility'' as best dramatic picture to the talking-pig tale ''Babe'' as best comedy.

Nicolas Cage, the death-wish alcoholic of ''Leaving Las Vegas,'' and Sharon Stone, the treacherous wife in ''Casino,'' won best dramatic acting awards.

Mel Gibson won best director honors for his Scottish-independence epic ''Braveheart,'' and John Travolta and Nicole Kidman won Globes for acting in a comedy or musical.

The only 1995 film to score more than one award Sunday night was ''Sense and Sensibility,'' which was also selected for Emma Thompson's screenplay adapted from the Jane Austen novel of manners.

''Babe'' producer George Miller donned a toy pig snout and thanked the animal cast and 400 crew members for the best comedy or musical award. ''A lot of people helped bring this little pig to life,'' he said.

Travolta, who ended a long career drought last year with ''Pulp Fiction'' and won this year for his role as a Hollywood gangster in ''Get Shorty,'' commented, ''I don't know exactly what I've done to deserve the goodwill.''

Kidman won for her role in the dark farce ''To Die For'' about being famous and murderous. She thanked ''everyone who has ever been nice to me'' and paid tribute to her husband, Tom Cruise, ''for such tenderness, love, and happiness, and this would be nothing without him.''

In accepting the director's award, Gibson said: ''I didn't expect to get this.''

Many in the audience were also surprised because of an expected swell of support for Ron Howard of ''Apollo 13'' and Ang Lee of ''Sense and Sensibility,'' who were considered favorites.

Howard's film, as well as Rob Reiner's ''The American President,'' which garnered five nominations, were shut out.

Supporting awards went to Mira Sorvino, the good-hearted prostitute in ''Mighty Aphrodite,'' and Brad Pitt, the mental patient in ''12 Monkeys.''

''I want to thank the amazing Woody Allen for giving me this role,'' Sorvino said as her tearful father, actor Paul Sorvino, proudly looked on.

Pitt was a surprise - and surprised - winner, too. The award to Stone for ''Casino'' proved another surprise, since Elisabeth Shue in ''Leaving Las Vegas'' and Thompson in ''Sense and Sensibility'' had been highly touted.

''And no one is more surprised than me. OK!'' Stone said. ''OK, it's a miracle.''

The warmest part of the evening came when the Cecil B. DeMille award for career achievement went to Sean Connery, the first of the silver screen's James Bonds.

After a thunderous ovation, he shared his philosophy about filmmaking, saying that although many of his films have been action-packed, he believes in the quiet, human moments of movie narrative.

''If actors and actresses are good at what they do, and if you the audience are affected, moved by the stories we help to tell, then that's the real reward,'' he said.

''Truthfully, it's the stuff in between the punches, the shootings, and the car crashes that really counts. The scenes between the man and the woman that try to say something about how we really behave, how we really feel. That ultimately is what moves people.''

''In other words, I prefer my audiences to be stirred, not shaken.''

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association began its 53rd annual award spree by naming Cybill Shepherd of ''Cybill'' and Kelsey Grammer of ''Frasier'' as the best actress and actor, respectively, in a musical or television comedy series.

Shepherd's CBS sitcom ''Cybill'' was also selected as best musical or comedy TV series.

HBO's ''Indictment: The McMartin Trial'' was cited for best dramatic mini-series or motion picture, and Shirley Knight as best supporting actress in that category.

Fox's fledgling ''Party of Five'' scored as best dramatic series over such powerhouses as ''ER'' and ''NYPD Blue.''

The foreign press association's picks have become a bellwether for the Academy Awards. In the last three years, the Oscars have almost mirrored the Golden Globes, slated this year for March 25.

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