Shining star of golden night

"Good evening, good evening, and welcome, you bunch of despicable, spoiled, minimally talented brats."

Those infamous words spoofed by hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in their opening monologue - words used by producer Scott Rudin to describe Angelina Jolie in the Sony hacking scandal - rang loud and true at the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards.

Hollywood celebrities were honoured and roasted alike for their work on the big and small screen at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday night.

But the one person who was perhaps less despicable, spoiled and minimally talented than his peers was George Clooney, who was bestowed the Cecil B. DeMille Award to celebrate the US actor's outstanding contributions both in front of and behind the camera.

All eyes were on him too as he made his first public appearance with new wife Amal Alamuddin since getting hitched last September in Venice, Italy.

Surprising results over the three-hour ceremony included director Richard Linklater being lauded for his ground-breaking film Boyhood, which gave the film-maker the Best Director and Best Picture wins. Favourite Benedict Cumberbatch went home empty-handed as fellow Brit Eddie Redmayne trumped him in the Best Actor category.

On the TV front, new shows Transparent and The Affair were big winners.

But for us, the biggest winner was Clooney. Here are five reasons why he was the real star of the night.

1. HE CAN TAKE A JOKE

Right off the bat, the notorious prankster was a huge target for Fey and Poehler's zingers.

"George Clooney married Amal Alamuddin last year," said Fey.

"Amal is a human rights lawyer who worked on the Enron case, was an adviser to Kofi Annan regarding Syria, and was selected for a three-person UN commission investigating rules of war violations in the Gaza Strip.

"So, of course, her husband is getting a lifetime achievement award."

Ever the good sport, Clooney laughed off the comment and later told reporters backstage that he "didn't even think that was a joke", adding that Fey and Poehler are "the best hosts of this show and I'm sorry they're not going to do it again".

2. HE IS IDOLISED BY OTHER STARS

Clooney's former co-stars Don Cheadle and Julianna Margulies coined a new term - F.O.G: Friends Of George - as they introduced Clooney for his award.

The pair took turns to boast about how close they are to Clooney, with Margulies pulling out the ace - that no one else had the opportunity to work with Clooney for 100 episodes on ER, the TV series that made him a star.

She said that knowing him comes with great privileges, as "he's a warm caring friend to all he meets".

3. HE MAKES US SWOON

We all expect the man of the hour to pun on current affairs such as the recent Sony hacking and make self-deprecating jokes about himself.

But what we did not foresee was the notoriously private celeb making a public declaration of love for his new wife during his acceptance speech.

He said: "It's a humbling thing when you find someone to love - even better when you've been waiting your whole life.

"And when your whole life is 53 years... Amal, whatever alchemy it is that brought us together, I couldn't be more proud to be your husband."

She looked at Clooney adoringly as she tried to hold back tears.

Later backstage, he said that his wedding even impacted his attire.

"I'm wearing my wedding tux," he revealed of his recycled Giorgio Armani creation.

Clooney also shifted the spotlight to Amal, telling journalists at the red carpet how he hoped he would not step on the train of her one-shoulder Dior Couture gown.

He said that she made the pair of elbow-length white gloves herself: "She sewed them this morning. She's very handy."

4. EVER THE ACTIVIST

He received a rousing ovation at the end of the same speech, in which he addressed the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris, France.

"Today was an extraordinary day. There were millions of people that marched, not just in Paris but around the world," said Clooney, who wore a Je Suis Charlie (French for I Am Charlie) slogan button on his tux in support of free speech and freedom of expression.

"And they were Christians and Jews and Muslims. They were leaders of countries all over the world, and they didn't march in protest.

"They marched in support of the idea that we will not walk in fear. We won't do it. So Je Suis Charlie."

5. HE IS GRACIOUS

You can count on Clooney to keep his cool even when a stunt goes wrong.

At the red carpet, E!'s Live From The Red Carpet host Ryan Seacrest presented the couple with customised "Game Over" T-shirts, which featured a sad-faced man and a smiling woman, teasing him that the one-time most eligible bachelor is finally off the market.

Clooney, looking embarrassed, dismissed it with polite laughter, while his missus simply smiled.

He did not have a better time with the show's other anchor Giuliana Rancic further down the red carpet.

Rancic, who is known for her infatuation with the actor, invited Clooney to take a tequila shot with her, which was turned down by the mildly annoyed-looking star even though she was trying to plug his brand of tequila, Casamigos Ultra-Premium Tequila.

Clooney's classy reply? "I think it would be a bad idea. Because I've spoken with alcohol, and I've gotten myself in trouble."


This article was first published on January 13, 2015.
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