Anne-marie O'neill and Christina Cheakalos
February 08, 1999 12:00 PM

I feel like Cinderella,” cooed Camryn “This-is-for-all-the-fat-girls” Manheim, decked out in a gray silk velvet Anne Klein and pigtails at the 56th annual Golden Globe Awards. “Only this time the slipper fit!” The plus-sized-and-proud-of-it star of The Practice–who took home a Globe for best supporting actress in a TV series to go with her memorable ’98 Emmy–wasn’t the only celeb to mix haute couture and homeyness at the star-studded Jan. 24 event. Kim Basinger (schoolgirlish in a charcoal silk skirt and pink cashmere sweater by Ralph Lauren) and Sarah Jessica Parker (in a sky blue strapless Donna Karan) traded stiletto heels for ballet slippers. As did Shakespeare in Love‘s Gwyneth Paltrow, who topped her opaline iridescent Calvin Klein skirt with a black cashmere twin set and yards of hair extensions. As for Christina Applegate, star of NBC’s Jesse, she confessed she chose her sparkly pink Christina Perrin gown because “it was easy to sit in. That’s something I look for when I pick out a dress.”

Less practical revelers partied at their peril. “I’m sucking it all in,” said Jamie Lee Curtis, in a form-fitting ice blue Pamela Dennis. Roma Downey felt her pain–or maybe it was hunger pangs. “All I ate today was granola,” moaned the Touched by an Angel star, who had fasted to fit into her blue silk taffeta strapless Richard Tyler gown. But few suffered more for beauty than Portia de Rossi, who was decked out like a fairy-tale princess in a pink-and-gray tulle Valentino ballgown. “Everyone is stepping on my dress,” complained the costar of Ally McBeal, which won as best comedy series. “I’m in mid-stride and then someone stomps on it and nearly knocks me to the ground.”

Once inside Los Angeles’s swank Beverly Hilton Hotel, where a pre-awards dinner of grilled chicken breast, shrimp and vegetables was served washed down with Moet, the festivities took on a rollicking air. “You just touched my butt!” squealed McBeal‘s Calista Flockhart, looking sleek in black-and-white satin by Pamela Dennis, to costar Greg Germann, dashing in a Hugo Boss silver vest and tuxedo. “Oh, I meant to do that,” he replied. Stanley Tucci was no more repentant as he hid a bottle of wine under his table. “They take them all off!” grumbled the best actor in a miniseries (HBO’s Winchell). “It’s tragic.”

But Jim Carrey, looking dapper in a navy blue Versace tuxedo, thought it all quite comic. “You know what this means?” he deadpanned as he accepted the best actor in a dramatic film award for The Truman Show. “I’m a shoo-in for the Blockbuster Award.” Spin City‘s Michael J. Fox used his best actor in a TV comedy acceptance speech to thank the doctors who treated him for Parkinson’s disease–and to share some hard-won wisdom: “Just take every day and enjoy it.”

Celebs heeded his advice–and then some–at the six studio parties, all held at the Hilton, that followed the show. At the Miramax bash, almost-new mom Jodie Foster, elegant in a beaded Armani, allowed herself some champagne during a rare foray away from 6-month-old Charles. “It’s very hard leaving him,” she said. “I wish I could have fit him in a little tuxedo.” Across the room, Paltrow, who won for best actress in a comedy, wasn’t exactly missing the last man in her life: Though her brother Jake was her official date, Paltrow had a hug and a whisper for recent ex and Shakespeare costar Ben Affleck. But that didn’t stop comedian Chris Rock from stepping in. “I heard,” he bellowed as he bear-hugged a beaming Paltrow, “and I’m here.”

So, it seemed, was every luminary in Hollywood. “I’ve never met Meryl Streep before,” gushed Gillian Anderson, swathed in a lilac silk and chiffon dress by Liliana Casabal, “and I’ve wanted to my entire life!” Ben Stiller was struck dumb in the presence of the evening’s Cecil B. De Mille lifetime achievement honoree, Jack Nicholson. “Just standing next to him,” said Stiller, “I was intimidated, in awe and kind of amused.”

Bemused was more the word for Italian actor Roberto Benigni (Life Is Beautiful). “I don’t know exactly where I am and exactly what I’m doing here,” he said, “but I feel good.”

Anne-Marie O’Neill and Christina Cheakalos
Kelly Carter, Steven Cojocaru, Julie Jordan and Monica Rizzo in Los Angeles and Cynthia Wang in New York City

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