Oliver Jones
January 21, 2013 12:00 PM

Close your eyes and imagine the ultimate Hollywood party. Stars banter over endless cocktails. The couture dazzles. And anything goes. Ask an insider what bash best lives up to fantasy, and the answer will likely be the Golden Globes. How did a show hosted by the tiny Hollywood Foreign Press Association become A-list fun? “Two words,” says film historian and critic Leonard Maltin. “Open. Bar.” The Globes began as a staid industry luncheon in 1944, but by 1958-when Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Rat Pack pals hijacked the mic at the Cocoanut Grove-a raucous rep was sealed. First telecast nationally in 1964, the Globes reveal Hollywood at its most unbuttoned, if not unbleeped: Christine Lahti was stuck in the john when her name was called; Jack Nicholson mooned the audience. “Years ago, there was a loose feeling because there were no cameras,” says the HFPA’s Judy Solomon. “Sometimes people forget cameras are there at all.” Poking fun at all the kiss-kiss between the HFPA and the stars is as old as the show itself. (It reached its height in 1982, when Pia Zadora won Best New Star of the Year amid talk her tycoon husband wooed voters.) But the HFPA and its honorees take it in stride, as long as the Globes remain “down and dirty and fun,” as current nominee Helen Mirren puts it. “There’s always champagne on the table,” says studio mogul Harvey Weinstein. “And it doesn’t remain full long.” Cheers.

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