Everyone’s worst nightmare came true for Christine Lahti at the 1998 Golden Globe Awards.
Lahti won Best Actress by an Actress in Television Series (Drama) for her performance in Chicago Hope that year — but was in the bathroom when her name was called. Almost 20 years later, Lahti is reliving the moment for the Golden Globes 75th Anniversary Special set to air next week — and PEOPLE has an exclusive look above.
“Everyone felt so embarrassed for me, maybe they could relate in a way,” the actress says.
The moment became one of the most memorable in pop culture history as the crowd waited for Lahti; Robin Williams even came up onstage to entertain for a few minutes.
Lahti finally came up onstage and jokingly finished, wiping her hand with a towel before saying, “I was in the bathroom, mom!” The actress now explains that it was the first thing she could think of.
“That was the first thing that occurred to me, that my mom would say, ‘What the hell were you doing in the bathroom? Couldn’t you have gone before?’ ”
Looking back now, Lahti appreciated the moment more. “It put it in a good perspective for me — a healthy perspective. Suddenly there’s this great humor attached to this whole evening instead of just nerves and anxiety and ‘who’s gonna beat who?'” she says.
The special will feature new and exclusive interviews with Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Jacob Tremblay, Kate Winslet, Brad Goreski, Helen Mirren, Jennifer Hudson, Jon Hamm, Matthew McConaughey, Octavia Spencer, Oscar Zuleta, Ricky Gervais, Sofia Vergara, Ving Rhames, William H. Macy and more. It airs Dec. 13 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.