BEVERLY HILLS — Call it Golden Globes Lite. Only instead of trophies, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association handed out nearly $2 million in grants to nonprofit groups.
The organization behind the annual Golden Globe Awards drew on its boozy dinner model to present the donations Thursday night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, with stars including Morgan Freeman, Sofia Vergara, Kerry Washington, Channing Tatum and Robert Pattinson dining together before appearing onstage to accept the grants.
But where the Globes are a free-wheeling affair marked by the occasional drunken acceptance speech, the grants dinner was a staid, hour-long event where everyone stuck to the script.
"How exciting to be here presenting at the Golden Globes!" Jason Segel said, reading from a teleprompter. Anne Heche corrected him that it was a grants presentation, just as her script said.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has long shared a portion of its awards-show earnings with film schools and nonprofits dedicated to arts education and film preservation, giving nearly $20 million to date.
The international journalists' group traditionally awarded the grants at a star-studded but low-key luncheon. It shifted the presentation to dinner "to make it an even more special event," press association President Theo Kingma said. The presentation was also streamed online.
He opened the evening with a tribute to Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall, who both died earlier this week. He lauded Bacall as "an icon of the silver screen," and he thanked Williams for "using his creative talent not just as an actor, but also as a tool to raise public awareness through his numerous charities."
"No performer likes to be confronted with silence," Kingma said. "So therefore, in memory of Lauren Bacall and Robin Williams, I'd like to ask you for a moment of applause."
A series of brief celebrity appearances followed, with each actor reading a few lines about the charities being honored and accepting checks on their behalf. Recipients included the Screen Actors Guild Foundation, Sundance Institute, Outfest and Inner-City Arts.
The brightest moments came when stars went off script, as Minnie Driver did when she flubbed one of her lines.
"I'm not going to get this job, am I?" she said. "I've got it after worse auditions than this."