BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Now that awards season starts around the same time stores stock Christmas decorations (like, summer), by the time the Golden Globe Awards rolls around it’s possible to have a serious case of statue fatigue.
But this year’s crop of new nominees are really breathing life into the festivities in Los Angeles.
Saturday’s BAFTA/LA Awards Season Tea Party at the Beverly Hills Hotel was a prime example. “Glee” star Kevin McHale, who plays wheelchair-bound Artie Abrams, readily admitted he never though he’d be standing in a room with the likes of Quentin Tarantino, and Sir Paul McCartney. (By the way, BAFTA is the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.)
“When the show started I never thought it would end up like this, I can’t believe it’s been so successful,” said McHale, a lifelong singer who had a brief stint in a boy band. “Yeah, I tried the boy band thing, it didn’t last too long. This is a much better job.”
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Ty Burrell, who plays the feckless, yet well-meaning dad Phil Dunphy on “Modern Family,” was in the same boat: “This is insane! I mean, I don’t even know how to do these events,” he said (and he’s right: for future reference, Burrell, it’s head down and don’t make eye contact with the reporters, at least until you’re through the doorway).
I asked Burrell how it is that “Modern Family” seems so much like a well-oiled machine in its pilot season, and he was quick to give credit.
Slideshow: Stars’ red-carpet tricks “It’s all the writers,” he said. “Without a doubt, the writers. They are just amazing, and our directors, Chris Lloyd and Steve Levitan (both “Wings” alums) know how to keep all the parts and all the storylines moving in one direction really seamlessly.”
The BAFTA event did have its fair share of film and television vets there, too. Tarantino worked the room quickly, collecting one compliment after another for “Inglorious Basterds” (as for what he’s working on now, he said simply, “this,” referring to the awards show circuit).
Several of the “Mad Men” were in attendance, too. Bryan Batt, whose character Salvatore Romano was fired last season, was there. As for whether Sal will come back next season, it’s anyone’s guess.
“They still haven’t told me if I’m coming back,” he said, before becoming starstruck by McCartney’s entrance into the room. (In all fairness, the writers haven’t even met to begin writing the next season of “Mad Men.”) Rich Sommer (Harry Crane) was also there.
The topics of conversation bandied about in the room were largely centered on the Globes and nominees, or Haiti (BAFTA was donating a portion of proceeds from a live auction there to earthquake relief) and that was fine with Sommer.
“I’m just glad that we’re not talking about Leno and Conan as much as a few days ago,” Sommer said. Is he taking sides? “Conan’s.”
Parties for the Golden Globes are crowded and loud, and the celebs in attendance tend not to have much time for lengthy chats. Here’s the best of my fly-by encounters with some of them, thus far:
“Up in the Air” director Jason Reitman on what makes his film different from the other best pic nominees: “The other films in the category are fantastic. But when you watch my film now, or 10 years from now, you’ll know it was a film about what it was like to live in 2009. It captures 2009 and will always feel like 2009.”
Evan Handler, of “Californication” and “Sex and the City,” on the conversation he just had with three exceptionally tall, attractive women, who approached him: “They said they wished they had boyfriends like my character Harry in ‘Sex and the City.’ How many guys like me, a foot shorter and bald, do you think they’ve actually not rejected? Seriously.”
Richard Kind, of “A Serious Man,” on his mission at the Paramount party at Chateau Marmont: “Not to be too starf---ery, but have you seen George Clooney?”
(Answer, yes: he was mobbed, natch.)
Reitman to “The Office” resident redhead Meredith, a.k.a. Kate Flannery: “When are they going to let you direct an episode of ‘The Office’? I don’t think that show has directors anymore — they let John Krasinski direct, Mindy Kaling…”
Creed Bratton of “The Office,” apparently unaware that Brian Batt’s hiatus might be more of the permanent variety, while waiting for their cars at The Beverly Hills Hotel: “Have you gone on any fun vacations while you’re on hiatus? I recommend Iceland.”
Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop on msnbc.com. Follow her coverage of the Golden Globe Awards on Twitter @courtneyatmsnbc
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