When I caught up with them as they exited the Warner Bros/In Style party Sunday night, the big Boyhood pete_hammond_300x100Golden Globe winners — including producers Jonathan Sehring and John Sloss — could not have sported broader smiles. Best Director and Best Picture winner Richard Linklater told me it was a bit of a surreal experience to win as just as he got up there it seemed the time was flashing 14 seconds to finish his acceptance speech.

Welcome back to the real world of awards shows, Rick. It may have taken 12 years to finish your film, but you are only going to get less than a minute to thank people for the gaggle of trophies you are about to receive.

With its three Globes, Boyhood, the indie IFC movie-that-could, would appear to be on a major roll. Following one critics’ Actor-Eddie-Redmayne-L-and-Hannah-Bagshawe-attend-the-72nd-Annual-Golden-Globe-Awards-at-The-Beverly-Hilton-Hotel-ongroup honor after another, it picked up three Globes (including Supporting Actress Patricia Arquette, who told me later how genuinely thrilled she was), which was as many as any movie received in this fractured year. But it was enough to secure its current frontrunner status in a field that still seems to be wide open. That could begin to close if the movie continues to storm through the season, and particularly if it can pick up some key guild awards starting with the PGA on January 24th and SAG the next night. Those kudos are voted on by the industry and carry the most weight in measuring the chances of Oscar heat, and this picture seems to really have it.

Also doing well was Fox Searchlight’s pair, The Grand Budapest Hotel, which took Best Picture Comedy/Musical, and Birdman, which picked up the Comedy/Musical Best Actor prize for Michael Keaton, as well as Best Screenplay.

The Theory Of Everything did well too, nabbing Best Actor in a Drama for Eddie Redmayne as well as Best Music Score. Not winning a single thing was The Imitation Game, which expected to find a little more love from the Globesuntitled, but didn’t. The hit movie, which has grossed $40 million to date domestically, is really just getting started. It could come back in the guild races, just as its distributor, The Weinstein Company, managed in 2011 when The King’s Speech lost everything to The Social Network until a shocker of a PGA win for the British period piece turned it all around in an instant.

At the TWC after-party, Harvey Weinstein told me that’s exactly what he expects will happen this time around. It may seem like a long shot, but I wouldn’t count it out. I recall Weinstein boldly making the same kind of prediction at his Globes party three years ago for King’s Speech, and things seemed bleak then. The Imitation Game seems to be wildly popular within the Academy. I used this as an example to boost the spirits of the film’s producers who were understandably a little depressed by the Globes shutout. But in this particular season, anything can happen and the PGA ceremony could be key — as it has been in the past.

Although it predictably took Best Song for “Glory”  by John Legend and Common, Selma came up short otherwise. After going MIA at PGA, WGA, SAG and BAFTA, it seems a very long shot for a Best Picture Oscar win. But it could score a few Oscar nominations on Thursday despite the setbacks, and maybe regain some momentum. Actually the Globes, as far as movies go, went in a very predictable pattern, with frontrunner Julianne Moore taking Drama Actress for Still Alice, while perennial favorite (and last year’s champ) Amy Adams repeated for Big Eyes in a thin field competing for Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical.

In George Clooney, Amal Clooneyrecent years, the Globes have had a somewhat spotty record in predicting the way the Oscar winds might be blowing, but if it’s not always an accurate gauge, it still remains a hell of a party. Everyone seems to have a lot of fun at this thing, which after all this time still takes place in a ballroom at the Beverly Hilton. And on the uber-glamorous red carpet, it’s a total democracy. The Hollywood Foreign Press makes no attempt to separate civilian ticket holders from the superstars that make this such a ratings commodity for NBC. As it happens, I walked in at the exact same time as George Clooney with new wife, Amal, making their first official Hollywood appearance together. We were so close, I stepped on her dress. Both were sporting Je Suis Charlie buttons and Clooney told me they did so because it was “a very big day over there,” in reference to the Paris march after last week’s tragic terrorism. His acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille life achievement award was perfectly pitched, especially in summing up what this whole awards ritual was really about.

jeffrey tambor transparentIt’s also a ceremony that effortlessly mixes the film and TV worlds. And in fact, it is the TV side of the ledger that makes things interesting and unpredictable. New shows like Transparent and Jane The Virgin pick up the prizes because the HFPA loves to champion underdogs and the latest flavors. Jeffrey Tambor, the brand new Golden Globe-winning star of Transparent, told me the whole cast was absolutely excited to be there. This was their first big recognition for the Amazon show. Amazon’s too.

And at the Globes nothing is really predictable. How else to explain Downton Abbey longtime co-star Joanne Frogatt suddenly taking home her first Golden Globe? Or that How To Train Your Dragon 2 would take the Best Animated Feature for DreamWorks over favored The Lego Movie and Big Hero 6? As he walked into the ballroom Sunday, DWA chief Jeffrey Katzenberg told me he had absolutely no expectation of a win as his Globe track record was abysmal. “I’m zero-for-10 with this group. I have little hope,” he said. So you never know.

Still I can’t think of a single awards ceremony that is more fun to sit through — or even stand through, as so many do while mingling in the back of the room and at the open bar. I ran into Matthew McConaughey there, shortly after he lost for his brilliant True Detective performance (to the equally deserving Billy Bob Thonrton of the excellent Fargo, which also took Best TV Movie/Miniseries). It’s hard to lose, but the free-flowing liquor at the Globes probably makes it go down a little easier. And so does the brilliant teaming of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, who really make this thing sing. It’s no accident that since they have been hosting for the past three years this show has landed Emmy nominations for its sharp writing.

1421022229_jake-maggie-zoomAnd the after-parties the studios and HBO throw are like a hot ride at Disneyland. There are long lines at nearly all of them and you don’t have to go far to find them. They are all in the hotel. No one was a happier camper at the Weinstein bash than Jake Gyllenhaal. Even though he lost his own bid for Best Actor for his remarkable turn in Nightcrawler, his sister Maggie won for her TV movie/mini, and his current Broadway co-star Ruth Wilson won Best Actress in a TV Series/Drama for The Affair.

200_charlize_theron_sean_pennAnd it’s interesting how the Globes have to come to rival the Oscars for all the parties and activities leading up to it, including a highly successful charity event thrown by Sean Penn which raised $6 million for his fourth annual Help Haiti Home gala. Latching onto the Globes weekend helped it along that goal, much like The Night Before the Oscars party makes millions for the Motion Picture and Television Fund every year.

Like I said, quite a Globes weekend. And now on to the Oscar nominations just three days away. I think that list could differ significantly from what we saw at the Globes, so more nail-biting is in store until Thursday. It never ends. Actually this race is really just beginning.