Before 1997, the Golden Globes were still known as a looser, boozier, less stuffy affair than their awards-season counterparts. But the '97 Globes (held in January 1998, but this is how we talk about awards shows) were when the Hollywood Foreign Press' annual celebration became known as the one night a year Hollywood gets good and drunk and has a weird, fun ol' time.
That was the year that Jack Nicholson talked out of his butt and Ving Rhames won for Best Actor in a TV Movie for Don King: Only in America only to tearfully foist his award upon a nonplussed Jack Lemmon. It was also the year that Christine Lahti won for Best Actress in a TV Drama for Chicago Hope, only she was in the ladies' room when her name was read. There was vamping to be done until Lahti could be found and ferried up to the stage, and if you need anyone to vamp at a world-class level, it's a good thing you've got Robin Williams (a nominee for Good Will Hunting that night) in the room.
He was vintage Robin Williams, employing a funny voice and a topical joke about cloning (remember cloning???), and the room was charmed until Lahti was able to get to the stage.
It was one of many Golden Globe moments for Williams. They awarded him six times in total. Once for Mork & Mindy, once with a special award for voicing the genie in Aladdin, once with the Cecil B. DeMille career achievement award, and three more acting wins. As you might imagine, each speech was something of an event.
1991 Best Actor Musical/Comedy - The Fisher King
Williams wasn't on hand to accept his award for 1987's Good Morning, Vietnam (he was hosting Saturday Night Live that weekend, if you need an indication of how important the Globes were or weren't back then), but he was there for his next Best Actor win, for Terry Gilliam's surrealistic Arthurian New York gem. At some point, he just starts rapid-fire thanking people in the room, including Dustin Hoffman and Steven Spielberg from the still-fresh bombing of Hook, and mega-agent Michael Ovitz.
Topical references: George H.W. Bush barfing at a state dinner in Japan ten days prior.
1993 Best Actor Comedy/Musical - Mrs. Doubtfire
For a speech that starts off with two penis jokes, it was probably Williams' most subdued, though obviously he can't resist drifting off into impersonations of Harvey Fierstein and Mrs. D herself.
Topical Reference: John Wayne Bobbitt's severed penis.
1993 Special Achievement - Aladdin
Williams was so entertaining in Aladdin, and the awards had no proper venue to recognize it, so he got a Special Achievement award instead. And, naturally, he accepted with a hand-puppet as Mother Theresa.
2004 Cecil B. DeMille Award
The excuse of the Hollywood Foreign Press for Williams to dip into a bevy of silly accents is obviously too much to resist. It's probably too much to ask not to leave things on a melancholy note today, but Williams thanking his children by name, and then his wife, with a tacit acknowledgment of his "moody" tendencies will probably do it. Just back up and watch that Bobbit joke again, you'll be fine.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.