About halfway through the first televised Hollywood Film Awards, Chris Rock took the stage to accept a trophy for his film "Top Five." "Wow, do you feel the excitement in the room?" he asked facetiously. The remark elicited the first real laughter of the night from an otherwise restrained audience.
The show that has dubbed itself the "official launch of the awards season" was, even at a brisk two hours, a subdued, often strained celebration of celebrities and their films, many of which have only played at festivals and some that have yet to be seen by anyone.