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Golden Globe-winning Toronto composer Mychael Danna in good company at show

TORONTO - Golden Globe-winning Toronto composer Mychael Danna says he had an "incredible" experience at the awards show Sunday night, hobnobbing with the likes of media mogul Rupert Murdoch and songstress Jennifer Lopez.
Mychael Danna poses with the award for best original score in a motion picture for "Life of Pi" backstage at the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday Jan. 13, 2013, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

TORONTO - Golden Globe-winning Toronto composer Mychael Danna says he had an "incredible" experience at the awards show Sunday night, hobnobbing with the likes of media mogul Rupert Murdoch and songstress Jennifer Lopez.

"It was really enjoyable," Danna, who won a trophy at the bash for his work on "Life of Pi," said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles on Monday.

"It's actually a fairly small room. Just without even turning your head you can see 10 iconic people in your line of sight. So it's a really fun show. It's kind of like a dinner theatre event, just with all the iconic people in your industry all in one room. And the president."

Danna was referring to former U.S. president Bill Clinton, who was among the luminaries presenting at the show in the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Danna won the best original score Golden Globe for his work on "Life of Pi," which was directed by Ang Lee and based on the novel by Canadian author Yann Martel.

In his acceptance speech, Danna said he felt blessed to be a part of the boy-tiger shipwreck tale that he spent nearly a year scoring. He also thanked Lee, his parents and his friends, and his boys aged 2 and 7 "back in Toronto."

Having received no guidance on speech length, Danna spoke until the music started to play him off.

"I was going to say something about how beautiful that music was," said Danna, whose other credits include "Moneyball" and "Little Miss Sunshine."

"It was very kind of appropriate that music would play me off."

The Winnipeg-born musician, who grew up in Burlington, Ont., and moved to Toronto after attending university there, admitted he was surprised to hear his name called and couldn't remember what he said as soon as he left the stage.

"My brain went into some sort of autopilot and made a speech kind of without me," recalled Danna, who is now up for a British Academy Film Award and two Oscars for his work on "Pi."

"After I came off (stage) I was thinking, 'Uh oh, did I thank who I needed to thank?' And apparently my brain did OK. It remembered everybody."

Not every winner was as successful.

As viewers saw, "Argo" winning director Ben Affleck forgot to thank producer George Clooney during his acceptance speech and got actress-wife Jennifer Garner to do it for him when she later presented. And Anne Hathaway — winner of the Globe for best supporting actress in "Les Miserables" — got on the microphone when the film won for best picture musical or comedy to thank someone she forgot in her earlier speech.

The night was filled with such candid moments, including many quips from hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and a rambling speech by Cecil B. DeMille Award winner Jodie Foster.

"It was a fun evening to say the least," said Danna, who at one point found himself sitting at a table with Lopez on one side of him and Murdoch on the other.

"It's a very interesting thing when you watch an event kind of all your life, from the comfort of your own sofa sitting in your pyjamas, to actually being there. It's quite an interesting transition."

Danna walked the red carpet with his wife, who wore a sari custom made by Mississauga, Ont.-based Bollywood designer Dinesh Ramsay.

"It's an incredible outfit. And honestly, I'm not prejudiced at all, but it was the most beautiful outfit there," said Danna.

"It's an incredible piece of work and we had people all night stopping us. So we had a lot of photos on the red carpet, courtesy of my wife's outfit."

Danna said he didn't see Lee for most of the night because they weren't seated together.

"I couldn't even find him. There were so many celebrities in the way," he said.

But they did connect at an after party that was near the venue where he recorded the score for "Pi."

"It means a lot, to be able to celebrate the success of the film with the people that were there with you every day," said Danna, noting Lee knows every single note of the score as well as he does.

"It was a very difficult film to do and people said — many people, if not all people — said that it was impossible to capture the essence of this beautiful but very unusual book in a motion picture. Even those of us that were working on the film every day for years, we wondered that too, very often, whether this was even possible. And there were a lot of dark moments of doubt.

"So it's incredibly gratifying, in a really deep way, to be able to celebrate with those people that you fought so hard beside to solve the puzzle of making the 'Life of Pi.'"