The Cinderella story of Chris Colfer continued Sunday night as the Clovis East graduate picked up a Golden Globe award for his work in the Fox series "Glee."
The Globes, presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press, recognize the top performances in film and TV. "Glee" also was named best TV comedy.
"I think I just dropped my heart between Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore, so if anyone sees that, please give that back to me," Colfer said as he took the stage in front of some of the biggest names in Hollywood.
Colfer becomes the first Golden Globe winner from the central San Joaquin Valley since Fresno's Mike Connors picked up the award in 1970 for his TV detective series "Mannix." He's the first to be nominated since Jan-Michael Vincent, who lived in Hanford as a teen, picked up a nod in 1984, in the same category, for the TV miniseries "Winds of War."
Colfer won the Golden Globe in the best performance by an actor in a supporting role in a series, miniseries or motion picture made for television category over far more seasoned actors: Scott Caan in "Hawaii Five-O," Chris Noth in "The Good Wife," David Strathairn in "Temple Grandin," and Eric Stonestreet in "Modern Family."
Stonestreet beat out Colfer in August for the Emmy as best supporting actor in a comedy series.
Colfer's role on "Glee" is the first professional acting job for the 20-year-old actor, a part series creator Ryan Murphy specifically wrote for him.
Murphy was the first person Colfer thanked. He described Murphy as his "fairy godfather."
After thanking the "Glee" cast and crew, Colfer singled out all of the young fans of the musical comedy. His Kurt Hummel, an openly gay high school student, has become a breakout character on the critically heralded series.
"To all the amazing kids who watch our show and the kids who our show celebrates, who are constantly told no by the people and their environments -- by the bullies at school -- that they can't be who they are or have what they want because of who they are, well, screw that, kids," Colfer said.
Colfer, who looked shocked when his name was announced, had not prepared a speech. He was afraid he would fumble trying to pull a piece of paper from his pocket and drop his award. Friends, family and co-stars were warned that if he were to win, he probably would forget to thank everyone.
Along with Murphy, Colfer has always credited his high school speech teacher, Mikendra McCoy, for his success. Colfer competed as a member of the Clovis East forensic team for three years, winning the state championship in Dramatic Interpretation for a performance from "Wicked" that earned him a trip to the national championships.
"Chris told me that the national tournament were at the same time as the 'Glee' tryouts. I told him that the nationals were a moment in his life but 'Glee' could be something for a lifetime," McCoy said after hearing of Colfer's win.
Ashley Fink, another member of the "Glee" cast, was Colfer's guest for the awards show. After his win, she posted on Twitter: "Aahhh! Sooo many tears. Oh my god oh my god. Remember that time @chriscolfer won the Golden Globe?! Sooo proud. Best. Speech. Ever."
Colfer posted this message to fans on Twitter: "I can't believe it. I'm not sure how much my shaky hands can tweet, but thank you so much! Couldn't do what I do without you guys!"
Colfer may not be finished accepting awards this season. He picked up a Dorian Awards nomination, presented by the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, in the TV Comedy Performance of the Year category. Those honors will be handed out Tuesday.
Then there's the SAG Awards, slated for Thursday, where he is nominated in the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series category.
For all of the attention he's been getting, Colfer said he has stayed grounded because he takes the work very seriously.
"Along with the award nominations, which are fantastic, there's a great amount of responsibility that comes with having the character I do," Colfer said. "Also, I have huge feet that are always tripping me up and that always brings me down from any pedestal I would put myself on."
TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at email@example.com or (559) 441-6355. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.