Golden Globes: "The Artist," "The Descendants" win top awards

The winner for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture Drama George Clooney poses with the trophy at the 69th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, January 15, 2012. AFP PHOTO / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images) ROBYN BECK

George Clooney of "The Descendants" poses with the trophy for best actor in a motion picture, drama at the 69th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Jan. 15, 2012.
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(CBS/AP) BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Updated 11:19 p.m. ET

The black-and-white silent film "The Artist" came away with the most prizes with three wins at the Golden Globes, during a ceremony that spread the love around among a broad range of films and TV shows.

Wins for "The Artist" included best musical or comedy and best actor in a musical or comedy for Jean Dujardin, while the family drama "The Descendants" claimed two awards, as best drama and dramatic actor for George Clooney.

Other acting winners were Meryl Streep, Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, and Octavia Spencer, while Martin Scorsese earned the directing honor.

Pictures: Golden Globes red carpet
Pictures: Highlights from the ceremony
Pictures: Stars in the press room
Special section: 2012 Golden Globe Awards

Streep won for dramatic actress as Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady," her eighth win at the Globes.

Dujardin won for musical or comedy actor for the silent film "The Artist." Williams won for actress in a musical or comedy as Marilyn Monroe in "My Week with Marilyn," 52 years after Monroe's win for the same prize at the Globes.

The supporting-acting Globes went to Plummer as an elderly widower who comes out as gay in the father-son drama "Beginners" and Spencer as a brassy housekeeper joining other black maids to share stories about life with their white employers in the 1960s Deep South tale "The Help."

"With regard to domestics in this country, now and then, I think Dr. King said it best: 'All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance.' And I thank you for recognizing that with our film," Spencer said while accepting her award.

Scorsese was named best director for his Paris adventure "Hugo." The award was the third directing Globe in the last 10 years for Scorsese, who previously won for "Gangs of New York" and "The Departed" and received the show's Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement two years ago.

He won over a field of contenders that included "The Artist" director Michel Hazanavicius, who had been considered by many in Hollywood as a favorite.

Williams offered thanks for giving her the same award Monroe once won and joked that her young daughter put up with bedtime stories for six months spoken in Monroe's voice.

"I consider myself a mother first and an actress second, so the person I most want to thank is my daughter, my little girl, whose bravery and exuberance is the example I take with me in my work and my life," the actress said.

Dujardin became the first star in a silent film to earn a major Hollywood prize since the early days of film. He won as a silent-era star whose career unravels amid the rise of talking pictures in the late 1920s.

"The Artist," which led the Globes with six nominations, also won the musical-score prize for composer Ludovic Bource but lost out on three other awards, including the screenplay prize for Hazanavicius.

Woody Allen won the screenplay honor for his romantic fantasy "Midnight in Paris," the filmmaker's biggest hit in decades. Never a fan of movie awards, Allen was a no-show at the Globes, where he previously won the screenplay honor for 1985's "The Purple Rose of Cairo.

The wins boost Williams, Spencer and Plummer's prospects for slots at next month's Academy Awards, whose nominations come out Jan. 24.

The prize for best animated film went to Steven Spielberg's action tale "The Adventures of Tintin," and the Iranian drama "A Separation" was chosen as best foreign-language film, besting Angelina Jolie's directorial debut, "In the Land of Blood and Honey."

Madonna, Julie Frost and Jimmy Harry won the Globe for best song for "Masterpiece" from the King Edward-Wallis Simpson drama "W.E.", which Madonna also directed.

Television awards went to "Homeland" for best drama series (and its star Claire Danes, as best dramatic actress), "Modern Family" for best comedy, Jessica Lange as supporting actress for "American Horror Story," Peter Dinklage as supporting actor for "Game of Thrones," Matt LeBlanc as comedic actor for "Episodes," Laura Dern as comedic actress for "Episodes" and Kelsey Grammer as dramatic actor for "Boss." Kate Winslet and Idris Elba won as best actress and actor in a TV miniseries or movie, for "Mildred Pierce" and "Luther," respectively, while British drama "Downton Abbey" won as best TV miniseries.

Ricky Gervais, who ruffled feathers at past shows with sharp wisecracks aimed at Hollywood's elite and the Globes show itself, returned as host for the third-straight year. He started with some slams at the Globes as Hollywood's second-biggest film ceremony, after the Oscars.

The British comedian joked that the Globes "are just like the Oscars, but without all that esteem. The Globes are to the Oscars what Kim Kardashian is to Kate Middleton. A bit louder, a bit trashier, a bit drunker and more easily bought. Allegedly. Nothing's been proved."

He also needled early winners, saying the show was running long and stars needed to keep their speeches short.

"You don't need to thank everyone you've ever met or members of your family, who have done nothing," Gervais said. "Just the main two. Your agent and God."

Sunday's ceremony, televised live from the Beverly Hilton, was a big night for both drama and comedy. Alongside the standard heavyweight dramas, the category for best musical or comedy at the Globes usually is more of a lark, with nominees rarely emerging with best-picture prospects for Hollywood's top prize, the Academy Awards.

Yet Sunday's musical or comedy contenders made up a strong bunch that could give their best-drama cousins at the Globes a run for their money, come Oscar time. With the Oscars choosing up to 10 best-picture contenders, "The Artist" could have some other comic company there. Globe musical or comedy nominees "Midnight in Paris" and "Bridesmaids" also have solid Oscar nomination prospects.

Most years, the musical or comedy category is filled with nominees that have little or no chance at the Oscars, such as last year's Globe nominees "The Tourist" and "Burlesque." The last time a musical or comedy Globe winner earned the best-picture Oscar was nine years ago, when "Chicago" triumphed at both shows.

This year, the dual categories at the Globes could create an Oscar showdown between the dramatic and musical-comedy winners.

Presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a group of 89 entertainment reporters for overseas outlets, the Globes used to have a strong record predicting the films that would go on to win best-picture at the Oscars. But lately, a best-picture win at the Globes has not translated into victory on Oscar night.

Over the last seven years, only one Globe best-picture winner - 2008's "Slumdog Millionaire" - has gone on to claim the top Oscar trophy. Before that stretch, the Globes had been on an eight-year streak in which one of its two best-picture recipients also won the main prize at the Academy Awards.

Read more: Golden Globes by the numbers

Last year, "The Social Network" won best-drama at the Globes and looked like the early Oscar favorite. But momentum later swung to eventual Oscar best-picture winner "The King's Speech." The year before, "Avatar" was named best drama at the Globes, while "The Hurt Locker" took best picture at the Oscars.

The Globes have a better track record predicting who will win Oscars for acting. A year ago, all four actors who won Oscars earned Globes first - lead players Colin Firth for "The King's Speech" and Natalie Portman for "Black Swan" and "The Fighter" supporting stars Christian Bale and Melissa Leo.

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