BEVERLY HILLS, California (Reuters) – Iran hostage drama Argo scored a sweet double victory at the Golden Globe awards yesterday, winning best movie drama – the night’s top prize – and best director for Ben Affleck on a night that left front-runner Lincoln with just one trophy.
Musical Les Miserables won the contest for best comedy or musical, as well as acting awards for stars Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway.
But elsewhere, it was a night of surprises at Hollywood’s second biggest awards show after the Oscars in February.
Actress Jodie Foster publicly acknowledged for the first time that she is gay, and former US President Bill Clinton appeared at the glitzy ceremony.
Yet the big story was the defeat of Steven Spielberg’s drama about US President Abraham Lincoln’s battle to end slavery – which went into Sunday’s ceremony with a leading seven nominations – and the triumph of Affleck in the director’s race.
Affleck was overlooked in the directing category when Oscar nominations were announced last Thursday, although Argo was short-listed for best film at the Oscar ceremony to be held on February 24.
Argo combines the true story of the rescue of US diplomats from Tehran after the Islamic Revolution in 1979 under the guise of making a movie, with a satire on Hollywood.
Argo producer George Clooney told reporters backstage that he was disappointed at Affleck’s personal snub by the Academy Awards voters.
“I think he did a phenomenal job with the film. I felt that he should have been nominated, but you can’t figure out what goes on in the Academy and he’s still nominated for best picture…It’s disappointing, but we’re not out of the water just yet,” Clooney said.
British actor Daniel Day-Lewis, who plays Abraham Lincoln, got the only Golden Globe win for Lincoln, which has a leading 12 Oscar nominations.
Instead, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which organizes the Golden Globes, showed their admiration for Quentin Tarantino’s slavery era Western Django Unchained.
Django won two awards – for Tarantino’s screenplay, and Christoph Waltz’s supporting actor turn as a dentist turned bounty hunter.
“Wow! … This is a damn surprise, and I am happy to be surprised,” Tarantino said, accepting his screenplay award.
The Golden Globes are sometimes seen as an indication of sentiment ahead of the Oscars, but the two voting bodies are very different and Oscar nominations were announced this year before Sunday’s ceremony.
In other key races, Jessica Chastain, won, as expected, for her role as a young female CIA agent who tracks down Osama bin Laden in thriller Zero Dark Thirty.
“I have wanted to be an actor since I was a little girl…To be here now is a beautiful feeling to receive this encouragement and support,” Chastain said.
In the best comedy or musical category, Jennifer Lawrence won best actress for Silver Linings Playbook while was best supporting actress.
“Thank you for this lovely blunt object that I will ever more use as a weapon against self-doubt,” said Hathaway as she accepted her trophy. The actress lost 25 pounds in weight and chopped off her long brown hair to play tragic heroine Fantine in Les Miserables.
Comedians Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, hosting the Globes for the first time, scattered around jokes about some of the top Hollywood stars in the audience, along with impersonations of Johnny Depp and Julianne Moore.
Foster, 50, who won Oscars for Silence of the Lambs and The Accused was given a lifetime achievement award, and publicly acknowledged that she is gay.
“I hope that you’re not disappointed that there won’t be a big coming-out speech tonight because I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago to friends and family,” Foster said.
Foster said she had never felt the need to bare her soul in public but praised her co-parent and the woman she called her “ex-partner in love.”
Clinton got a standing ovation from the A-list Hollywood stars when he appeared to introduce clips from Lincoln.
As the former president left the stage, Poehler quipped: “Wow! What an exciting special guest! That was Hillary Clinton’s husband! That was exciting.”
Unlike the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes also honour television dramas and comedies.
On Sunday they chose Showtime terrorism thriller “Homeland” as best drama series, and the show’s Damian Lewis and Claire Danes as best actor and actress.
“Girls” won best comedy series and Lena Dunham, its star and creator, won best comedy actress. Don Cheadle was named best actor in a comedy series for playing a devious management consultant in “House of Lies.”
HBO’s drama “Game Change” about Sarah Palin’s 2008 run for US vice president won best TV film, while Moore won for her portrayal of the polarizing former Alaska governor, and Ed Harris won for his portrayal of Republican presidential contender John McCain.