IRAN hostage drama Argo scored a sweet double victory at the Golden Globe awards, 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 next month. Actress Jodie Foster publicly acknowledged for the first time that she was 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 the Oscar nominations were announced on Thursday, although Argo was short-listed for best film at the Oscar ceremony, to be held on February 24.
Argo producer George Clooney said backstage on Sunday 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 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,” Clooney said.
British actor Daniel Day-Lewis, who plays Lincoln, got the only Golden Globe win for Lincoln, which has a leading 12 Oscar nominations.
Instead, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which organises 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 role as a dentist turned bounty hunter.
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.
In the best comedy or musical category Jennifer Lawrence won best actress for Silver Linings Playbook, while Anne Hathaway was best supporting actress for 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 she was gay.
"I hope you’re not disappointed that there won’t be a big coming-out speech tonight, because I already did my coming out about 1 000 years ago to friends and family,” Foster said.
Clinton was given a standing ovation when he appeared to introduce clips from Lincoln.