'Avatar,' 'The Hangover' win Golden Globes

"Avatar's" Sam Worthington, left, James Cameron, Zoe Saldana, producer Jon Landau and Sigourney Weaver (Getty)
"Avatar's" Sam Worthington, left, James Cameron, Zoe Saldana, producer Jon Landau and Sigourney Weaver (Getty)
 
Fox's "Avatar," on its way to becoming the top-grossing movie in film history, defeated smaller and less commercial films Sunday night to win best drama at the 67th annual Golden Globe Awards.

Martin Scorsese, recipient of the night's Cecil B. DeMille Award, inadvertently stumbled onto the evening's theme when he praised epic filmmakers. "You saw a DeMille picture, it would stay with you," he said. "There was the power of that shared experience with a big audience. And always within the spectacle was a strong story ... on a more human scale."

That ideal -- a movie that brings together a huge, worldwide audience -- is realized in "Avatar," as its global grosses attest. As a result, the 83 voting members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., the group behind the Globes, rewarded it not only with the best drama nod but also a directing trophy for James Cameron.

Cameron acknowledged the movie's global appeal as he accepted the best picture award, saying: " 'Avatar' asks us to see that everything is connected, all human beings to each other and us to the Earth. And, you know, if you have to go 4 1/2 light years to another made-up planet to appreciate this miracle of a world that we have right here, well, do you know what? That's the wonder of cinema right there."

Among the 14 movie trophies handed out at the Beverly Hilton ceremony, the Globes favored movies that have been popular hits, handing out acting awards to Sandra Bullock for "The Blind Side," Robert Downey Jr. for "Sherlock Holmes," Meryl Streep for "Julie & Julia" and Christoph Waltz for "Inglorious Basterds."

The top-grossing toon of 2009, "Up," was hailed as best animated movie. Breakout summer smash "The Hangover" was cheered as best comedy or musical.

Only a handful of kudos went to smaller movies: "Up in the Air" earned screenplay honors for Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, "Crazy Heart" turned Jeff Bridges into the best dramatic actor winner, and Mo'Nique took home an expected best supporting actress award for her fearless performance as an abusive mother in "Precious."

The award for best foreign-language film went to Michael Haneke of Germany for "The White Ribbon." Among his thank-yous, he included Sony Pictures Classics co-heads Michael Barker and Tom Bernard for bringing the film to the public.

Although "Avatar" didn't win its two awards until late in the show, it hovered over the proceedings throughout. Often when the NBC broadcast headed into a commercial break, the announcer urged viewers to stay tuned to see if "Avatar" would win. And even Arnold Schwarzenegger took the evening off from his California gubernatorial chores to introduce the clip from the movie -- which he pronounced "Ah-vah-tah" -- since he has appeared in three previous Cameron movies. He joked that half the film's receipts would go straight to the state budget. He wishes.

The sci-fi epic's triumph made it a big evening for Fox Filmed Entertainment. "Avatar" producer Jon Landau thanked the company's two chairmen, Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman, "for believing in blue people." Fox's specialty subsidiary Fox Searchlight picked up two more awards for the country-flavored "Crazy Heart"; in addition to the acting honors for Bridges, it scored a best song nod.

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The Weinstein Co., which led all competitors with 12 noms when they were announced in December, had to settle for just one, for Waltz in "Basterds." Its musical "Nine," which had five noms, went home empty-handed.

Summit's "The Hurt Locker" -- the critics' favorite, which won picture and directing honors Friday night at the Broadcast Film Critics Assn.'s Critics Choice Awards -- was shut out at the starrier Globes.

However, in accepting his best director trophy, Cameron testified he wasn't prepared, having expected his former wife and fellow nominee Kathryn Bigelow to win for "Hurt Locker." "And she richly deserved it," he said.

When "Hangover," from Warners and Legendary Pictures, grabbed the prize for best film comedy or musical, its director Todd Phillips joked, "Now I'm going to get in a fistfight with Harvey Weinstein," whose "Nine" also had been nominated in the category. "But I have Mike Tyson here, so that's good." Tyson joined the movie's other actors onstage.

Bullock was forced to share the best actress award at Critics Choice Awards with Streep, but she had her own moment in the spotlight Sunday. She was recognized as best dramatic film actress for her true-life role as a suburban mom in takes in a homeless teen and prospective football star in the sleeper hit "The Blind Side."

She acknowledged the Tuohy family, depicted in the movie, for reminding everyone "that a family is not just who you were born to or what color you are. It's who's got your back."

Industry vet Bridges won after three previous nominations, picking up a Globe as best dramatic actor for his down-and-out country singer in "Crazy Heart."

Offering thanks to his wife and parents, Bridges said of his late father Lloyd Bridges: "He loved show business so damned much, he encouraged all his kids to go into showbiz. ... So glad, I listed to you, Dad."

The most nominated actor or actress in Globes history, Streep received her seventh Globe for "Julie & Julia," which Tom Hanks described as "the Meryl Streep movie where she doesn't end up in bed with Alec Baldwin but does with Stanley Tucci -- by any measure a substantial move up." Streep's win for "Julie" beat out her nomination in the same category for "It's Complicated."

"I just want to say, in my long career, I've played so many extraordinary women that basically I'm getting mistaken for one," she said.

Downey racked up his third Globe, this time as best movie actor in a comedy, for the title role in "Sherlock Holmes." Facetiously, he pretended not to offer thanks to Warners, producer Joel Silver and his wife and producer Susan, explaining, "I really don't want to thank my wife because I could be busing tables at the Daily Grill right now if it were not for her."

Mo'Nique took the first award of the evening, for "Precious." In an emotional acceptance, the comedian-turned-dramatic actress first thanked God "for this amazing ride that you are allowing me to go on." She then paid tribute to her husband Sidney, who she first met when she was just 14; lavished praise on her director Lee Daniels and the movie's star Gabourey Sidibe; and dedicated the award to anyone who has ever been abused, saying, "It's now time to tell, and it's OK."

Waltz indulged in his apparent love of metaphor when he was called to the stage to accept the award for his turn as a villainous Nazi in "Basterds." Just as he made repeated use of the word "choice" when he won the Critics Choice Award two nights before, on Sunday he did a riff on the word "globe," concluding, "I wouldn't have dared dream my little world, my globe, would be part of that constellation, and now you've made it golden."

Adapting Walter Kirn's novel, Reitman and Turner earned best screenplay honors for the highflying comedy-drama "Up in the Air." "I feel like we're just conduits from Walter Kirn to these three actors," Reitman said, gesturing to include the film's principals Clooney, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick -- all of whom were nominees.

The list of winners is on the next page.



The list of Golden Globe nominees follow; all winners in bold.

FILM NOMINEES:

Best drama
"Avatar"
"The Hurt Locker"
"Inglourious Basterds"
"Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
"Up in the Air"

Best musical or comedy
"(500) Days of Summer"
"The Hangover"
"It's Complicated"
"Julie & Julia"
"Nine"

Actor in a drama
Jeff Bridges, "Crazy Heart"
George Clooney, "Up in the Air"
Colin Firth, "A Single Man"
Morgan Freeman, "Invictus"
Tobey Maguire, "Brothers"

Actress in a drama
Emily Blunt, "The Young Victoria"
Sandra Bullock, "The Blind Side"
Helen Mirren, "The Last Station"
Carey Mulligan, "An Education"
Gabourey Sidibe, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"

Director
Kathryn Bigelow, "The Hurt Locker"
James Cameron, "Avatar"
Clint Eastwood, "Invictus"
Jason Reitman, "Up in the Air"
Quentin Tarantino, "Inglourious Basterds"

Actor in a musical or comedy
Matt Damon, "The Informant!"
Daniel Day-Lewis, "Nine"
Robert Downey Jr., "Sherlock Holmes"
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, "(500) Days of Summer"
Michael Stuhlbarg, "A Serious Man"

Actress in a musical or comedy
Sandra Bullock, "The Proposal"
Marion Cotillard, "Nine"
Julia Roberts, "Duplicity"
Meryl Streep, "It's Complicated"
Meryl Streep, "Julie & Julia"

Supporting actor
Matt Damon, "Invictus"
Woody Harrelson, "The Messenger"
Christopher Plummer, "The Last Station"
Stanley Tucci, "The Lovely Bones"
Christoph Waltz, "Inglourious Basterds"

Supporting actress
Penelope Cruz, "Nine"
Vera Farmiga, "Up in the Air"
Anna Kendrick, "Up in the Air"
Mo'Nique, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
Julianne Moore, "A Single Man"

Foreign language
"Baaria"
"Broken Embraces"
"The Maid (La Nana)"
"A Prophet"
"The White Ribbon"

Animated film
"Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs"
"Coraline"
"Fantastic Mr. Fox"
"The Princess and the Frog"
"Up"

Screenplay
Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, "District 9"
Mark Boal, "The Hurt Locker"
Nancy Meyers, "It's Complicated"
Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, "Up in the Air"
Quentin Tarantino, "Inglourious Basterds"

Original score
Michael Giacchino, "Up"
Marvin Hamlisch, "The Informant!"
James Horner, "Avatar"
Abel Korzeniowski, "A Single Man"
Karen O, Carter Burwell, "Where the Wild Things Are"

Original song
"Cinema Italiano" (written by Maury Yeston), "Nine"
"I Want to Come Home" (written by Paul McCartney), "Everybody's Fine"
"I Will See You" (written by James Horner, Simon Franglen, Kuk Harrell), "Avatar"
"The Weary Kind (Theme from 'Crazy Heart')" (written by Ryan Bingham, T Bone Burnett), "Crazy Heart"
"Winter" (written by U2), "Brothers"

TELEVISION NOMINEES:

Best TV drama series
"Big Love," HBO
"Dexter," Showtime
"House," Fox
"Mad Men," AMC
"True Blood," HBO

Best TV comedy or musical series
"30 Rock," NBC
"Entourage," HBO
"Glee," Fox
"Modern Family," ABC
"The Office," NBC

Best actor in a TV drama
Simon Baker, "The Mentalist," CBS
Jon Hamm, "Mad Men," AMC
Michael C. Hall, "Dexter," Showtime
Hugh Laurie, "House," Fox
Bill Paxton, "Big Love," HBO

Best actress in a TV drama
Glenn Close, "Damages," FX
January Jones, "Mad Men," AMC
Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife," CBS
Anna Paquin, "True Blood," HBO
Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer," TNT

Best actress in a TV comedy
Tina Fey, "30 Rock," NBC
Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie," Showtime
Toni Collette, "The United States of Tara," Showtime
Lea Michele, "Glee," Fox
Courteney Cox, "Cougar Town," ABC

Best actor in a TV comedy
Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock," NBC
Steve Carell, "The Office," NBC
David Duchovny, "Californication," Showtime
Matthew Morrison, "Glee," Fox
Thomas Jane, "Hung," HBO

Best actor in a supporting role
Jeremy Piven, "Entourage," HBO
Neil Patrick Harris, "How I Met Your Mother," CBS
William Hurt, "Damages," FX
John Lithgow, "Dexter," Showtime
Michael Emerson, "Lost," ABC

Best actress in a supporting role
Jane Lynch, "Glee," Fox
Rose Byrne, "Damages," FX
Janet McTeer, "Into the Storm," HBO
Jane Adams, "Hung," HBO
Chloe Sevigny, "Big Love," HBO

Best TV movie or miniseries
"Georgia O'Keeffe," Lifetime
"Grey Gardens," HBO
"Into the Storm," HBO
"Little Dorrit," PBS
"Taking Chance," HBO

Best actor in a miniseries or TV movie
Kevin Bacon, "Taking Chance," HBO
Kenneth Branagh, "Wallender," PBS
Chiwetel Ejiofor, "Endgame," PBS
Brendan Gleeson, "Into the Storm," HBO
Jeremy Irons, "Georgia O'Keeffe," Lifetime

Best actress in a miniseries or made-for-TV movie
Joan Allen, "Georgia O'Keeffe," Lifetime
Drew Barrymore, "Grey Gardens," HBO
Jessica Lange, "Grey Gardens," HBO
Anna Paquin, "The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler," CBS
Sigourney Weaver, "Prayers for Bobby," Lifetime
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