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Boyle's Mumbai drama tops Golden Globes

The 66th annual Golden Globes took on the flavor of an international smorgasbord with a heavy serving of curry Sunday.

The always slightly tipsy awards ceremony celebrated the Mumbai-set "Slumdog Millionaire," naming it drama of the year and rewarding its director Danny Boyle, screenwriter Simon Beaufoy and composer A.R. Rahman.

Hopping from continent to continent, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which hosted the annual awards show at the Beverly Hilton, tapped "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," which Woody Allen shot in Spain, as best comedy. It also handed out its best dramatic actor award to comeback kid Mickey Rourke for his washed-up athlete adrift in New Jersey in "The Wrestler" and best dramatic actress to Kate Winslet for playing a 1950s housewife trapped in the Connecticut suburbs in "Revolutionary Road."

Winslet scored a rare double victory; she also was named best supporting actress for her performance as a German woman who harbors several secrets in "The Reader."

Contributing to the melange of accents, Irish actor Colin Farrell took the prize for actor in a comedy for the hit man he plays in "In Bruges," while British actress Sally Hawkins was named best comic actress for portraying the giddy, spirited lead in "Happy-Go-Lucky."

On the TV side, HBO's "John Adams" and NBC's "30 Rock" dominated, winning every award for which they were nominated. The night's winners were largely repeats of last year's Emmys, which honored most of the same performers and programs. HBO led the pack with seven Globes, four going to "Adams." NBC had three for "30 Rock" and AMC earned one with "Mad Men," which won best drama series for the second consecutive year.

Unlike last year's aborted affair — a perfunctory news conference took place when the ceremony was canceled because of the WGA strike — the invitees in the Hilton's International Ballroom did a lot of table-hopping, hob-nobbing and champagne-imbibing. It felt a lot like a well-behaved upscale dinner theater evening, occasionally punctuated by admonitions to return to one's seat for the next award and raucous applause. At any point during the three-hour telecast, women could queue in the ladies' powder room for a quickie makeover courtesy of event sponsor L'Oreal.

The mood was upbeat, the dresses were colorful and flattering and the speeches mostly on cue, bemused but seemingly heartfelt. The whole thing was determinedly in contrast to the downbeat economy and belt-tightening going on throughout the workaday week in Hollywood.

One of the evening's most emotional moments occurred when Heath Ledger was celebrated posthumously as best supporting actor for his role as the psychotic Joker in "The Dark Knight." The award came almost a year after Ledger's death from an accidental overdose in New York.

"Dark Knight" director Christopher Nolan accepted the award on behalf of the actor, who was nominated by the HFPA three years ago as best dramatic actor for "Brokeback Mountain," as those in the ballroom stood and applauded.

"All of us who worked with Heath on 'The Dark Knight' accept this with an awful mixture of sadness but incredible pride," he said. Comparing Ledger's passing to "a hole ripped in the history of cinema," Nolan pointed to "the incredible place in the history of cinema that he built for himself." Concluded the director, "He will be eternally missed, but he will never be forgotten."

Winslet kicked off the ceremony when she scored her supporting actress nod for "Reader."

Before reading off a long list of thank yous, the actress, who had received five previous Globes noms, begged the crowd's indulgence, saying, "You have to forgive me because I have a habit of not winning things." After expressing her appreciation to director Stephen Daldry, she also thanked her husband, director Sam Mendes, saying, "I'm sorry I was so mental at the end."

Ricky Gervais — who featured Winslet in an episode of "Extras" in which she spoofed Hollywood's penchant for rewarding actors who appear in Holocaust movies — reminded her of the fact when he took the stage moments later, joking to knowing laughter, "I told you do a Holocaust movie and the awards would come."

Her losing streak behind her, Winslet continued her momentum and was genuinely flustered when she was called back to the podium as best dramatic actress for "Revolutionary Road." Feeling a need to apologize to her fellow nominees for hogging the limelight, she blurted out: "I'm so sorry Anne (Hathaway), Meryl (Streep), Kristin (Scott Thomas), and oh God, who's the other one? Angelina (Jolie). I'm so — this is — OK. Forgive me."

"I've had an amazing couple of years. I've got to play these two remarkable women," Winslet said.

She became only the third double-acting winner in Globes history: Joan Plowright picked up two statuettes in 1993 and Helen Mirren scored a double in 2007, though in both cases they relied on a film and TV role to accomplish the task.

Rourke, speaking in a prizefighter's patois, didn't seem to believe his good fortune either as he accepted his best dramatic actor prize for "Wrestler."

"This has been a very long road back for me and I'm not really a very good public speaker," the actor admitted. "Several years ago, I was almost out of this business." He thanked ICM agent David Unger for "having the balls" to take him on as a client and praised "Wrestler" director Darren Aronofksy, saying, "He hates it when I say he's tough, but he's one tough son of a bitch."

Although he scored the best comedy actor honors for "Bruges" in his first-ever Globe nomination, Farrell proclaimed himself a fan of the idiosyncratic HFPA, a small group of foreign journalists who cover Hollywood.

"I've enjoyed my time with you over the last eight years," he said. "I really look forward to that insane hour that we spend together. I really do." He offered to share the award with his co-star Brendan Gleeson, saying, "This is at least half of yours. I'll cut it when I get offstage, and you can have a hemisphere."

British actress Sally Hawkins was nearly reduced to tears when she triumphed as best actress in a comedy or musical for playing a blithe spirit in the lighthearted "Happy-Go-Lucky." The relative newcomer acknowledged one of her competitors, Meryl Streep, on her way to the stage and got an encouraging thumbs-up from fellow nominee Emma Thompson when she appeared momentarily overcome. "It seems insane when I'm up here when you're all in the room," Hawkins said.

The room's affection for Fox Searchlight's "Slumdog," the kaleidoscopic account of a young orphan who perseveres and strikes it rich, became evident early in the evening when Beaufoy copped the screenplay award.

"Slumdog" at one point lost its American distribution when Warner Bros. declined to release the movie, which was then snapped up by Searchlight. And Beaufoy marveled, "We really weren't expecting to be here in America at all at one time." He reserved his biggest thank you for Boyle, explaining, "There are some directors who shoot a screenwriter's script and once in a blue moon a director comes along who makes it fly, and I don't need to tell you, he made it fly."

Receiving the prize for best motion picture score, Bollywood composer Rahman tossed in another word of appreciation for "the billion people from India."

"Your mad, pulsating affections for our film is much appreciated," Boyle said, accepting his directing award. "Making a film is always a family affair, obviously. The people in Mumbai, who are all watching by the way, a big shout of love to them."

The film opens next week in India — in both a newly dubbed all-Hindi version and the English-Hindi version that has played in the U.S.

In accepting the best drama award, producer Christian Colson said: "We had the great privilege of working with a fantastic cast and crew in Mumbai, who will be going nuts as they watch this tonight. They'll be going absolutely mental. So hello to all of them. We'll see you next week when we come out for the opening of the film."

Bruce Springsteen beat out Clint Eastwood, with whom he competed in the best song category.

"This is the only time I'm going to be in competition with Clint Eastwood. I know that for sure," Springsteen said on his visit to the podium to pick up his Globe for writing the title tune for "Wrestler." "It felt pretty good, too." He also thanked Rourke, who asked him to write the song, saying: "Without the call, I wouldn't have written the song. Without his inspiration — thank you, brother."

The critically acclaimed "WALL-E" took the best animated film prize, which was accepted by director Andrew Stanton.

Director Ari Folman interjected a mild political note into the proceedings when his animated documentary "Waltz With Bashir," the Israeli entry, was chosen best foreign film.

He dedicated the win to the eight babies who were born during the production of the film, which looks at Israel's war with Lebanon in 1982. When they grow up, he said, he hoped they would look at the film and "it will look to them like an ancient video game that has nothing to do with their lives whatsoever."
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