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“Right now, if I were to write a song, it would be a tap-dance number,” Mr. Bource said. “The power of music is at least universal. The gift of the silent film is that it is so universal.”

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.

Among television winners were Kate Winslet as best actress in a miniseries or movie in “Mildred Pierce,” Idris Elba as best actor in a miniseries or movie in “Luther,” Laura Dern as comedy or musical actress in “Enlightened,” Kelsey Grammer as dramatic actor in “Boss,” ”Homeland” for drama series and “Downton Abbey” for miniseries or movie.

A drama with comic touches, “Beginners” was a fitting recipient to start the Globe ceremony, which has a strong lineup of lighter fare to match the more sober-minded films that generally dominate Hollywood awards.

Alongside those 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 at 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 time, the dual categories at the Globes could create an Oscar showdown between the dramatic and musical-comedy winners.

The Globes are presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a group of 89 entertainment reporters for overseas outlets.