Affleck wins best-director Golden Globe

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BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF. (AP) - Ben Affleck won the best-director Golden Globe on Sunday for his Iran hostage thriller “Argo,” a prize that normally bodes well for an Academy Award win _ except he missed out on an Oscar nomination this time.

Affleck’s now in an unusual position during Hollywood’s long awards season, taking home the top filmmaking trophy at the second-highest film honors knowing he does not have a shot at an Oscar.

In a breathless, rapid-fire speech, Affleck gushed over the names of other nominees presenter Halle Berry had read off: Steven Spielberg for “Lincoln,” Ang Lee for “Life of Pi,” Kathryn Bigelow for “Zero Dark Thirty” and Quentin Tarantino for “Django Unchained.”

“Look, I don’t care what the award is. When they put your name next to the names she just read off, it’s an extraordinary thing in your life,” Affleck said.

Last Thursday’s Oscar nominations held some shockers, including the omission of Affleck from the directing lineup, along with fellow Globe nominee Bigelow. Bigelow and Affleck also were nominated for top honors by the Directors Guild of America, whose contenders usually match up closely with the Oscar field.

Jennifer Lawrence won for best musical or comedy actress for the oddball romance “Silver Linings Playbook,” while supporting-acting prizes went to Christoph Waltz for the slave-revenge tale “Django Unchained” and Anne Hathaway for the musical “Les Miserables.”

The wins Sunday firm up their prospects for Hollywood’s top honors at the Feb. 24 Academy Awards.

Former President Bill Clinton upstaged Hollywood’s elite with a surprise appearance to introduce Spielberg’s Civil War epic “Lincoln,” which was up for best drama. The film chronicles Abraham Lincoln’s final months as he tries to end the war and find common ground in a divided Congress to pass the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery.

Lincoln’s effort was “forged in a cauldron of both principle and compromise,” Clinton said. “This brilliant film shows us how he did it and gives us hope that we can do it again.”

Amy Poehler, co-host of the Globes with Tina Fey, gushed afterward, “Wow, what an exciting special guest! That was Hillary Clinton’s husband!”

Lawrence won as best actress in a musical or comedy for her role as a troubled widow in a shaky new relationship. The Globe winners in musical or comedy categories often aren’t factors at the Oscars, which tend to favor heavier dramatic roles.

But “Silver Linings Playbook” is a crowd-pleasing comic drama with deeper themes than the usual comedy. And Lawrence _ a 2010 Oscar nominee for her breakout film “Winter’s Bone” who shot to superstardom with “The Hunger Games” _ delivers a nice mix of humor and melancholy.

“What does this say? I beat Meryl,” Lawrence joked as she looked at her award, referring to fellow nominee and multiple Globe winner Meryl Streep. Lawrence went on to thank her mother for believing in her and her father for making her maintain a sense of humor.

Hathaway’s win came for her role as a doomed single mother in the big-screen adaptation of the stage musical based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel.

“Thank you for this lovely blunt object that I will forevermore use as a weapon against self-doubt,” Hathaway said.

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