But at the end of a madcap Golden Globes (Fey toasted it as “the beautiful mess we hoped it would be”), the major honors soberly ended up with the favorites. David O. Russell’s con-artist caper “American Hustle” led with three awards, including best film comedy. And despite missing out in the other six categories it was nominated in, the unflinching historical drama “12 Years a Slave” concluded the night as best film drama.
“A little bit in shock,” said director Steve McQueen, before shrugging “Roll, Jordan, roll” — the lyrics to the old gospel song sung in the slavery epic.
Russell’s 1970s Abscam fictionalization “American Hustle” had the better night overall, winning acting awards for Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence. Best picture was the only award for “12 Years a Slave,” which came in with seven nominations, tied for the most with “American Hustle.”
“Don’t ever do this again,” she said to herself. “It’s so scary.”
Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto both won for their startlingly gaunt performances in the Texas HIV drama “Dallas Buyers Club.” Leonardo DiCaprio, a nine-time Golden Globe nominee, won his second Globe for best actor in a comedy for his uninhibited work in “The Wolf of Wall Street.” He thanked director Martin Scorsese for his mentorship (“Wolf” is their fifth film together) and for “allowing me to stalk you to make this movie.”
Alfonso Cuaron won best director for the space odyssey “Gravity,” a worldwide hit and critical favorite. The film will likely join “American Hustle” and “12 Years a Slave” as an Oscar front-runner on Thursday, when Academy Awards nominations are announced. (The academy honors technical categories that the Globes don’t.)
The night’s biggest winners may have been hosts Fey and Poehler, whose second time hosting the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Beverly Hills, Calif., ceremony was just as successful as last year’s show (a six-year ratings high with 19.7 million viewers).
The pair came out with a spree of punch lines, dishing them around the Beverly Hills Hilton, much to the delight of its starry audience. Damon, Meryl Streep and, naturally, George Clooney were among the targets. Fey particularly had the crowd roaring with a description of “Gravity,” which stars Sandra Bullock and Clooney.
The Globes are unique in celebrating both film and television. Perhaps more than ever before, those lines were blurred Sunday, capping a year in which TV was much celebrated as the more dynamic storytelling medium. The beloved and now concluded “Breaking Bad” earned some of the night’s loudest cheers for its first Globe wins: best drama TV series and best actor in a drama for Bryan Cranston.
Cranston called his honor “a lovely way to say goodbye.” Creator Vince Gilligan said the award gave him “one more chance to thank the fans of the show.”
The big TV film winner, the Liberace melodrama “Behind the Candelabra,” was made for HBO by one of cinema’s most talented directors, Steven Soderbergh, after Hollywood passed. Along with a best movie Globe, Michael Douglas won best actor for his performance as the flamboyant classical pianist. He thanked his co-star Damon.