The film 12 Years a Slave took the coveted Golden Globe for best drama and American Hustle won best musical or comedy on Sunday (January 12) in a kick-off to the Hollywood awards season that foreshadows a wide scattering of honours for a year crowded with high-quality movies.
Only two films garnered more than one award at the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards, an important but not entirely accurate barometer for the industry's highest honours, the Academy Awards to be held on March 2.
British director Steve McQueen's brutal depiction of pre-Civil war American slavery in 12 Years a Slave only won one award out of its seven nominations. It was entirely shut out from the acting honours, for which it had been a presumed favourite.
The top drama acting awards went to Cate Blanchett for her turn as a riches-to-rags socialite in Woody Allen's tragicomedy "Blue Jasmine" and Matthew McConaughey for his portrayal of unlikely AIDS activist Ron Woodroof for which he lost 50 pounds (22.7 kg).
Amy Adams won best actress in a musical or comedy for her role as the conniving partner to a con-man played by Christian Bale in American Hustle, while Jennifer Lawrence took best supporting actress for her turn as his loopy wife.
Leonardo DiCaprio won best actor in a musical or comedy for his role as a fast-living, drug-popping, swindling stockbroker in the "The Wolf of Wall Street," his fifth collaboration with director Martin Scorsese.
And Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron won best director for his existential space thriller, Gravity, a film starring Sandra Bullock as an astronaut tumbling through space that has won praise for its groundbreaking technical advances.
Presented by Adam Justice