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Unpredictability reigns at Golden Globes awards

James Cameron's "Avatar" won best drama picture and best director while the star-studded musical "Nine" went home empty-handed at the 67th annual Golden Globe awards ceremony, broadcast live last night on NBC from the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.

The Globes, bestowed by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and often viewed as predictors of the Oscars, were spread around evenly with no single film grabbing more than two awards. The recession-themed "Up in the Air," a critical favorite, won only for best screenplay, while the slice-of-life war film "The Hurt Locker," thought to be a contender for major awards, was shut out.

Predictions this year also focused on the behavior of Ricky Gervais, the show's first host since 1995. Brought in to increase the show's unpredictability factor, the comedian known for his squirm-inducing humor didn't disappoint. He needled the show's network within the first five minutes - "Let's get on with it before NBC replaces me with Jay Leno" - dismissed Jennifer Aniston as "Rachel from 'Friends' " and delivered a cringe-worthy joke about presenter Paul McCartney flying coach after his costly divorce.

"Oh, don't feel too sorry for him," Gervais snapped to the groaning crowd. "He's doing alright."

The famously offbeat show brought a number of surprises. Sandra Bullock, best known as a comedic actress, won a dramatic award for her surprise hit "The Blind Side." Jeff Bridges won best dramatic actor for "Crazy Heart" beating out George Clooney in "Up in the Air." And the best comedy award went to the crude "The Hangover" over the classy "Julie & Julia."

Mo'Nique won best supporting actress for her portrayal of an abusive mother in "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire," squelching criticism that her supposed reluctance to campaign for the film would hurt her award chances. Meryl Streep won best comedic actress for "Julie & Julia," beating out herself for "It's Complicated."

In the television categories, "Mad Men" won best dramatic series, though its star, Jon Hamm, lost the best dramatic actor award to Michael C. Hall for "Dexter." For best comedy or musical, "Glee" beat out past favorites like "30 Rock" and "Entourage."/

Among the other highlights:

OUTSPOKEN. In an emotional acceptance speech, abuse survivor Mo'Nique dedicates her supporting actress award for the film "Precious" to "every person who's ever been touched. It's now time to tell, and it's OK."

SIR WHO? The presenter of the best animated feature award introduced himself thusly: "I'm Paul McCartney. Or as I'm now known, 'that guy from 'Rock Band.' "

MORE PEACOCK-BASHING. Accepting the award for Best Actress in a TV drama, "Good Wife" star Julianna Margulies thanked CBS executives for "believing in the 10 o 'clock drama." NBC takes it on the chin once more for its decision to can its 10 p.m. dramas in favor of Jay Leno five nights a week.DOUBLE STANDARD? While many winners found their thank-yous cut short by music, Meryl Streep made an emotional, rambling - and uninterrupted - speech after winning best actress in a musical or comedy film for "Julie & Julia."

LONG TIME COMING. One-time child star Drew Barrymore accepted her first Globe, for best actress in a television movie for "Grey Gardens," and admitted she'd been waiting for a while: "I've been in this room since I was 7 years old."

BATTLE OF THE GLOBES. In terms of exposure, it was hard to say whether the winner was Halle Berry's down-to-the-navel dress or Mariah Carey's barely-there gown.

LANGUAGE SKILLS. Christoph Waltz, from Austria, accepted his supporting actor award for "Inglourious Basterds" by eloquently expressing his awe: "I wouldn't have dared to dream that my little world, my globe, would be part of that constellation. And now you made it golden."


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