BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - The tragic romance "Atonement" was named best drama Sunday at a Golden Globes event that was deflated from star-studded revelry to dry, news conference-style awards announcement because of the Hollywood writers strike.
The bloody stage adaptation "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" was chosen as best musical or comedy. Its star, Johnny Depp, won for best actor in a musical or comedy for the title role, playing a vengeful barber who slits the throats of his customers in the adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's stage musical.
Also winning two awards was the crime saga "No Country for Old Men," which earned the screenplay Globe for writer-directors Ethan and Joel Coen and the supporting actor honour for Javier Bardem as a merciless killer tracking a fortune in crime cash poached by an innocent bystander who stumbles onto a drug deal gone bad.
"Thank you to the Hollywood Foreign Press!" said Bardem in a written statement after his win. "It is a great honour to have been recognized with this award in a time when there are so many outstanding performances in this category."
"Atonement," which led contenders with seven nominees, also won for best score. The film stars Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, both losers in the best dramatic acting categories, in a period drama that traces the dire consequences that follows a jealous teen's false criminal accusation against her sister's new lover.
Daniel-Day Lewis was named best dramatic actor for the historical epic "There Will Be Blood," in which he plays a baron of California's oil boom in the early 20th century whose commercial interests put him at odds with a young preacher.
Julie Christie won best dramatic actress for the gloomy drama "Away From Her," starring as a woman succumbing to Alzheimer's who forms a new attachment to a fellow patient that causes heartache for her steadfast husband. The film was directed by Toronto's Sarah Polley.
Cate Blanchett won the first award of the night, taking the supporting actress Globe for the Bob Dylan tale "I'm Not There." And like Blanchett, who took the honour for the gender-bending role as one of six actors playing incarnations of Dylan, no other winners were there, either.
Actors and filmmakers skipped the Golden Globes because of the two-month-old strike by the Writers Guild of America, which had planned pickets outside the show if organizers had tried to do their usual televised ceremony. Globe planners and NBC cancelled the three-hour star-studded bash in favour of an hour-long news conference at which clips of film and TV nominees were shown and reporters from entertainment news shows announced winners.
Marion Cotillard won for best actress in a musical or comedy for a remarkable personification of singer Edith Piaf in "La Vie En Rose," playing the French icon from youth through middle age and into her ailing final years. She beat out Halifax's Ellen Page, who was nominated in the category for her turn as a quirky pregnant teen in "Juno."
Ryan Gosling, originally from London, Ont., had a shot at the Globe for best actor in a musical or comedy for "Lars and the Real Girl," but was beaten out by Depp.
The rodent tale "Ratatouille" - directed by the Brad Bird, who made Academy Award winner "The Incredibles" - was named best animated film.
Among TV recipients, Jeremy Piven won for his supporting role as an acerbic agent in HBO's "Entourage," his first win after three previous nominations. Samantha Morton supporting actress for "Longford."
Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder won the prize for best original song in a movie for "Guaranteed," featured in director Sean Penn's road drama "Into the Wild."
"We all hope that the writers strike will be over soon so that everyone can go back to making good movies and television programs which is what the Golden Globes were designed to celebrate," said Jorge Camara, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association that hands out the Globes, said at the start of the news conference.
"Rest assured that next year, the Golden Globe awards will be back bigger and better than ever," Camara said at the close of the news conference, which had been announced as an hour-long event but lasted just 30 minutes.
On strike since Nov. 5, the Writers Guild of America refused to let union members work on the star-studded banquet-style show, prompting actors to boycott the ceremony rather than cross picket lines.
Although the guild called off pickets it had planned outside the news conference, the strike left one of Hollywood's brightest and giddiest nights in shambles. Despite the gowns and formal wear, the Globes are known as a freewheeling cousin of the Academy Awards, a place where stars can have a few drinks and cut loose as they celebrate the year's achievements in film and television.
The Beverly Hilton hotel, normally awash with celebrities, was so barren of stars that "Entertainment Tonight" host Mary Hart was surrounded by photographers and TV cameras as she entered the ballroom where the Globes were announced.
The fate of Hollywood's biggest night, the Feb. 24 Oscars, remains uncertain. Guild leader Patric Verrone has said writers would not be allowed to work on that show, either, which could force stars to make an even tougher choice on whether to stay away or cross the picket line.
Oscar organizers insist their show will come off as planned, with or without the writers.
With two best-picture categories, drama and musical or comedy, the Globes traditionally have had a good shot for one of its movie winners to come away with the top prize at the Oscars. But the Globes have not correctly forecast an Oscar best-picture winner in four years, the last one being "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King."
Writers walked off the job over their share of potential profits from programming on the Internet and other new media.
As a result of their strike, films may not get quite the same box-office bounce they typically receive after winning high-profile prizes, which can add tens of millions of dollars to their haul during the long awards season. Yet actors and writers say tough action is needed to make sure creative people get their fair financial share for the long haul.
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