It was a night of surprises and snubs Sunday evening at the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards, where the best in film and television from the past year was honoured by the Hollywood Foreign Press. Metro was backstage at the Beverly Hilton for the big show to get reactions from the winners and see where Awards Season leads them next.

While the nominees were certainly anxious to get their results, the biggest question for most viewers was exactly how far Ricky Gervais would go with his second opportunity as host after last year's eyebrow-raising skewering of Hollywood's biggest names. The answer, as it turns out, was not too far at all, as Gervais went easy on his audience, poking fun at himself, the Hollywood Foreign Press (HFPA) and host network NBC, which he referred to as a "non-profit organization."

Several of Gervais' jokes referenced the ire he earned last year, including a list of rules the HFPA had supposedly given him, as well as this stern warning: "The HFPA have warned me that if I insult any of you ... or cause any controversy, they'll invite me back next year," Gervais said. Though later in the evening, he did slip in that the show's audience was "much better than last year's," and he let an obscenity fly while introducing Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas, though only those in attendance got to hear it thanks to a broadcast delay.

As for the awards themselves, the biggest face-off of the night – between Best Actress Oscar front-runners Meryl Streep ("the Iron Lady") and Viola Davis ("the Help") – ended in Streep's favour for her portrayal of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The win puts Streep ahead in her race against Davis, though Davis did get to cheer on her "the Help" co-star, Octavia Spencer, who won for Best Supporting Actress.

 

In the Best Actor in a Drama race, George Clooney beat out stiff competition from Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling (who was directed by Clooney in "the Ides of March") and best pal Brad Pitt. Clooney used his acceptance speech to commend and poke fun at his fellow nominees, asking if Fassbender, star of the revealing, nudity-filled "Shame," played golf with his arms tied behind his back.

On the Musical/Comedy side, Michelle Williams won Best Actress for portraying Marilyn Monroe in what presenter and pal Seth Rogen jokingly called "the hilarious comedy 'My Week with Marilyn.'" Her win could mean trouble for Davis and Streep's Best Actress Oscar showdown. And Frenchman Jean Dujardin won Beast Actor for his portrayal of a silent film star facing obsolescence in "the Artist."

And of course the top prizes for Best Picture in the Drama and Comedy categories went to "the Descendants" and "the Artist," respectively, cementing both films as Oscar front-runners. Martin Scorsese scored the top directing prize, for "Hugo," while Stephen Spielberg got himself some stage time with his Best Animated Feature win for "the Adventures of Tintin." The biggest winner of the night, though, was Harvey Weinstein, whose company put out trophy-winning films "the Artist," "the Iron Lady" and "My Week with Marilyn."

On the TV side, HBO's "Enlightenment," which has struggled to gain viewers, got a boost from star Laura Dern's win for Best Actress in a Comedy Series, beating out popular favourites Tina Fey and Zooey Deschanel, while "Modern Family" won for Best Comedy Series. PBS's runaway hit British import, "Downton Abbey" took home Best Miniseries or TV Movie, while newcomer "Homeland" took Best Drama Series. Kelsey Grammer surprised awards watchers by earning top drama series acting honours for the Starz political series "Boss" ahead of Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad") and Steve Buscemi ("Boardwalk Empire").

Winners, film

Best Drama The Descendants

Best Comedy/Musical The Artist

Best Animated Film The Adventures of Tintin

Best Actor in a Drama George Clooney, The Descendants

Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Best Actress in a Drama Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Octavia Spencer, The Help

Best Director Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Best Screenplay Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris

Best Score The Artist

Best Original Song "Masterpiece," Madonna, "W.E."

Foreign Language Film A Separation (Iran)

Winners, television

Best TV Comedy or Musical Modern Family

Best TV Drama Homeland

Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Downton Abbey

Best Actor in a TV Drama Kelsey Grammer, Boss

Best Actor in a TV Musical or Comedy Matt LeBlanc, Episodes

Best Supporting Actor in TV Series, Mini-Series, or Made-for-TV Movie Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones

Best Actress in a TV Drama Claire Danes, Homeland

Best Actress in a TV Musical or Comedy Laura Dern, Enlightened

Best Supporting Actress in TV Series, Mini-Series, or Made-for-TV Movie Jessica Lange, American Horror Story

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