"Babel," which earned a pack-leading seven Golden Globe nominations, won only one Monday night, but it was a biggie -- best drama -- cementing the film's position as an Oscar front-runner.
"Babel" will have some stiff competition at the Academy Awards, however. "Dreamgirls," the musical based on the Broadway show about a female singing group, won three Globes, including best comedy or musical.
And "Babel's" main dramatic competition, "The Departed," earned Martin Scorsese the award for best director, adding to one he received for "Gangs of New York" four years ago.
In general, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which presents the Globes, spread the awards wealth around.
Forest Whitaker won best actor in a drama for "The Last King of Scotland," Helen Mirren won best actress in a drama for "The Queen," Sacha Baron Cohen won best actor for a musical or comedy for "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" and Meryl Streep won best actress in a musical or comedy for "The Devil Wears Prada."
"Dreamgirls" was one of only two films that earned awards in more than one movie category, with its victory as best musical or comedy, as well as wins for stars Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson, who won best supporting actor and best supporting actress. ("The Queen," which won best actress in a drama and best screenplay, was the other.)
"This goes far beyond everything I could have ever imagined," an emotional Hudson said in accepting her award, the first of the evening. "You do not know how much this does for my confidence. ... It makes me feel like I'm part of a community."
Hudson dedicated her award to Florence Ballard, one of the singers from the Supremes -- the musical group on which "Dreamgirls" is loosely based.
Murphy was as calm as Hudson was effusive.
"Wow. I'll be damned," said Murphy, who plays a slick soul singer in the film. He thanked a number of executives and artists, concluding with "This is a nice moment."
Baron Cohen -- for once, not in character but as himself -- started out talking about seeing an "ugly part of America," then sealed the joke by saying he was referring to the private parts of "my co-star, Ken Davitian."
After several more elegantly off-color jokes at Davitian's -- and his own -- expense, Baron Cohen concluded, "Thank you to everybody in America who has not sued me so far."
Mirren was a double winner for playing two British queens named Elizabeth. She won best actress in a drama as Elizabeth II in "The Queen" and best actress in a TV miniseries or movie for "Elizabeth I."
"The Queen" also won best screenplay.
Wanting to pay tribute to many, the fast-talking Scorsese upped the ante in his acceptance speech, saying, "I'm going to try to talk faster than I normally do." The director, true to his film-lover roots, acknowledged other films -- including the Hong Kong basis of "The Departed," "Infernal Affairs" -- as much he did his colleagues.
"Letters from Iwo Jima" won best foreign-language film. The Clint Eastwood film, which is in Japanese and shows the Battle of Iwo Jima from the Japanese perspective, has topped a number of critics' best-of lists.
"Cars" won the Globes' first award for best animated film.
A beautiful shocker for 'Ugly'
The Globes also give out awards for television programs. In a pair of shockers, "Ugly Betty" won best TV comedy or musical, and its star, America Ferrera, won best actress in a comedy or musical.
"I'm so sorry, I'm such a mess. I'm still getting over the shock of our first award," said Ferrera tearfully, as her show collected its second award of the evening.
The actress, who plays the curvy, quirky Betty character in the series, noted the support she's received from fans who recognize that "beauty ... lies deeper than what we see."
"Grey's Anatomy" won best TV drama.
"House's" Hugh Laurie won for best actor in a drama and "The Closer's" Kyra Sedgwick won best actress in a drama.
"I am speechless. I am literally without a speech," said Laurie, joking about the freebies offered stars -- which never includes "a speech by Dolce & Gabbana." Laurie then offered tributes to "the heads of the five families" -- meaning network executives -- as well as his old comic partner, Stephen Fry, and a number of "House" colleagues.
Alec Baldwin won best actor in a TV musical or comedy for "30 Rock."
HBO's "Elizabeth I" proved dominant among TV movies, winning best miniseries or movie, best actress in a miniseries or movie (Mirren) and best supporting actor (Jeremy Irons).
The Globes, awarded by the 85 or so members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, are seen as a bellwether for the Academy Awards.
Seven of the last 10 Academy Award-winning best pictures have also won Globe best film honors, and two other Globe winners -- last year's "Brokeback Mountain" and 1998's "Saving Private Ryan" -- are widely seen to have been upset at the Oscars.
Nominations for the Academy Awards will be announced January 23 -- eight days after the Globes -- for a February 25 Oscar night.
Story courtesy of CNN Newsource.