Heath Ledger got his Golden Globe, Kate Winslet came away with two and Tina Fey told her naysayers to "suck it." Yet "Slumdog Millionaire" was the big winner during an eventful night that saw other key prizes going to a newcomer, an underdog and a poster boy for the classic Hollywood comeback.
The Golden Globes got off to a quick start with Jennifer Lopez getting irritated with the crowd for not paying attention to the first announcement of the evening: Best Supporting Actress, which went to Kate Winslet for “The Reader.” Winslet seemed genuinely honored and flummoxed in her acceptance speech, which paled in comparison with her second when she later won for Best Actress in a Drama for “Revolutionary Road.”
NBC’s “30 Rock” and HBO’s “John Adams” were the big winners of the small screen. “30 Rock” won Best TV Comedy with Fey, the show's creator, winning Best Actress in a TV Comedy and her co-star Alec Baldwin winning Best Actor in a TV Comedy.
While acknowledging the amazing year she’s had, Fey said, “If you ever start to feel too good about yourself, they have this thing called the internet. And you can find a lot of people there who don’t like you," she said, drawing laughs. "I’d like to address some of them now. Babs in La Crosse, you can suck it. Diane-fan, you can suck it. Cougar-letter, you can really suck it, 'cause all year you've been after me. All year."
Fey also introduced a political note to the Globes ceremony with the help of "30 Rock" co-star Tracy Morgan.
"Tina Fey and I had an agreement that if Barack Obama won, I would speak for the show from now on," Morgan said in accepting the best-series award. "Welcome to post-racial America. I'm the face of post-racial America - deal with it, Cate Blanchett."
With four awards Sunday including best drama, "Slumdog Millionaire" emerged as the potential film to beat at the Academy Awards, an unexpected position for a movie with a cast of unknowns and a story set among orphans and criminals on the streets of Mumbai.
"Is this really happening to me? My first film wins four Golden Globes? I just can't believe it," ''Slumdog Millionaire" co-star Freida Pinto gushed to reporters backstage as she stood among her collaborators, including Danny Boyle, who won the best-director prize.
A critical darling and solid box-office success, "Slumdog Millionaire" knocked off best-drama nominees that included Brad Pitt's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio's "Revolutionary Road" and Ron Howard's "Frost/Nixon."
"They have this expression — which I hope I pronounce correctly — in Hindi, which is when you do something, you should do it from the heart," director Boyle said backstage. "The film was made from the heart, and we never expected to be here, and it's incredible that we are."
The best screenplay and musical score prizes also went to "Slumdog Millionaire," the story of an orphan boy who rises from terrible hardship to become a champ on India's version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," all the while trying to reunite with a lost love from his childhood.
"Benjamin Button," ''Frost/Nixon" and Meryl Streep's "Doubt" all came in tied for the lead with five Globe nominations and all went away empty-handed. The night belonged mainly to non-A-listers and films below the radar.
Sally Hawkins, a British actress virtually unknown in America, was chosen best actress in a comedy or musical as an eternal optimist in "Happy-Go-Lucky." Colin Farrell took the comedy or musical actor prize as a hit man in "In Bruges," a little-seen movie released last winter. Mickey Rourke returned from the wilderness to earn the Globe for best dramatic actor in "The Wrestler," a film whose comeback theme paralleled the actor's own journey back from Hollywood pariah.
"There ain't no quit in me," said Rourke, whose role as a washed-up wrestler with one last shot at glory re-established him as a viable star after he wrecked his career with bad behavior in the 1990s. "I didn't care about repercussions, and I paid the price for that. It took 13, 14 years for the doors to open up again."
"The Wrestler" also won the best-song Globe for Bruce Springsteen, who wrote the film's title tune.
There was little surprise in the supporting-actor category. Virtually since he died nearly a year ago, Ledger has been the name on everyone's lips for that award. Ledger won the prize for his diabolical turn as the Joker in the Batman blockbuster "The Dark Knight," raising his chances to become only the second actor to win a posthumous Oscar. The first was Peter Finch, who won the best-actor Oscar for 1976's "Network."
"Dark Knight" director Christopher Nolan accepted the Globe for Ledger, who died last Jan. 22 from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. Oscar nominations come out on the one-year anniversary of Ledger's death.
"All of us who worked with Heath on 'The Dark Knight' accept with an awful mixture of sadness but incredible pride," Nolan said. "After Heath passed, you saw a hole ripped in the future of cinema."
Our award for best presenter would have to go to Sacha Baron Cohen, best known for his character Borat, who acknowledged what a tough year it's been economically. The actor said even celebrities had to cut back on spending and joked: "Charlie Sheen has been forced to have sex without paying for it," and Madonna had to get rid of one of her personal assistants. Cohen said "Our thoughts go out to you, Guy Ritchie," which drew a groan from the crowd.
Check out the complete list of winners and nominees, revisit our live red carpet and award coverage, and check out notable acceptance speeches by Tracy Morgan, Tina Fey, Mickey Rourke, Colin Farrell and more.