The night’s big prize, for best motion picture drama, went to “Argo,” a reality-based thriller about the rescue of American diplomats from Iran during its revolution. But the prizes were just half the action, as the room was kept spinning by Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, hosts who pulled no punches.
“When it comes to torture, I trust a lady who spent three years married to James Cameron,” Ms. Poehler said as the festivities began. She was referring to the director Kathryn Bigelow, once married to a fellow director, Mr. Cameron, and the blazing controversy around the portrayal of torture in her film “Zero Dark Thirty.”
The crowd roared. In truth it was just the sort of crack that has been making this the show to watch if you want to know what those shiny actors and the less glamorous players around them are saying in the snippiest moments. With hosts who had worked together on “Saturday Night Live” and presenters like Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig and Jonah Hill, irreverence pervaded the atmosphere in the International Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
The Globes voters delivered a considerable snub when they bypassed “Lincoln,” an awards season favorite, in the best drama category, and the filmmaker behind it, Steven Spielberg, in the directing category.
Ben Affleck, who directed “Argo,” won that one, too, though only three days earlier he had been left off the list of Oscar-nominated directors, while Mr. Spielberg made the cut.
When Mr. Affleck won the directing prize late in the show, guests leapt from their seats and gave him perhaps the warmest reception of any winner to that point. And in the banquet room, the buzz around “Argo” was loud — and reminiscent of the outpouring for Jeff Bridges, when a powerful reception at the Golden Globes in 2010 was a prelude to his winning the best actor Oscar for “Crazy Heart.”
“Lincoln,” a seeming awards-season front-runner, had still won nothing at that point, nor had “Zero Dark Thirty,” another top contender.
But Daniel Day-Lewis filled the first gap when he won, very much as expected, as best actor for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln. He soothed Mr. Spielberg with a tribute, calling him “a humble master, with a quicksilver imagination.”
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