Leonardo Di Caprio, Jennifer Lawrence win Golden Globes

Award favourite 12 Years a Slave won the Golden Globe award on Sunday for the best dramatic film, the annual Hollywood award show's top prize. The film, directed by British filmmaker Steve McQueen, is the true life story of a free black man who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in pre-Civil War America.

The Golden Globes kicked off with a host of familiar faces -- hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, winner Jennifer Lawrence and another victory lap for Breaking Bad.

Last year's co-hosts picked up where they left off, starting the 71st annual Golden Globes from Beverly Hills, California, with a torrent of punch lines that took potshots at Matt Damon, Meryl Streep and, of course, George Clooney.

The starry audience roared most of all when Fey described the four-Globe nominee space odyssey Gravity and its lead star Clooney. "George Clooney would rather float away in space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age," said Fey.

The first award of the night went to Lawrence for supporting actress for her performance in David O Russell's con artist caper American Hustle. The award returned Lawrence, a winner last year for Russell's Silver Linings Playbook, to the stage for an acceptance speech -- something she said was not any easier a year later.

"Don't ever do this again," she told herself. "It's so scary."

Four months after its final episode, Breaking Bad won for best drama TV series and best actor in a drama series for Bryan Cranston. The actor called his honour "a lovely way to say goodbye." Creator Vince Gilligan said the award gave him "one more chance to thank the fans of the show," but left the final word for star Aaron Paul.

"Yeah, b****," declared Paul, with what essentially became his character's catchphrase.

As expected, the Emmy-winning HBO film Behind the Candelabra, the acclaimed Liberace drama directed by Steven Soderbergh, won for best movie or miniseries. Producer Jerry Weintraub, the famed Hollywood producer, accepted the award.

Cate Blanchett won the Golden Globe for best actor (female) in a drama for Blue Jasmine. The other nominees Sunday night were Sandra Bullock, Gravity; Judi Dench, Philomena; Emma Thompson, Saving Mr Banks; and Kate Winslet, Labor Day.

The telecast managed two expletives in its first 30 minutes, one from Elisabeth Moss (winner of best actor, miniseries or movie, for Top of the Lake), the other from Jacqueline Bisset (best supporting actor (female), miniseries or movie, Dancing on the Edge). Both were surprise winners.

But Fey and Poehler's playful interplay again stole the show in the early going. They're also signed up to host next year. "This is Hollywood," explained Fey. "If something kind of works, they'll just keep doing it until everyone hates it."

Poehler said that in such a famous crowd, Damon was "basically a garbage person." He later sheepishly presented an introduction to best picture nominee, Captain Phillips, "It's me, the garbage man."

The Tracy Letts play adaptation August: Osage County, starring Streep, Fey said, proved "that there are great parts in Hollywood for Meryl Streeps over 60".

Poehler and Fey last year brought the Globes telecast to a six-year ratings high of 19.7 million, winning universal praise along the way for their irreverent cracks that playfully punctured Hollywood's veneer.

Actor Michael Douglas won the best actor in miniseries or motion picture made for television at the ceremony. He was awarded for his performance in Behind the Candelabra.

The 71st Globes show finds itself on the upswing. While the more prestigious and meaningful Academy Awards ceremony wrestles awkwardly with updating its brand, the Globes telecast has thrived as a more comic, unpredictable affair, free of Oscar's self-regard and musical dance numbers.

The favorites Sunday night are American Hustle and Steve McQueen's unflinching epic 12 Years a Slave. The films and their much-nominated ensemble casts lead with seven nominations each, but they will be kept mostly separated by the Globes' split between comedy-musical and drama categories.

Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón won the best director of a motion picture for Gravity. Other directors in competition for the best director's award were Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips), Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave), Alexander Payne (Nebraska) and David O Russell (American Hustle).

The best screenplay for a motion picture award went to Spike Jonze for Her.

Support was also strong for the Coen brothers'1960s Greenwich Village folk tale Inside Llewyn Davis (three nominations), Alexander Payne's father-son road trip Nebraska (five nominations), Spike Jonze's futuristic romance Her (three nominations) and Paul Greengrass' pirate thriller Captain Phillips (four nominations). All have found various honors in an awards season that has seen critics groups and guild organizations often make divergent choices.

While the Globes have in the past been known for curious nominees like The Tourist and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, this year's nominees were seen as without such oddities.

This year, the Globes fall days after Oscar nomination voting concluded. The Academy Awards announce their nominees Thursday.

Here are the winners so far in key categories at the 71st annual Golden Globes:

FILM

Best Motion Picture, Drama: 12 Years A Slave

Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy: American Hustle

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Actor (Female), musical or comedy: Amy Adams, American Hustle

Best Actor (Female) in a Motion Picture Drama: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama: Matthew McConaughey

Best Actor in a Motion Picture Comedy: Andy Samberg for Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Supporting Actor (Female): Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

Best Screenplay for a Motion Picture: Spike Jonze, Her

Best Director of a Motion Picture: Alfonso Curian, Gravity

Best Foreign Language Film: The Great Beauty

Best Animated Feature: Frozen

TELEVISION

Best TV Series, Comedy or Musical: Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Best Drama Series: Breaking Bad

Best Drama Actor: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad

Best Drama Actress: Robin Wright, House of Cards

Best Comedy Actor: Andy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Best Comedy Actor (Female): Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

Best Mini-series or TV Movie: Behind the Candelabra

Best Mini-series or TV Movie Actor: Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra

Best Mini-series or TV Movie Actor (Female): Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake

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