By Todd Leopold
(CNN) — “12 Years a Slave” and “American Hustle” are on top of the Globes.
The two films took home the top prizes at the 2014 Golden Globes Sunday night, winning best motion picture drama (“12 Years”) and best comedy or musical motion picture (“Hustle”).
The wins thrust the two films into the top positions for the Academy Awards’ best picture honor. The Globes are often seen as an Oscar forecaster.
Another film, the space thriller “Gravity,” also earned an edge, winning best director for Alfonso Cuaron at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual shindig.
“This is for the hundreds of people who made this film possible, and because of my thick accent, they end up doing what they thought I said, not what I said,” the Mexican director said to laughs.
The Globes tended to spread the wealth this year. “Hustle,” based loosely on the Abscam scandal of the late ’70s, was the big winner among films, earning two acting honors — Amy Adams’ best actress (comedy or musical) prize and Jennifer Lawrence’s best supporting actress trophy — in addition to the film award. “12 Years,” based on a 19th-century slave narrative, won just the drama honor.
“Dallas Buyers Club” won two acting honors for motion pictures: Jared Leto’s supporting actor prize and — in a shocker — Matthew McConaughey’s nod for best actor in a drama.
Cate Blanchett won the Globe for best actress in a drama (motion picture) for her performance in “Blue Jasmine.” She and Adams are now the front-runners for best actress.
Leonardo DiCaprio won best actor in a musical or comedy film for his performance in “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
A number of Twitter users weren’t happy with the lack of diversity among the winners. Using the hashtag #notbuyingit, they sounded off: “Winners: white men. Losers: everybody else,” wrote In This Together.
Shockers and surprises
The 71st Annual Globes had its share of shockers, perhaps none bigger than the two awards won by the freshman comedy “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” for best TV series comedy or musical.
Star Andy Samberg also won a Globe for his acting in the show.
“Oh no! I didn’t prepare anything!” he said in genuine surprise. He proceeded to thank “everyone,” including, with a smirk, “everyone on my team.”
But the Globes are known for their unexpected flourishes. After all, the awards do feature an open bar, and the attitude is often much looser in front of the 100 or so members of the HFPA (and the TV audience) than the august Oscar bigwigs at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Indeed, there were plenty of other talked-about moments:
— Diane Keaton finished her presentation of the Cecil B. DeMille Award to Woody Allen by singing a Girl Scout song in a childlike voice.
— A Teleprompter malfunction led to presenters Jonah Hill and Margot Robbie reading their lines off a piece of paper.
— Jacqueline Bisset, who won best supporting actress in a TV series, miniseries or TV movie for her performance in Starz’s “Dancing on the Edge,” seemed breathless as she accepted the honor, staring at the camera for long seconds. At one point, she tried to put a hold on her emotions by giving herself a pep talk; at another point, she apparently uttered an obscenity.
Backstage, Bisset expanded on her remark that forgiving people is “the best beauty treatment.”
“I think if you get bitter you’re really in trouble and it doesn’t progress anything,” she said.
— Jennifer Lawrence, who won the first award of the evening, was nervous on stage and just as plain-speaking backstage.
Asked how she would celebrate, she responded, “I need to catch up on my drinking.”
— And “Breaking Bad’s” Bryan Cranston, who played the show’s meth-mogul protagonist, celebrated two victories — his and the show’s (for best TV series drama), by telling the press he had an interesting night in store. He would, he joked, do some wife-swapping.
Amy ‘n’ Tina
Hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler started the show by picking up where they left off last year.
The pair immediately launched into jokes about the snubbed “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” Matt Damon and “Gravity,” which was about how “George Clooney would rather float into space and die than spend another minute with a woman close to his own age.”
They were particularly sharp about the often marginalized view of women in Hollywood: Matthew McConaughey losing 45 pounds for “Dallas Buyers Club,” or “what actresses call ‘being in a movie’ “; Meryl Streep’s nomination meaning there are still great roles for “Meryl Streeps over 60.”
Streep was already in the record books. She was nominated for best actress in a comedy or musical for her performance in “August: Osage County,” her 28th nomination. She’s won eight times, also a record.
Poehler had a better night than Streep. She won her first Globe, for best actress in a comedy or musical TV series, and was hilariously nervous as she accepted.
“I never win these things!” she exclaimed.
Before the show, celebrities made their way down the red carpet at the Beverly Hilton in their finest finery — dodging some stains left by a sprinkler malfunction. Among the fashion highlights: A revealing Amy Adams (a low-cut gown reminiscent of her outfits in “American Hustle”) and Lupita Nyong’o of “12 Years a Slave.”
Asked whether she felt pressure about choosing a dress, Nyong’o shook her head.
“I only wear things that speak to me,” she said.