BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- The Iran hostage thriller "Argo" was a surprise best-drama winner at Sunday's Golden Globes, beating out the Civil War epic "Lincoln," which had emerged as an awards-season favorite.
"Argo" also claimed the directing prize for Ben Affleck, a prize that normally bodes well for an Academy Award win except he missed out on an Oscar nomination this time.
Affleck's now in an unusual position during Hollywood's long awards season, taking home the top filmmaking trophy at the second-highest film honors knowing he does not have a shot at an Oscar.
And the night left "Argo" taking home the top prize at the Globes but standing as a longshot for best picture at the Feb. 24 Oscars, where films almost never win if their directors are not nominated.
In a breathless, rapid-fire speech, Affleck gushed over the names of other nominees presenter Halle Berry had read off: Steven Spielberg for "Lincoln," Ang Lee for "Life of Pi," Kathryn Bigelow for "Zero Dark Thirty" and Quentin Tarantino for "Django Unchained."
"Look, I don't care what the award is. When they put your name next to the names she just read off, it's an extraordinary thing in your life," Affleck said.
"Les Miserables" was named best musical or comedy, while Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway claimed acting prizes.
Besides the three wins for "Les Miserables" and two for "Argo," the show was a mixed bag, with awards spreads around a number of films. "Lincoln" came in leading with seven nominations but lost all but one, for Daniel Day-Lewis as best actor in the title role of "Lincoln."
"If I had this on a timeshare basis with my wonderful gifted colleagues, I might just hope to keep it for one day of the year, and I'd be happy with that," said Day-Lewis, who previously won a Globe for "There Will Be Blood" and is a two-time Oscar winner with a strong shot at a third.
"Zero Dark Thirty" star Jessica Chastain won the Globe for dramatic actress as a CIA agent obsessively pursuing Bin Laden.
Other acting prizes went to Jennifer Lawrence as best musical or comedy actress for the oddball romance "Silver Linings Playbook" and Christoph Waltz as supporting actor for the slave-revenge tale "Django Unchained."
"Les Miserables," the musical based on Victor Hugo's classic novel earned Jackman the Globe for musical or comedy actor as tragic hero Jean Valjean. Hathaway won supporting actress as a single mom forced into prostitution.
"Thank you for this lovely blunt object that I will forevermore use as a weapon against self-doubt," Hathaway said.
Jackman was a bit hoarse from the flu, but his Globe win seemed to be the right antidote.
"I was kicking myself for not getting the flu shot, but it appears that you don't need one. I feel great," Jackman said.
But when it comes to Hollywood's highest honors, "Les Miserables" already has a big obstacle, also failing to earn a best-director slot for filmmaker Tom Hooper at the Feb. 24 Oscars.
Last Thursday's Oscar nominations held some shockers, including the omission of Affleck from the directing lineup, along with fellow Globe nominee Bigelow. Bigelow and Affleck also were nominated for top honors by the Directors Guild of America, whose contenders usually match up closely with the Oscar field.
Former President Bill Clinton upstaged Hollywood's elite with a surprise appearance to introduce Spielberg's Civil War epic "Lincoln," which was up for best drama. The film chronicles Abraham Lincoln's final months as he tries to end the war and find common ground in a divided Congress to pass the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery.
Lincoln's effort was "forged in a cauldron of both principle and compromise," Clinton said. "This brilliant film shows us how he did it and gives us hope that we can do it again."
Amy Poehler, co-host of the Globes with Tina Fey, gushed afterward, "Wow, what an exciting special guest! That was Hillary Clinton's husband!"
Lawrence won as best actress in a musical or comedy for her role as a troubled widow in a shaky new relationship. The Globe winners in musical or comedy categories often aren't factors at the Oscars, which tend to favor heavier dramatic roles.
But "Silver Linings Playbook" is a crowd-pleasing comic drama with deeper themes than the usual comedy. And Lawrence -- a 2010 Oscar nominee for her breakout film "Winter's Bone" who shot to superstardom with "The Hunger Games" -- delivers a nice mix of humor and melancholy.
"What does this say? I beat Meryl," Lawrence joked as she looked at her award, referring to fellow nominee and multiple Globe winner Meryl Streep. Lawrence went on to thank her mother for believing in her and her father for making her maintain a sense of humor.
Waltz won supporting actor for his role as a genteel bounty hunter who takes on an ex-slave as apprentice.
The win was Waltz's second supporting-actor prize at the Globes, both of them coming in Tarantino films. Waltz's violent but paternal and polite "Django" character is a sharp contrast to the wickedly bloodthirsty Nazi he played in his Globe and Oscar-winning role in Tarantino's 2009 tale "Inglourious Basterds."
"Let me gasp," said Waltz, whose competition included "Django" co-star Leonardo DiCaprio. "Quentin, you know that my indebtedness to you and my gratitude knows no words."
Tarantino won the screenplay prize for "Django Unchained." He thanked his cast and also the group of friends to whom he reads work-in-progress for reaction.
"You guys don't know how important you are to my process. I don't want input. I don't want you to tell me if I'm doing anything wrong. Heavens forbid," Tarantino said. "When I read it to you, I hear it through your ears, and it lets me know I'm on the right track."
The Scottish tale "Brave" won for best animated film. It was the sixth win for Disney's Pixar Animation unit in the seven years since the Globes added the category.
Austrian director Michael Haneke's old-age love story "Amour," a surprise best-picture nominee for the Oscars, won the Globe for foreign-language film. The top prize winner at last May's Cannes Film Festival, "Amour" is a grim yet moving portrait of an elderly woman tended by her husband as she is incapacitated by age.
Pop star Adele and co-writer Paul Epworth won for best song for their theme tune to the James Bond adventure "Skyfall."
"Oh, my God!" Adele gushed repeatedly, before offering gratitude to the group that presents the Globes. "I'd like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press. I never thought I'd say that."
The prize for musical score went to Mychael Danna for the lost-at-sea tale "Life of Pi."
Show hosts Fey and Poehler, who co-starred in the 2008 big-screen comedy "Baby Mama," had a friendly rivalry at the Globes. Both were nominated for best actress in a TV comedy series, Fey for "30 Rock" and Poehler for "Parks and Recreation."
"Tina, I just want to say that I very much hope that I win," Poehler told Fey at the start of the show.
"Thank you. You're my nemesis. Thank you," Fey replied.
Neither won. Lena Dunham claimed the comedy series Globe for "Girls."
After that, Fey and Poehler showed up on stage with cocktail glasses, Fey joking that it was time to start drinking.
"Everyone's getting a little loose now that we're all losers," Poehler said.
Among other TV winners, Julianne Moore won a best-actress Globe for her role as Sarah Palin in "Game Change," which also was picked as best TV miniseries or movie and earned Ed Harris a supporting-actor prize. Best actor in a miniseries or movie went to Kevin Costner for "Hatfields & McCoys." "Homeland" was named best TV drama series, and its stars Claire Danes and Damian Lewis received the dramatic acting awards. Maggie Smith won as supporting actress for "Downton Abbey."