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2012 Golden Globes Shine on The Descendants, The Artist, Homeland, Modern Family

George Clooney, Golden Globes Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Everything's coming up George Clooney!

The Descendants, starring the Cloonmeister as an unraveling dad whose cheatin' wife is in a coma, was named Best Motion Picture, Drama, at the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards, held Sunday at the Beverly Hilton.

Get the full list of winners

For his subtle performance, Clooney was named Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama, and took the opportunity to thank...Brad Pitt?!

 READ: Best & Worst of the 2012 Golden Globes: Ricky Gervais Breaks All the Rules Again!

After ribbing Pitt by toting a cane onstage earlier in the evening, Clooney praised both his pal's acting chops and the good works he does as a humanitarian.

"I'd like to thank [Shame star] Michael Fassbender," he added, "for taking over the frontal-nudity responsibility that I had. If you can play golf like this, with your hands behind your back—go for it man, do it!"

Vintage Clooney, right?

And while it used to be the audience that wasn't allowed to speak to make a film more enjoyable, The Artist, a charming homage to 1920s silent cinema that features only a couple of spoken words, continued its tap-dance to Oscar with the win for Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical.

Martin Scorsese, the recipient of so many snubs that should have been Oscars, notched his third Best Director Golden Globe for his passion project Hugo. He thanked his wife for reading a story about turn-of-the-century filmmaker Georges Méliès first and suggesting to him, "Why don't you make a film that our daughter can see for once?"

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Just as he wasn't there to scoop up his Critics' Choice honor last week, Woody Allen was MIA when he won Best Screenplay for Midnight in Paris. (And just like last week, Allen wasn't around to collect his statuette.)

The Artist, the most winning film of the night with three Globes, also created a Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Drama, win for French thesp Jean Dujardin, who fondly told a story about an agent who told him he'd never be in movies because his face was "too expressive, too big."

"It's not my fault. My eyebrows are independent," he cracked. (Great speech, the only flaw being that he didn't thank his right-hand canine, Uggie.)

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BTW, we've finally got ourselves a competition heading into the SAG Awards: Viola Davis took the Critics' Choice, but Meryl Streep—who forgot her glasses and was forced to remember her speech!—was the winner tonight for Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama, for channeling Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.

"I've got to thank everyone in England who came and let me trample all over their history...We made this for 25 cents in five minutes," Streep said, being her usual warm, down-to-earth self. "I'm so grateful. And I love you, Viola, you're my girl."

On the TV side, post-9-11 paranoia ruled with a Best TV Series, Drama, win for the Showtime nail-biter Homeland, starring Claire Danes—a winner for Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama!

The glowing 32-year-old, who won her first Globe for My So-Called Life when she was 15, thanked hubby Hugh Dancy for "keeping me sane and happy as I play a person who is not so sane and not so happy."

Homeland, Golden Globes Paul Drinkwater/NBC

And in the finest tradition of the powers-that-give-out-awards not giving a darn about how many people watch a show, the Hollywood Foreign Press named Kelsey Grammer, whose Boss enjoyed an eight-episode first season on premium cable network Starz, Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama.

"Well, this is very nice," the small-screen veteran said. "I'd like to thank [Starz honcho] Chris Albrecht for his insight and balls—and money—to produce all eight episodes without shooting a pilot yet...I'm very very pleased about this. And I'd like to thank my wife, Kayte, for the future, and what a magnificent year it's been." (Oh, that future includes two babies, if you hadn't heard!)

Enlightened star Laura Dern beat out the usual tough Tina Fey-topped field to win Best Actress in a Series, Comedy or Musical, and Peter Dinklage repeated his Emmy glory with Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Movie or Miniseries for playing the scheming Tyrion Lannister on Game of Thrones.

Showtime closed the gap with Matt LeBlanc's win for Best Actor in a Series, Comedy or Musical, playing a "more interesting and fun" version of himself in Episodes, as the former Friends star noted in his humble acceptance speech. (This was the veteran ensemble player's first solo win that wasn't a People's or Teen Choice Award!)

HBO and Showtime were the most-winning networks of the night with three Globes apiece—and the wealth was spread thinner than ever this year!

Jessica Lange deservedly won Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series, Movie or Miniseries for her scene-beyond-stealing performance in FX's American Horror Story.

READ: Kate Winslet Wants to Be a Man?! Plus More Backstage Shockers

The Help's Octavia Spencer continued to cement her Oscar cred with a trophy for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture, which she let presenter Bradley Cooper hold while she whipped out her speech.

"This is seriously…nuts. Seriously!" Spencer said. "With regard to domestics in this country, now and then, I think Dr. King said it best, ‘All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance,' and I thank you for recognizing that with our film."

Better luck next time, Jonah Hill, because 81-year-old Christopher Plummer is so the Oscar favorite after taking home the Critics' Choice Award last week and tonight the Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for his role as a septugenarian widower making the most of his remaining years as a newly out gay man.

And we're fine with that, because his speeches are delightful.

(Originally published on Jan. 15, 2012, at 8:31 p.m. PT)

"I must praise my distinguished competitors, for whom I have the greatest admiration and to whom I apologize most profusely," trilled the elegant Canadian. "I want to salute my partner, Ewan, that wily Scot, Ewan "My Heart's in the Higlands" McGregor, that scene-stealing swine from the outer Hebrides."

Speaking of dashing sons from other shores, Ricky Gervais was tame—compared to last year, maybe—but really rather hilarious, never more so than when he asked the night's first presenter, Johnny Depp, if he had seen The Tourist yet.

Nailed it!

MORE: Did Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt Deliver on the Golden Globes Red Carpet?

Kate Winslet, Golden Globes Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Question: Does Madonna's accent qualify her as a dashing Brit?

While her feature directorial debut W.E. has premiered to mixed reviews, the film is a Golden Globe winner, as the Material Girl picked up the trophy for Best Original Song for "Masterpiece."

Ludovic Bource won Best Score for The Artist. "Right now if I were to write a song, it would be a tap-dance number," the French composer said proudly.

In a repeat of their Emmy victories, PBS' Downton Abbey was named Best TV Movie/Miniseries and Kate Winslet was Best Actress in a TV Movie/Miniseries for Mildred Pierce—but the HFP threw a charming wrench in the proceedings by naming Idris Elba Best Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries for Luther, which can be found on these shores on BBC America.

Having won for playing a mother with a spitful, wretched daughter, Winslet said she wanted to share her award with her probably pretty awesome kids, daughter MIA and son Joe.

Following the proud-mum thread, My Week With Marilyn star Michelle Williams dedicated her win for Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical, to Matilda, her daughter with the late Heath Ledger.

"I consider myself a mother first and an actress second," the pixie-haired actress said. "The person I most want to thank is my daughter, my little girl, whose bravery and exuberance is the example that I take with me in my work and in my life. Thank you for sending me off to this job with a hug and a kiss, I couldn't have done it otherwise...And thank you for suffering through six months of bedtime stories that were all read aloud in a Marilyn Monroe-sounding voice."

 

Morgan Freeman, Golden Globes Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Angelina Jolie didn't hit the jackpot with her first directorial effort, her In the Land of Blood and Honey losing to A Separation, from Iran, for Best Foreign Language Film.

Next time, she should double her odds like Steven Spielberg: War Horse was an also-ran in the Best Picture race, but The Adventures of Tintin was named Best Animated Film.

Morgan Freeman was the receipient of this year's Cecil B. DeMille Award for his multitude of achievements.

"In my movie career I got to save the world, solve some crimes, commit some crimes, drive Miss Daisy, be Nelson Mandela, play the president of the United States, and even God," Freeman recalled. "It's been said that, if you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life. For the past 45 years or so I've never had to work, because my passion in life has always been acting. There have been 58 people before me to receive the DeMille award, people like Gregory Peck, Clint Eastwood, Sophia Loren, Henry Fonda, Mr. [Sidney] Poitier...So I am truly truly honored that you consider me worthy of being in that company."

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