Science-fiction blockbuster "Avatar" took top honors at the 67th Golden Globes here late Sunday, winning best picture and best director to cement its status as an Oscars front-runner.
The ground-breaking epic from "Titanic" director James Cameron - on course to become the highest-grossing film in history - was the big winner on a night when honors were largely spread across several films.
The movie has been hailed as a cinematic milestone for its use of state of the art 3-D cameras and motion capture technology which Cameron was instrumental in helping to develop.
"This is the best job in the world," Cameron told a star-studded audience at the Beverly Hilton Hotel after accepting the best motion picture drama award. Since its release in December, "Avatar" has earned an astonishing 1.6 billion dollars worldwide and is rapidly closing in on the 1.8 billion dollar record of Cameron's 1997 Oscar-winner "Titanic."
Accepting the best director award earlier, a delighted Cameron said he had been expecting to lose out to ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow, who had been nominated for her powerful Iraq war drama "The Hurt Locker."
"I'm unprepared. Frankly I thought Kathryn was going to get this," Cameron said. "But make no mistake I'm very grateful."
Part of Cameron's speech was also made in Na'vi - the language spoken by the blue-skinned peace-loving alien heroes of "Avatar," which was invented for the film by a University of Southern California linguistics expert.
The Golden Globes are seen as a key staging post in the sprint towards the ultimate prize of the Oscars, which take place on March 7 this year, and often help shape the field of likely best picture contenders.
However Hollywood awards shows rarely honor fantasy films, and "Avatar" was expected to face stiff competition from Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker," Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds", "Precious" and "Up In the Air."
"Avatar's" stellar showing at the Globes may now see it elevated to favorite for the Oscars, whose nominees are revealed on February 2.
"Up In the Air" had started Sunday as one of the hot favorites with six nominations but in the event had to settle for one - best screenplay.
Another big loser on the night was musical "Nine", which started the night with five nominations but finished empty-handed. "Nine" was pipped for best musical or comedy by the raucous "The Hangover."
The acting awards saw popular honors going to veterans Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock.
Bridges, 60, won the best drama actor prize for his portrayal of a washed up country singer in "Crazy Heart."
Bridges, who had been nominated for a Golden Globe on three previous occasions but never won, received a standing ovation as he walked to the stage before thanking his late father Lloyd Bridges in his acceptance speech.
"I gotta thank my dad," Bridges said. "You know, he loved show biz so damned much he encouraged all his kids to go into showbiz.
"Me being a young kid, you know, you don't want to do what your parents want you to do. ... So glad I listened to you, dad. I finally paid attention."
Bullock took best drama actress prize for her portrayal of southern housewife Leigh Anne Tuohy in "The Blind Side," the true story of how Tuohy took in a homeless black teen Michael Oher, who went on to become an American football star with the Baltimore Ravens.
"Thank you for putting me in this extraordinary category with these amazing women I get to share this night with," Bullock said.
"If I may steal from Michael Oher, he said 'I might not be the most talented, but I've been given opportunity.' And I've been given so much opportunity.
The 45-year-old veteran beat out fellow nominees Emily Blunt ("The Young Victoria), Helen Mirren ("The Last Station"), Carey Mulligan, ("An Education") and Gabourey Sidibe ("Precious").
Elsewhere, Hollywood icon Meryl Streep snared a record seventh Golden Globe win for her portrayal of television chef Julia Child in "Julie & Julia."
The 60-year-old won in the best comedy actress category, where she was also nominated for "It's Complicated."
The best comedy actor prize was taken by Robert Downey Jr for his performance in "Sherlock Holmes" as the legendary Victorian super-sleuth.
The supporting acting awards went to Austria's Christoph Waltz for "Inglourious Basterds" and Mo'Nique for "Precious."Reuse content