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Golden Globes 2014: American Hustle and 12 Years A Slave win Best Picture awards

McQueen's '12 Years A Slave' picked up one award despite seven nominations

After a year notable for its excess of cinematic gems, last night’s 2014 Golden Globes shared the awards spoils among a selection of worthy winners.

British director Steve McQueen accepted the Best Picture (Drama) prize for his searing slavery epic 12 Years A Slave, but the biggest haul of the night went to American Hustle, director David O Russell’s take on the 1970s Abscam scandal. Russell’s film won Best Picture (Musical or Comedy), while one of its stars, Amy Adams, triumphed in the Best Actress (musical or comedy) category.

Golden Globes 2014: List of Winners

In 2013 that title went to Jennifer Lawrence for Russell’s previous film, Silver Linings Playbook, but Lawrence last night made do with a Best Supporting Actress win, taking American Hustle’s Globes total to three.

Matthew McConaughey capped his remarkable evolution from rom-com workhorse to highly respected character actor by winning Best Actor (Drama) for his performance in Dallas Buyer’s Club. McConaughey’s co-star Jared Leto took home the Best Supporting Actor award for his similarly transformative turn as a transsexual AIDS sufferer.

Yet no single film succeeded in sweeping the board, with Alfonso Cuaron accepting the Best Director gong for the 3D space thriller Gravity, and Spike Jonze taking home the Best Screenplay prize for his sci-fi romance Her.

Leonardo DiCaprio won Best Actor (musical or comedy) for his devilish depiction of sleazy stockbroker Jordan Belfort in Wolf of Wall Street, while Cate Blanchett won her third Golden Globe for Best Actress (Drama) in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine.

Though Allen himself did not appear at the ceremony, he was honoured with the Cecil B DeMille award for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment”, which was accepted in his stead by his long-time collaborator and friend, actress Diane Keaton.

The fake team: Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle

The nominees for the upcoming Academy Awards will be announced later this week, though the Globes have left the Oscar race without a conclusive favourite.

As in previous years the contest seems likely to come down to two films, in this case 12 Years A Slave and American Hustle.

The Globes are awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a group of around 90 non-American journalists covering the entertainment industry. The ceremony at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles is markedly different from the Oscars not least for its relaxed mood: teleprompters break down, attendees drink copiously, winners take what seems like forever to navigate a path to the stage.

The Globes also differ from the Oscars in that that they reward television, too: a medium increasingly thought of as an artistic rival to the big screen.

Bryan Cranston with Breaking Bad's two Golden Globe awards

Bryan Cranston was last night awarded his first Globe for his performance as the schoolteacher-turned-drug baron Walter White in Breaking Bad. The show also won Best TV Drama, for its fifth and final series.

Robin Wright, meanwhile, took home the first ever Golden Globe for Netflix, winning Best Actress in a TV drama for the web-streaming service’s original series House of Cards.

The event was hosted, for the second year running, by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who was also named Best Actress in a TV comedy, for Parks and Recreation.

It was Fey, though, who landed perhaps the finest joke of the evening, describing Gravity as, “The story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age.”

12 Years A Slave: Steve McQueen with the Golden Globe award for best motion picture (drama)

Jennifer Lawrence wins for American Hustle and photobombs Taylor Swift
Breaking Bad wins two awards with first for Bryan Cranston
12 Years a Slave wins one award despite seven nominations
Individuality blossoms on the red carpet