Colin Firth has won the 'best actor' Golden Globe for his role in 'The King's Speech', though it was a disappointing night for the top-tipped movie overall.
Firth's win, for his role as the stammering King George VI, was the only one for the historical drama out of seven categories in which it was nominated for.
Shortly afterwards blockbuster Facebook movie " " was named as best picture at the Globes, traditionally seen as a pointer towards success at the more prestigious Oscars, on February 27.
The film also won best director for David Fincher, as well as best screenplay and best score.
Best actress went to Natalie Portman for her performance in the ballet-themed dance drama 'Black Swan', on the set of which she met her husband-to-be Benjamin Millepie, with whom she is expecting a baby.
But the night belonged to the Facebook movie, whose producer Scott Rudin hailed the film's "brilliant, brilliant script" and those who worked on it, but also thanked the Facebook founder.
"I want to thank everybody at Facebook -- Mark Zuckerberg for his willingness to allow us to use his life and work as a metaphor through which to tell a story about communication and the way we relate to each other," he said.
Other winners at the three-hour show included 'The Kids are Alright', about a lesbian couple bringing up two children when the biological father turns up, which won two awards including best supporting actress for Annette Bening.
Best animated feature film -- an increasingly high-profile category in recent years, as cutting technology produces ever more eye-popping blockbusters, went to 'Toy Story 3'.
Veteran actor Robert De Niro was meanwhile given a lifetime achievement award for his roles in iconic movies including 'Taxi Driver' and 'The Godfather: Part II'.
De Niro thanked them for deciding to give him the award "well before you had a chance to review 'Little Fockers'," his latest, slightly less legendary movie. "It's okay, we all have our jobs to do," he joked.
Of his great films over the years, he added: "These movies are like my children, except my children are more expensive and cannot be made into 3D to push up your grosses."
But sharing disappointment with 'The King's Speech' were 'Inception', tipped for four but which left empty-handed, as did '127 Hours', Danny Boyle's movie about a real life adventurer cutting off his own arm.
'The King's Speech' had been the surprise top nominee when the Globes short lists were announced last month, having only just opened in the United States and taken a tiny fraction of the box office earnings of 'The Social Network'.
Some had suggested this was a wily move by the Weinstein Company behind the film, which let it slowly impress critics and audiences rather than trying for a blockbuster, head-on approach to seeking Oscar glory and fortune.
One film's inclusion in the short list triggered smirks around Hollywood.
'The Tourist', starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, was critically panned but won a surprise nomination in the comedy or musical category, in what gossips suggested was a blatant bid to gets its A-list stars to attend Sunday.
"They also accepted bribes," added the comedian, to gales of laughter.
On the eve of the Globes a former publicist for the Globes, Michael Russell, filed a lawsuit seeking at least two million dollars in damages and lost wages, accusing them of running a "payola" scheme.
Source: AFP European Edition