Los Angeles (CNN) — “Argo,” the retelling of the dramatic rescue of American diplomats during the Iran hostage crisis, and “Les Miserables,” a big-screen adaptation of the Broadway musical, were the big winners at this year’s Golden Globes.
But the night truly belonged to co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler whose good-natured irreverence was a welcome balance after the last three years when British comedian Ricky Gervais turned the show into a roast.
The annual honors by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association unofficially launches the movie industry’s awards season. Here are the five most memorable moments from Sunday’s ceremony.
5.Tommy Lee Jones is not amused
While comedians Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell had the room in stitches with their deliberately botched recap of nominated movies, the camera panned to a shot of Tommy Lee Jones, stone-faced, unimpressed.
Of course, it didn’t take long for the Internet to turn the scowl into a meme. One juxtaposed the 66-year-old actor next to the infamous Grumpy Cat. “Finally someone gets me,” the caption on the cat read.
A flurry of tweets followed.
Among them was Scott Aukerman, the host of the Comedy Bang! Bang!, who tweeted, “Congrats to Tommy Lee Jones for his brave fight against humor.”
4. Clinton introduces Lincoln
To a standing ovation from surprised A-listers, the 42nd U.S. president introduced the 16th president.
Former President Bill Clinton even got in a little barb as he presented a clip for “Lincoln,” a best picture nominee.
“A tough fight to push a bill through a bitterly divided House of Representatives. Winning required the president to make a lot of unsavory deals that had nothing to do with the big issue. I wouldn’t know anything about that,” Clinton said.
Clinton and Lincoln director Steven Spielberg have long been close friends. When Clinton lived in the White House, a Norman Rockwell painting hung in the Oval Office — a gift from Spielberg.
“Wow, what an exciting special guest! That was Hillary Clinton’s husband!” Poehler exclaimed after Clinton left.
3. Killer acceptance speeches …
After winning the award for best actress in a TV drama, Claire Danes thanked the other nominees “who are so, so badass, so brilliant and have all, in their own way, contributed to making television this wonderfully rich place for really dynamic, complex, bold female characters.”
Danes added: “I’m very proud to be working in this medium, in this moment, in this company.”
Hers wasn’t the only sisters-are-doing-it-for-themselves moment of the night.
Lena Dunham, who won best actress in a TV comediy, also thanked her fellow nominees who “have made me laugh and comforted me at the darkest moments of my life.”
“Julia (Louis-Dreyfus), Tina (Fey), Amy (Poehler) and Zooey (Deschanel) have respectively gotten me through middle school, mono, a ruptured eardrum, and the acute float anxiety that populates my entire life, and I worship them.”
2. … and Jodie Foster’s huh-inducing one
Actress Jodie Foster’s rambling acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award had many exclaiming, ‘Huh?’
“I guess I have a sudden urge to say something that I’ve never really been able to air in public,” she began after the requisite thank-yous. “So, a declaration that I’m a little nervous about but maybe not quite as nervous as my publicist right now, huh Jennifer? But I’m just going to put it out there, right? Loud and proud, right? So I’m going to need your support on this.”
So what was the big announcement after this buildup? “I am single, Yes I am, I am single.”
The speech went on. Foster made what sounded like a plea for privacy for celebrities, thanked a bunch more people before making what certainly sounded like a retirement announcement.
“This feels like the end of one era and the beginning of something else. Scary and exciting and now what? Well, I may never be up on this stage again, on any stage for that matter,” she said.
“Change, you gotta love it. I will continue to tell stories, to move people by being moved, the greatest job in the world. It’s just that from now on, I may be holding a different talking stick.”
But backstage, Foster told reporters she wasn’t quitting.
“I’m more into it than I’ve ever been,” she said.
1. Fey and Poehler’s winning combination
From their laugh-out-loud opening quips to their improvised comebacks, old friends and “Saturday Night Live” alums Fey and Poehler didn’t disappoint.
Right at the onset, Poehler — the star of “Parks and Recreation” — assured the audience that there would only be good-natured jokes during the broadcast, because as the more biting Ricky Gervais has shown, “when you run afoul of the Hollywood Foreign Press, they make you host the show two more times.”
The only complaint tweeters had was that the show didn’t use them enough.
Among their greatest hits:
— “When it comes to torture, I trust the lady who spent three years married to James Cameron” — Poehler referring to Kathryn Bigelow, the director of the movie “Zero Dark Thirty,” which has stirred controversy over its portrayal of the torture of terror detainees.
— “I have not seen someone so totally alone and abandoned like that since you were on stage with James Franco at the Oscars,” Fey to Anne Hathaway about the latter’s performance in “Les Miserables.”
— Their heckling, with liquor tumblers in hand, of Lena Dunham who beat them for the best TV comedy actress award.
— The way they introduced George Clooney: “This next presenter is so handsome he makes young George Clooney look like garbage. Please welcome middle-aged George Clooney.”
Now, on to the list of winners:
Best motion picture — drama: “Argo”
Best performance by an actor in a motion picture — drama: Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln”
Day-Lewis revealed backstage that near the end of filming he had a strange feeling that if Lincoln, the 16th American president, had not been assassinated he still would not have survived to lead the country through post-war reconstruction.
Best performance by an actress in a motion picture — drama: Jessica Chastain in “Zero Dark Thirty”
“This is a sweet dream come true,” Chastain said in her acceptance speech. She explained backstage why her preparation for the role of a real-life CIA analyst did not include talking to the person her role was based on.
“I would not like to meet her, because if someone found out she would go to jail,” she said. The film has been criticized by some in Congress for its depiction of torture of terror suspects.
Best motion picture — comedy or musical: “Les Misérables”
Best performance by an actress in a motion picture — comedy or musical: Jennifer Lawrence in “Silver Linings Playbook”
“Harvey, thank you for killing whoever you had to kill to get me up here today,” she joked, in her acceptance speech, thanking producer Harvey Weinstein.
Best performance by an actor in a motion picture — comedy or musical: Hugh Jackman in “Les Misérables”
Jackman said the movie was “a project of passion and it took a lot of courage to make it.” He told reporters backstage that he went without drinking water for 36 hours to make his face look sunken for his role.
“Do not anyone try this,” Jackman said, explaining it made him ill.
Best animated feature: “Brave”
Best foreign language film: “Amour” (Austria)
Best performance by an actress in a supporting role in a motion picture: Anne Hathaway in “Les Misérables”
Hathaway played Fantine in the movie. It was a role she saw her mother perform onstage when she was a child. She thanked the Hollywood Foreign Press Association “for this lovely blunt object, that I will forever use as a weapon against my self-doubt.”
Best performance by an actor in a supporting role in a motion picture: Christoph Waltz in “Django Unchained”
“Quentin, you know that my indebtedness to you knows no words,” Waltz said in his acceptance speech, thanking the movie’s director Quentin Tarantino.
Waltz also won a Globe and an Oscar two years ago for his portrayal of a German colonel in Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds.”
Best director — motion picture: Ben Affleck for “Argo”
Affleck, who was passed over for a best director Oscar nomination last week, refused to acknowledge any disappointment backstage.
“We got nominated for seven Oscars, including best picture,” Affleck said. “I was thrilled. I’m elated tonight; I’m the luckiest guy in the world.”
Best screenplay — motion picture: Quentin Tarantino for “Django Unchained”
Backstage, Tarantino used the controversial N-word, which peppers his movie, explaining that critics were not accusing him of using it “more than it was used in the South in 1858,” when his film is set. Instead, they were “saying I should soften it. … and I never do that when it comes to my characters.”
Best original score — motion picture: Mychael Danna for “Life of Pi”
Best original song — motion picture: “Skyfall” (Music by Adele, Paul Epworth; Lyrics by Adele, Paul Epworth)
“Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God!” Adele exclaimed as she was handed the award. “It’s very strange to be here. Thank you for letting me be part of your world tonight.”
She told reporters backstage that she was “a little bit over excited,” noting it was her “first night out” since giving birth to a son in October.
Best TV series – comedy: “Girls”
Best TV series — drama: “Homeland”
Best performance by an actress in a TV series — drama: Claire Danes in “Homeland”
Best performance by an actor in a TV series — drama: Damian Lewis in “Homeland”
It is the first Globe for Lewis, who won an Emmy last fall for the same role. He dedicated the award to his late mother, who “I know is up there tonight, looking down, bursting with pride and telling everyone how well her son is doing in acting.”
Best performance by an actor in a TV series — comedy or musical: Don Cheadle in “House of Lies”
Best performance by an actress in a TV series — comedy or musical: Lena Dunham in “Girls”
Best miniseries or motion picture made for TV: “Game Change”
Best performance by an actress in a miniseries or motion picture made for TV: Julianne Moore in “Game Change”
Best performance by an actor in a miniseries or motion picture made for TV: Kevin Costner in “Hatfields & McCoys”
Best performance by an actress in a supporting role in a series, miniseries or motion picture made for TV: Maggie Smith in “Downton Abbey: Season 2”
Best performance by an actor in a supporting role in a series, miniseries or motion picture made for TV: Ed Harris in “Game Change”