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The Artist and The Descendants big winners at Golden Globe awards

Golden Globe winners, including 'The Artist,' and 'The Descendants,' are likely now to be frontrunners for the Oscars. Meryl Streep won best actress for 'The Iron Lady.'

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Iranian film "A Separation" was named best foreign language film, and its director, Ashgar Farhadi, used the opportunity to tell world audiences that "my people. I think they are a truly peace-loving people."

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The Golden Globe Awards are given out by the roughly 90 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association at what annually is among the key events during Hollywood's awards season because of the media exposure it brings.

Many of the movies and stars that win here also go on to compete for Oscars later this year, and "The Artist," which was the most-nominated film coming into the Golden Globes with six nods overall, will certainly become a frontrunner for the world's top film honors, as will "Descendants" and "The Help."

Oscar nominations from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will given out on Jan. 24.

Unlike the Oscar voters, HFPA members also vote on their favorite TV shows and performances and in that arena "Homeland," about a modern-day CIA agent tracking returning war soldiers who may be terrorists, took home two Golden Globes for best drama series and best actress in a drama for Claire Danes.

Best actor in a drama TV series went to Kelsey Grammer for his role as a stern corporate manager in "Boss."

"Modern Family," a take on extended families in current-day America, took the prize for best comedy and its stars enjoyed one of the more memorable moments of the night when star Sofia Vergara gave their acceptance speech in Spanish, with English translation from creator Steve Levitan.

Best actress in a TV comedy went to Laura Dern for "Enlightened" and the comedic actor trophy was won by Matt LeBlanc for "Episodes."

Coming into the show, all eyes were on host Gervais, who ruffled the feathers of many a Hollywood celebrities last year at the Golden Globes. While he didn't tone down his jokes for the 2012 audience -- making fun of Johnny Depp, Jodie Foster, Kim Kardashian and the HFPA itself -- it seemed the stars were in the mood for his biting wit this time around.

"I thought he did a great job," Clooney told reporters backstage. "I think he handled tonight like a proper good host again ... people were expecting a lot of trash talk, and he did a little bit of that, and he made me laugh, he was very funny."

In fact, it seemed Gervais' humor was rather tame at some points compared to others who made penis jokes onstage and used foul language. At one point, Gervais came onstage drinking a beer, but somehow that seemed fitting for an awards show that bills itself as one big Hollywood party.

(Reporting By Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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