Golden Globes 2015: Winners, highlights, top moments

Last Updated Jan 11, 2015 8:45 PM EST

Stars of film and television stepped out Sunday for the 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards, where hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler wasted no time delving into controversial topics that hit Hollywood this past year.

The duo, in their third consecutive year as hosts, opened the show by welcoming « despicable, spoiled, minimally talented brats » to the show, celebrating « all the movies that North Korea was OK with. »

Fey and Poehler also skewered some expected targets like George Clooney (joking that his new wife, human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, was more deserving of his lifetime achievement award) and Bill Cosby, whose sexual assault allegations they parodied with dueling impressions.

When describing the film « Into the Woods, » Poehler quipped, « Cinderella ran away from her prince, Rapunzel was thrown from a tower… and Sleeping Beauty just thought she was getting coffee with Bill Cosby. »

The first award of the night went to J.K. Simmons for best supporting actor for his performance as a domineering jazz teacher in the acclaimed indie « Whiplash. » He thanked his young and confident co-star, Miles Teller, who « inspired me every day to want to scream at him and hit him in the face. »

In the television categories, « Fargo » came out an early winner, taking the awards for actor Billy Bob Thornton and best miniseries or TV movie. Amazon’s « Transparent » won for best TV series, comedy or musical, and « Jane the Virgin » star Gina Rodriguez was named best actress in a TV series, comedy or musical. Joanne Froggatt, winner of best supporting actress for « Downton Abbey, » thanked survivors of rape who reached out to her after her character’s storyline on the show.

With a leading seven nominations, including best picture, comedy or musical, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s backstage romp « Birdman » will rival Richard Linklater’s 12-years-in-the-making « Boyhood » (five nods) and the Alan Turing World War II thriller « The Imitation Game » (also five nominations) for the night’s dominant award-winner.

Thus far, Hollywood’s award season has generally gone in favor of the critical darling « Boyhood, » but the season has featured a diverse bunch of candidates, albeit ones lacking major box-office draws. The civil rights drama « Selma, » the Stephen Hawking tale « The Theory of Everything » and Wes Anderson’s « The Grand Budapest Hotel » are also heavily in the mix.

Led by Fey and Poehler, the Globes have been on a terrific upswing in recent years. Last year’s awards drew 20.9 million viewers, the most since 2004. As the only major awards show to honor both movies and TV, the Globes have also benefited from television’s rise.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a group of mostly freelance journalists that puts on the Globes, has lately cleaned up its reputation for idiosyncratic choices and awards swayed by celebrity. Last year, the HFPA chose the eventual Academy Awards best-picture winner, « 12 Years a Slave, » as best drama and « American Hustle » as best comedy.

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