British director Steve McQueen's drama 12 Years A Slave has been crowned best movie drama at the Golden Globes.
The film, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, saw off competition from the likes of Captain Phillips and Gravity at the ceremony, but missed out on its other six nominations.
Artist and filmmaker McQueen expressed surprise when the win came at the end of the night, in Hollywood.
"I'm a little bit in shock. Roll, Jordan, roll", he said, referencing a Gospel tune from the slavery epic.
The Globes, which celebrate film and TV, were hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler who won some of the biggest plaudits for their jokes on the night.
Fey joked that the film Gravity was the story of how "George Clooney would rather float away in space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age."
She told the audience: "We are going to get this done in three hours. Or as Martin Scorsese calls it: Act One."
Con-artist caper American Hustle took home best film comedy and wins for Amy Adams (best actress) and Jennifer Lawrence (supporting actress).
Oscar winner Lawrence said that making an acceptance speech does not get any easier, joking: "Don't ever do this again. It's so scary....I don't know why I'm so scared, I don't know why I'm shaking so much."
Leonardo DiCaprio won the gong for best actor in a film comedy for The Wolf Of Wall Street and thanked director Scorsese for "allowing me to stalk you to make this movie".
Michael Douglas was named best actor in a mini-series or motion picture made for television for his performance as the flamboyant classical pianist Liberace in Behind the Candelabra.
Hailing his co-star Matt Damon, he joked: "The only reason you're not here is I had more sequins."
Douglas, who has reportedly reconciled with Catherine Zeta Jones following their split last summer, paid tribute to his actress wife and children, ending his speech with: "To Catherine, Carys, Cameron and Dylan - all my love!"
Breaking Bad, a show which has now ended, won its first Golden Globes, beating Downton Abbey to best drama TV series and scooping an acting gong for Bryan Cranston.
Cranston called his award "a wonderful honour and lovely way to say goodbye to the show that meant so much to me."
British acting talent Emma Thompson (Saving Mr Banks), Kate Winslet (Labor Day) and Dame Judi Dench (Philomena) were beaten by Cate Blanchett to best actress in a movie drama for her role in Woody Allen film Blue Jasmine.
Idris Elba, nominated for his lead roles in Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom and TV series Luther, came away empty handed.
"Tonight isn't about winning, it's about the recognition of a winner. Nelson Mandela. Never forget," he tweeted.
Ejiofor, in the running for 12 Years A Slave and Dancing On The Edge, also lost out.
The night, seen as an indicator to the Oscars, saw Alfonso Cuaron win best director for the space adventure Gravity.
Referring to his accent, the Mexican director said to his star Sandra Bullock: "I want to thank you for not quitting when you thought that I told you, 'I'm going to give you herpes,' when what I really meant to say was 'Sandra, I'm going to give you an earpiece.' It's a true story. "
Jacqueline Bisset was Britain's only female to triumph, winning best supporting actress in a series, mini-series or movie for the BBC's Dancing On The Edge.
But the veteran actress struggled through a rambling acceptance speech punctuated with silence and swearing.
"I want to thank the people who have given me joy, and there have been many. And the people who have given me s**t, I say it like my mother - what did she say? She used to say, 'Go to hell, and don't come back'," she said.
Texas HIV drama Dallas Buyers Club won two awards, acting gongs for Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto for his role as a transgender woman.
Mad Men star Elisabeth Moss was named best actress in a miniseries for Top Of The Lake, and accidentally blurted out "oh sh**!" .
She told the audience: "I really didn't expect this to happen. I'm totally shaking like Jennifer Lawrence did."
U2 and Danger Mouse won best original song for Ordinary Love in the Nelson Mandela biopic, beating Coldplay who were nominated for their music in Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
Bono said working on the film completed a decades-long journey with Mandela, having played an anti-apartheid concert some 35 years ago.
"This man turned our life upside down, right-side up," he said. "A man who refused to hate not because he didn't have rage or anger or those things, but that he thought love would do a better job."
The ceremony came after part of the red carpet was drenched by a fire sprinkler, which went off hours before the celebrities were due to start arriving.