BEVERLY HILLS (Reuters) - Low-budget movies blew by their major studio rivals at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday as romance "Slumdog Millionaire" won a leading four honors, including best drama to give it a push in the race for Oscars.
"Slumdog," which tells of a young Indian man looking for love and competing for money on a television game show, also earned awards for director Danny Boyle, screenwriter Simon Beaufoy and composer A.R. Rahman for best musical score.
Boyle thanked the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which gives out the Golden Globe Awards, for supporting his movie that captures the frenetic pace of life in Mumbai.
"Your mad, pulsating affection for our film is much appreciated, really deeply appreciated," Boyle said. "The film was made from the heart, really. We never expected to be here."
In other major honors, director Woody Allen's "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" was named best film musical or comedy but Allen was not on hand to accept the award.
A big surprise of the night came when Kate Winslet grabbed two Golden Globes, only the third time in the history of the awards that one performer has won two acting awards.
She claimed the trophy for best actress in a drama for her role as a frustrated housewife in "Revolutionary Road" and the second for best supporting actress for playing a German woman with a hidden past in "The Reader."
"It's just unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable. It's not supposed to happen," Winslet said backstage about her wins.
Comeback kid Mickey Rourke, whose career had fallen on hard times, won best actor in a film drama with "The Wrestler."
"It's been a very long road back for me," Rourke said.
The Golden Globe Awards are given out by some 90 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and are closely watched for clues as to which films might vie for Oscars, the world's top movie awards, which are given in February by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
While major studio films "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and "Frost/Nixon" certainly will compete for Oscars, "Slumdog" pushed past its two key rivals at the Golden Globes.
"Vicky Cristina Barcelona" and "Revolutionary Road" also came from independent distributors and companies operating in the market for independent movies.
Likewise, Colin Farrell took home the Golden Globe for best actor in a musical or comedy with his role as a hitman in "In Bruges." Sally Hawkins was best actress in the same group for her work as an optimistic teacher in "Happy-Go-Lucky." Again, they were two movies made for art-house theaters.
One major studio release to walk away with a key film award was "The Dark Knight," which earned Heath Ledger, who died of an accidental drug overdose last year, a posthumous Golden Globe for best supporting actor in his role as the villainous Joker in Batman movie "The Dark Knight."
His trophy was accepted by "Dark Knight" director Christopher Nolan, who said the loss of Ledger was like "a hole ripped in modern cinema."
"All of us who worked with Heath accept this with an awful mixture of sadness but incredible pride," Nolan said. "He will be eternally missed but he will never be forgotten."
"Wall-E," which was a huge summer hit with $523 million at global box offices, took home best animated film, and Israel's "Waltz With Bashir" was named best foreign language film.
Rocker Bruce Springsteen won a Golden Globe award for best original song with "The Wrestler."
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association also gives out awards in television categories, where "Mad Men," about Madison Avenue advertising executives, was named best drama program and "30 Rock" claimed the Golden Globe for best TV comedy.
"30 Rock," a show that spoofs the making of TV shows, also claimed Golden Globe trophies for its stars Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin as best actor and actress, respectively, in a comedy.
Gabriel Byrne was named best actor in a TV drama for his role as a therapist in "In Treatment," and Anna Paquin won best actress playing a waitress in vampire drama "True Blood."
Editing by Eric Walsh and Bill Trott