BEVERLY HILLS, California (Reuters) - A pair of box office sensations, "Avatar" and "The Hangover," earned top film honors at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday in a ceremony that took on a somber tone after the recent earthquake in Haiti.
Action adventure "Avatar," whose 3-D effects have wowed critics and fans and helped it earn $1.6 billion at global box offices, claimed best film drama and top director for "Titanic" filmmaker James Cameron.
"3D is going to be the future," Cameron told reporters backstage. "The one thing 'Avatar' could do because of its success -- especially its critical success -- is give permission to other filmmakers to think of 3D."
Among actors, Sandra Bullock earned the title of best film actress in a drama for football movie "The Blind Side," while industry veteran Jeff Bridges was best dramatic actor for his turn as a down-and-out country singer in "Crazy Heart."
"The Hangover," about guys on a trip to Las Vegas that goes woefully wrong ($277 million at U.S. and Canadian box offices), claimed best film comedy. It showed that after recent years of favoring art house films like last year's big winner "Slumdog Millionaire," Golden Globe voters at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) liked crowd pleasers of 2009.
"It is such a wonderful trip this film, we just set out to make a funny comedy," director Todd Phillips told reporters.
Robert Downey, Jr. won the Golden Globe for best comedy actor for his turn as super sleuth Sherlock Holmes in "Sherlock Holmes," and Meryl Streep was the top actress in a comedy for cooking film "Julie & Julia."
Germany's "The White Ribbon," a major success at the 2009 Cannes film festival, was named best foreign language movie.
The Golden Globes are given out by some 90 members of the HFPA, and a win here can give movies the momentum they need in Hollywood's race for Oscars, the world's top movie honors given out in March.
But awards seemed less on the minds of many Hollywood stars than did the recent disaster in Haiti as several acceptance speeches were filled with statements of thankfulness by A-list celebrities. Many stars wore yellow, blue and red ribbons to show their support for victims.
Streep said she had to remember "my happy movie self, in the face of everything I'm aware of in the real world."
Elsewhere, "Inglourious Basterds" star Christoph Waltz was named best supporting actor in a film, and Mo'Nique earned best supporting film actress, going against her reputation as a comedienne and playing an abusive mother in dark drama "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire."
Disney adventure "Up" won two early Golden Globes, best animated movie and original score.
Among television awards, "Mad Men," about the lives of Madison Avenue advertising executives, claimed its third straight Golden Globe for best drama and upstart musical "Glee" was named best comedy or musical in an upset over past winner "30 Rock."
"This is for anybody and everybody who ever got a wedgie in high school," said creator Ryan Murphy, the brains behind the quirky show about a high school singing and dancing troupe.
Former "ER" star Julianna Margulies won best actress in a drama in "The Good Wife", playing the spouse of a disgraced public official, and "Dexter", a profile of a serial killer, won best actor in a drama for lead Michael C. Hall.
Alec Baldwin won the Golden Globe for best actor in a TV comedy playing a network executive in "30 Rock," and Toni Collette was best comedic actress for "United States of Tara."
Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Mary Milliken.