BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — The Howard Hughes epic "The Aviator" and the road-trip romp "Sideways" earned best-picture Golden Globes on Sunday, boosting their status as front-runners for the upcoming Academy Awards.
"The Aviator" won for best dramatic film. "Sideways" won for comedy film.
Jamie Foxx of the Ray Charles film biography "Ray," Hilary Swank of the boxing saga "Million Dollar Baby," Annette Bening of the showbiz comedy "Being Julia" and Leonardo DiCaprio of "The Aviator" also boosted their Oscar odds by winning the top acting Globes.
"Can I just tell you that I am having the ride of my life right now?" said Foxx, considered the favorite to win the best-actor Oscar for his uncanny emulation of Ray Charles, who died last year. "I wish I could take what I'm feeling right now and put it in the water system, and we would all love each other a whole lot more."
Earning a record three Globe nominations, Foxx lost in his other two categories, supporting movie actor for "Collateral" and actor in a TV movie or miniseries for "Redemption."
Bening won for best actress in a movie musical or comedy, playing an aging stage diva in 1930s London who plots gleeful revenge against the men in her life.
Backstage, Bening said that while Hollywood economics is geared toward roles for younger actresses, she said there are filmmakers eager to present tales of older women.
"I think there's no question that sexism exists, but I think that as long as people are willing to fight and create interesting stories that involve women of all different ages, then the movies will get made," Bening said.
Swank's and Bening's Golden Globe wins set up an Oscar rematch between the actresses, who competed against each other five years ago for best actress. Underdog Swank won the Golden Globe and Oscar for "Boys Don't Cry" over Bening, who had been considered the favorite for "American Beauty."
In "Million Dollar Baby," Swank plays a determined boxer whose life takes a tragic turn. Swank paid tribute to director and co-star Clint Eastwood.
"I don't want to ruin your 'go ahead, make my day image,' but you have such a huge heart and you envelop all the people around you. ... You guided us so brilliantly, while you also, in my humble opinion, gave the performance of your career," Swank said.
As Hughes in "The Aviator," DiCaprio reunited with his "Gangs of New York" director Martin Scorsese." DiCaprio said that for all his good fortune in Hollywood, the "pinnacle of all that is to work alongside one of the greatest contributors to the world of cinema of all time, and that is the great Martin Scorsese."
Eastwood won the directing honor for "Million Dollar Baby," solidifying his chances to win at the Oscars. Eastwood, who previously won the directing Oscar for "Unforgiven," thanked the "great Hilary Swank and the world's greatest actor, Morgan Freeman," who co-starred with him in "Million Dollar Baby."
Natalie Portman and Clive Owen won supporting-actor honors for the sex drama "Closer," their wins coming as something of a surprise.
Both offered profuse thanks to "Closer" director Mike Nichols.
"Mike Nichols, I love you, you're the nicest, smartest, wisest daddy — friend, rock star," Portman said.
The oddball romance "Sideways" won the screenplay honor for Jim Taylor and director Alexander Payne, who thanked the cast for "servicing our screenplay so beautifully."
"The Aviator" earned composer Howard Shore the Globe for film score, while Mick Jagger and Dave Edwards won the song honor for "Old Habits Die Hard" from "Alfie."
"I'd like to thank Dave Stewart for getting me into this mess," Jagger said on stage alongside Stewart, formerly of the Eurythmics.
Spain's "The Sea Inside" — starring Javier Bardem in the real-life story of Ramon Sampedro, a paralyzed man who fought a decades-long battle for his right to die — was picked as best foreign-language film.
The Globes serve as the most prominent ceremony in Hollywood's pre-game show leading up to the Academy Awards on Feb. 27. The awards are presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, whose small membership of about 90 people pales compared to the nearly 6,000 film professionals eligible to vote for the Oscars.
Yet the Globes historically serve as a solid forecast that helps set the odds for subsequent film honors.
Golden Globe winners gain attention that can put them on the inside track for prizes from acting, directing and other filmmaking guilds — momentum often sticks with them right through Oscar night.
In the TV categories, "Desperate Housewives" won for best musical or comedy series, while Teri Hatcher beat her show's co-stars Marcia Cross and Felicity Huffman for best actress in a TV comedy. Hatcher thanked ABC for giving "me a second chance at a career when I couldn't have been a bigger has-been."
"Nip/Tuck" won for best dramatic TV series, while "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers" took the Globe for best TV movie or miniseries and Jason Bateman of "Arrested Development" was honored as best actor in a comedy series.
Other TV winners included Mariska Hargitay of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" as dramatic actress, Ian McShane as dramatic actor for "Deadwood," Anjelica Huston as supporting actress for the suffrage film "Iron Jawed Angels," and William Shatner as supporting actor for "Boston Legal."
"I really wanted to win," Shatner said afterward backstage, where he fielded questions about playing sinister attorney Denny Crane after decades of being typecast as space hero Capt. Kirk in "Star Trek." "It's all part of the fun of acting. Acting is like being in a sandbox and pretending, so this is part of the pretense."
Robin Williams, a five-time Globe winner for such films as "The Fisher King" and "Good Morning, Vietnam," received the Cecil B. DeMille award for career achievement. Williams dedicated his award to the late Christopher Reeve.
Williams' manic acceptance speech included jibes at the foreign-press group's occasionally embarrassing history, such as presenting Pia Zadora with the best newcomer award for her movie flop "Butterfly" just two years after giving Williams the same honor for "Mork & Mindy."
But Williams praised the group for having a separate category for comedy, which often is overlooked in other Hollywood movie honors.
"You allow us to be in the room with the adults," Williams said.
On the Net: www.hfpa.org