BEVERLY HILLS, California (Reuters) - Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway took home Golden Globes on Sunday, while Quentin Tarantino's quirky slavery Western picked up two early awards that could undermine the fortunes of front-runner "Lincoln."
In an evening full of surprises, Ben Affleck won the best director award for Iran hostage drama "Argo" after being snubbed three days ago by Oscar voters in the same category.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton set jaws dropping among the A-list Hollywood stars when he appeared without warning to introduce clips from "Lincoln," Steven Spielberg's presidential drama about Abraham Lincoln's battle to end slavery.
More than 1,000 guests at the glitzy Beverly Hills dinner gave Clinton, a Democrat, a standing ovation.
As the former president left the stage, co-host Amy Poehler quipped: "Wow! What an exciting special guest! That was Hillary Clinton's husband! That was exciting."
The Golden Globes, handed out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), has become the entertainment industry's second-biggest awards show after February's Oscars, or Academy Awards.
But the HFPA showed off its maverick side when it gave the its screenplay award to Tarantino, rather than the screenwriters of "Lincoln" or Osama bin Laden thriller "Zero Dark Thirty."
"Wow! ... This is a damn surprise, and I am happy to be surprised," Tarantino said, accepting his award.
Austrian actor Christoph Waltz, who plays a dentist-turned-bounty hunter in "Django," took home the best supporting actor trophy.
The evening's top prize, best drama film, will be handed out at the end of the evening.
"Lincoln" went into the evening with a leading seven nominations, while "Django" had five. "Argo," "Zero Dark Thirty" and visually arresting shipwreck tale "Life of Pi" round out the best dramatic film contest.
The Golden Globes also present prizes for best comedy or musical film, giving Jennifer Lawrence a best actress win for her portrayal of a young widow in "Silver Linings Playbook" and supporting actress Anne Hathaway an award for her heartrending turn in the musical "Les Miserables."
"Thank you for this lovely blunt object that I will ever more use as a weapon against self-doubt," said Hathaway, who lost 25 pounds in weight and chopped off her long brown hair to play tragic heroine Fantine.
JODIE FOSTER COMES OUT AS GAY
British Grammy-winning singer Adele, in her first major public appearance since giving birth in October, shared with songwriter Paul Epworth the trophy for performing and co-writing the best original song, "Skyfall," for the James Bond movie of the same name.
Comedians Poehler and Tina Fey, hosting the Globes for the first time, scattered jokes about some of the top Hollywood stars in the audience, with impersonations of Johnny Depp and Julianne Moore.
Jodie Foster, 50, who won Oscars for "Silence of the Lambs" and "The Accused" was given a lifetime achievement award, and publicly acknowledged that she is gay.
"I hope you won't be disappointed that this is not some big coming out speech," she said.
Foster said she had been up front about her sexual orientation for years to friends and co-workers, but had never felt the need to bare her soul in public.
Unlike the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes also honor television dramas and comedies.
On Sunday they chose Showtime terrorism thriller "Homeland" as best drama series, and the show's Damian Lewis and Claire Danes as best actor and actress.
"Girls" won best comedy series and Lena Dunham, its star and creator, won best comedy actress. Don Cheadle was named best actor in a comedy series for playing a devious management consultant in "House of Lies."
HBO's drama "Game Change" about Sarah Palin's 2008 run for U.S. vice president won best TV film, while Moore won for her portrayal of the polarizing former Alaska governor, and Ed Harris won for his portrayal of Republican presidential contender John McCain.
(Reporting By Jill Serjeant; Editing by Stacey Joyce)