LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actress Sandra Bullock and singer Justin Timberlake led the early winners at the 40th People's Choice awards on Wednesday, cementing their status as favorites among the public voting for the awards.
Bullock was the first winner of the night, picking up three awards for favorite movie actress, dramatic movie actress and comedy movie actress for her roles in existential space drama "Gravity" and in female buddy-comedy "The Heat." "Gravity" also won favorite drama movie.
"An actor can't do what they do without hundreds of amazing people working for them and alongside them. I learned so much this year. I got to work with Melissa McCarthy on 'The Heat.' ... And on 'Gravity,' the nicest people in the world would string me up and leave me there, and I still had an amazing time," the Oscar-winning actress said.
Bullock later joined McCarthy on stage to pick up the favorite comedy movie award for "The Heat."
Singer Justin Timberlake, who returned to the musical spotlight in 2013 with the two-part release of "The 20/20 Experience" after more than five years away to focus on his acting, picked up the award for favorite album.
"I'd like to thank my parents for continuing to instill in me that no dream is too big. I'd like to thank my team that puts up with my ridiculous neuroses all the time - sorry, but not really, because look at this," the singer said on stage, referring to his award.
Adam Sandler won favorite comedic actor for the fourth consecutive time, this year for "Grown Ups 2." While his films have failed to gain much favor with critics in recent years, Sandler is a favorite at the People's Choice awards.
"This means a lot to me. I appreciate this, I really do, I really do. I think about the fans out there and how nice you've been to me all these years," the comedian said.
The People's Choice winners are chosen by fans, who can vote online across 58 categories spanning film, TV and music. The ceremony, aired live on the CBS network, kicks off Hollywood's annual awards season that culminates with the Academy Awards on March 2.
The 40th People's Choice awards opened with a skit featuring many of the night's nominees sitting in "2 Broke Girls" diner set, being served by the show's stars and awards hosts Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs. Dennings and Behrs then kicked off the show by having a bevy of waitresses serve burgers to the audience.
Ellen DeGeneres won favorite daytime TV host for "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," her 14th People's Choice award.
"I treasure this because it's from the people and there's no better thing than knowing you're making people happy. That's why I got into this business ... I wanted to make the show for everyone, for old people and young people, black and white, gay and straight," the openly gay host said.
Singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles and country star Brad Paisley provided the musical entertainment in the first half of the show, while Drew Barrymore and Zac Efron were among the night's many presenters.
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)