Sandra Bullock, Jeff Bridges, and ''The Hangover'' also had a good night, while ''Up in the Air'' and ''Nine'' struggled

The rain just before the stars hit the red carpet at the Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 17. Interviews were hurried and hair flattened, but the weather’s sudden turn was appropriate given the climate change that would soon occur inside the Beverly Hilton ballroom. By the evening’s end, Avatar would pick up its first major wins of the awards season, TV newcomers like Glee would be recognized alongside veterans Alec Baldwin and Mad Men, and the telecast itself would garner an unexpected 16.9 million viewers (up 14 percent from last year).

Notably, the two films that went into the Globes with the most nominations didn’t fare so well (Up in the Air went one for six, while Nine struck out in all five of its categories), which left the spotlight open for less-hyped contenders. Best Actor in a Drama winner Jeff Bridges received the heartiest standing ovation of the night. ”Oh, it was wonderful,” the Crazy Heart star told EW. ”I’m just full, I don’t know how to really express it.”

Meanwhile, Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep, who tied at the Critics’ Choice Awards (and memorably kissed on stage) two nights earlier, scored the Globes’ dual Best Actress prizes, setting up a battle between the pair for the Academy Award. Not that Bullock’s buying it. ”Did you see Julie & Julia?” she asked EW. ”That performance was nothing like I’ve ever seen. She needs that Oscar in her paws. But she better kiss me.”

Over in the Best Picture race, The Hangover shook things up with its surprise win for Best Comedy/Musical. With a Writers Guild nomination also under its belt, could it now be a dark horse for one of the 10 Oscar slots? ”It would be kind of unprecedented,” said star Bradley Cooper. ”But if I was just being objective, I think it’s one of the best movies of the year.”

The night’s biggest winner, however, was certainly James Cameron’s Avatar, which picked up Best Drama and Best Director after losing both to The Hurt Locker at the Critics’ Choice. At Fox’s after-party, costar Michelle Rodriguez put all the Oscar talk in perspective: ”Some executive just asked me, ‘Do you prefer fan mail from millions of fans around the world or an award from people in the industry?’ And I’m like, ‘The f—ing fan mail, man!”’ But Cameron seemed to value his new hardware. After cutting his Best Director speech short because he had ”to pee something fierce,” he headed straight to the men’s room, made a beeline for a stall, and announced, ”I’m not going to let anyone hold this for me while I piss!” Good luck translating that into Na’vi.
Additional reporting by Lynette Rice

Golden Globe Winners List

Best Picture, Drama

Best Picture, Comedy/Musical
The Hangover

Best Director
James Cameron, Avatar

Best Actor, Comedy/Musical
Robert Downey Jr., Sherlock Holmes

Best Actress, Comedy/Musical
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

Best Actor, Drama
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart

Best Actress, Drama
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side

Best Animated Film

Best TV Series, Comedy/Musical

Best TV Series, Drama
Mad Men

Best Actor in a TV Series, Comedy/Musical
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock

Best Actress in a TV Series, Comedy/Musical
Toni Collette, United States of Tara

Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama
Michael C. Hall, Dexter

Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife