"Les Miserables" co-stars Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman won the prizes for Best Supporting Actress and Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical for their heart-wrenching performances in the 19th century, France-set musical.
"Three weeks before we started filming, we had a terrible day of rehearsal, a humiliating day, you'll remember it," Jackman told director Tom Hooper, who was sitting in the audience. "I came home to [my wife Deborra-Lee] and I said: 'It's time. I've got to ring him. I've got to tell him there is someone else to play this role.' I really thought I'd bitten off more than I could chew. And my wife talked me off that cliff, like she talks [to] me most days. Baby, I'm going to say it in front of the entire world: Thank you for always being right. I love you."
Ben Affleck went home with the Best Director trophy for helming "Argo."
"Look, I don't care what the award is, when they put your name next to the names she just read off, it's an extraordinary thing in your life. These nominees are exceptional talents," Affleck said of Kathryn Bigelow, Ang Lee, Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino. "I truly to God never thought I would be in the same breath as them."
Jessica Chastain scored the Best Actress in a Drama honor for her portrayal of a CIA agent whose investigation led to the killing of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden in "Zero Dark Thirty."
"I've wanted to be an actress since I was a little girl and I've worked for a really long time. I've auditioned and struggled and fought and been on the sidelines for years and to be here now in this moment it is a beautiful feeling to receive this encouragement and support. Thank you so much," Chastain said.
Daniel Day-Lewis earned the title of Best Actor in a Drama for his depiction of the 16th American president in "Lincoln."
"Are you sure there's room for another ex-president on this stage?" Day-Lewis quipped, referring to the surprise appearance by former President Bill Clinton, who introduced a video clip from Best Drama nominee "Lincoln" earlier in the ceremony.
"Well, if you thought that was showing off, Her Majesty, the queen of England, is about to parachute in, in a couple of minutes, to make a last-minute pitch for 'Skyfall.' My sincerest thanks to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for this lovely thing," Day-Lewis said.
Quentin Tarantino picked up the statuette for Best Original Screenplay for his blood-soaked, pre-Civil War-era revenge drama "Django Unchained." "Django" cast member Christoph Waltz also won the Best Supporting Actor award.
"This is a damn surprise and I'm happy to be surprised," Tarantino said.
The winner of the Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical accolade went to Jennifer Lawrence for "Silver Linings Playbook."
"I beat Meryl!" Lawrence joked about her fellow nominee, Meryl Streep, who reportedly was home battling the flu. Addressing producer Harvey Weinstein, Lawrence added, "Harvey, thanks for killing whoever you had to kill to get me up here today."
Austria's "Amour" won the Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. Austrian-born actor Arnold Schwarzenegger presented the award.
British pop star Adele's theme from "Skyfall" won for Best Song and the Celtic fairytale "Brave" for Best Animated Film.